Top 5 takeaways from Marketing and Research class

In this blog post I will share top 5 takeaways from my Marketing and Research class. I believe I acquired knowledge in this class that will help me in the long run in my business career.

  1. Available database sources – as a class we had a session with a librarian where we learned about all database sources available on the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library website. Throughout the semester I used many databases sources. It was impressive to learn how much useful information can be found in databases sources regarding business world and how helpful it could be in marketing research purposes. My favorite database source is Statista because it gives us quantitative data from the market on pretty much any topic you can think of.
  2. I learned how to moderate focus group – in class we watched very useful video on how to moderate focus group and then we had class lecture on it. We took one class period and performed a focus group on our own in order to gather information for our final project regarding what students find the most attractive about Wesleyan. We used this information as a guide to create our survey. Performing a focus group in class helped me better understand better how it functions in real life and I enjoyed being part of it.
  3. I learned how to build a survey – as a part of our final project we needed to create survey in order to find out from Wesleyan students what changes they think need to be made on WVWC pamphlet. Learning how to build a strong survey questions which gave us useful results from our target audience was a challenge. From class lecture I learned how questions in the survey need to be divided in different sections and it is crucial step in order to make them to the point, but still interesting for the target audience. Also, as a group we realized what it takes to get people motivated to take time out of their to compete the survey.
  4. Big Data – in class we watched PBS documentary on Big Data and I was really surprised to find out how powerful it is and how much it has influence the world in the past couple of decades. It helps in experimental purposes, but also it could save lives. I didn’t realize how much as a student I depend on big data in my everyday life till we learned more about it in class.
  5. Ethics of Research – learning about difference between ethical and unethical researches was very interesting. It was eye opening in many ways. We all expect that research is supposed to benefit human society, but I realized that before engaging in a certain research we need to take a look at it from different angles before fully deciding be part of it because it could possibly be harmful to the environment, animals or human beings.

This class helped me grow in many ways and I gained knowledge in different areas of marketing research. Case studies taught me what kind of problems I will be facing when I graduate and enter the real business world. It helped me realize how competitive and big business world is today and how important it is for companies to keep up with the trends. Lastly, I realized how important it is for a company to have strong business employee in order to survive in a competitive business world nowadays, which makes me excited to enter the world of business soon and make a change!

The Ethics of Animal Research

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Usually when we think about research in general, people see it as investigative process which helps human society grow and gather new knowledge. We don’t usually think about ethical and unethical aspects of it. In this blog post I will look into animal research and analyze why it is considering unethical research in some cases.

I read the article “Animal Testing 101” on People for Ethical Treatment of Animals website (http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-experimentation/animal-testing-101/). I was able to learn about different conditions they put animals through in order to complete scientific or commercial testing. It does help in some ways in developing better medical treatments and determine safety of medications, but on the other side it is inhumane to animals and leaves them with long lasting consequences.

I learned that there are more than 100 million animals in the U.S. that have been used in testing purposes. Mice, rats, birds, and cold-blooded animals are the ones that have been mostly used. Money for this testing purposes comes from taxpayer’s money. It was very surprising for me to learn that the country itself supports and finance those efforts. But, there are many ways how we help in preventing animal suffering. I do not thing people have awareness about this issue and steps that any of us can take in order to help the situation. Some examples of animal tests that are mentioned in the article are how they forcefully use mice and rats to inhale toxic fumes, force-feeding dogs pesticides, and dripping corrosive chemicals into rabbits’ sensitive eyes. It is hard to believe that they truly perform such a cruel experiment in research purposes. Also, there is no guarantee if experiment performed on animals was safe it is going to be safe for humans, which makes those practices pointless.

I heard about animal research issues before but did not know about details of the problem. After reading about this topic there are several advices provided in this article I would like to share in order to end use of animals for the research experiments:

As a student we sometimes think we are not capable of making a change in the world and being able in helping in preventing unethical researches like this. One thing I will start doing right away is buying products that are cruelty-free and spread awareness about this controversial topic.

In professional world we need to be fully aware if researches we are conducting are ethical or not. We need to be careful what kind of projects we decide to take on because some of them could potentially have harmful effects on the environment, animals or human beings, even though the purpose and intention were different. As a person entering a business world after I graduate, I will make sure company I work for and researches I am involved in do not involve any cruel or inhumane aspects.

Katarina

Boundaries On Marketing Research

UnknownIn this blog post we will look at some fundamental boundaries and limitations involved when conducting marketing research. It could help us understand better how successful our qualitative or quantitative research would be and which type of research would provide the most effective results and help our business grow.

My team in Marketing and Research class is currently working on a final project where we have a task to conduct marketing research in order to find out what changes need to be made on Wesleyan promotional material in order to make it more attractive and appealing for potential future students. I will use our final project as an example and look at some boundaries and limitations our group could potentially face.

There are two fundamental boundaries when it comes to marketing research described in a McQuarrie’s (2016) book:

  1. Uncertainty – when researcher tries to predict the future
  2. Cost – we need to calculate if the benefits of conducting a research outweigh the potential cost

When it comes to true uncertainty marketing research is not as effective if we are trying to predict the future. Looking into our final project, this present a boundary in our case. information we are collecting in order to better promotional material will be only applicable and effective for a two or three years. We cannot predict future of Wesleyan in a long run and trends that are constantly changing as new generations are coming. What seems appealing to this coming generation is not the same as when I was coming to Wesleyan. Because of that Wesleyan promotional material needs to be changed every two years.

Before conducting a marketing research, we need to look at the costs involved and if it will be beneficial for our business. For our final project this will not present a boundary since we will be using WVWC students as our target audience to participate in our surveys. Gathering information we need in order to make changes on promotional material will not involve any cost to us.

The limitation our team could run into and should be aware of is that we will be collecting all the information we need from college students on Wesleyan campus instead of high school graduates who will be receiving our promotional material. Problem is that students who are already in college might have forgotten what was most important information provided on pamphlet and was the deal breaker for them to choose Wesleyan. Our solution for this limitation could be to try to mostly reach to first year college students on campus when conducting a survey. It is more likely that they will give us the most accurate answers.

Having knowledge on boundaries and limitations could hale researches get the right idea of how much information they will need and what can cause potential troubles and complicate during research process. It does not mean that research is not going to be possible and effective, we just need to be aware of them beforehand in order to be prepared to successful overcome them.

Katarina

Calculating Sample Size Step By Step

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In this blog I will explain step by step how to apply sample size formula on the specific problem. In order to determine how big your sample size should be for survey you need to understand how to apply the right formal in your calculation. In the business world having knowledge in this area will help you be more successful and can be crucial when conducting a survey.

I will use steps from The Marketing Research Toolbox: A Concise Guide for Beginners book to explain the process of calculating sample size in the practice problem from the book:

“To determine the effectiveness of an ad campaign for a new DVD player, management would like to know what percentage of the market has been made aware of the new product. The ad agency thinks this figure could be as high as 70 percent. In estimating the percent aware, management has specified a 95 percent confidence interval, and a precision of ±2 percent. What sample size is needed?”

In order to successfully calculate what sample size management should use to find out if customers are aware of new DVD player and effectiveness of their advertising campaign.

There are three steps we will go over which are mentioned in the book. First we need to square the Z value associated with the desired confidence interval. Second we need to multiply it by the population variance. Third we need to divide it by the square of the desired precision.

Now we will use following steps and apply them in our problem from the book. Management has decided they want confidence level of 95 percent looking at the page 30 says that in that case Z value is equal to 2. Next we need to find population variance and the formula for determining the variance is (Variance + proportion #1 x (1 – proportion #1)). In problem we are looking at variance is 0.70

Applying this formula calculation for variance equals 0.70 x (1 – 0.70) = 0.21. Now when we found all the number we need, we can calculate the sample size:

22 x 0.21 / (0.02) 2
= 2100

Based on our results our sample size should be 2100 people in order to achieve results management has set. I believe having confidence level of +- 2 in this particular problem and sampling 2100 people seems like a reasonable choice in order to find about what is awareness of costumers on new DVD player.

ABOUT EVALUATION SURVEYS

 

In our class we recently learned about different types of surveys. It could be the questionnaire and the interview. Difference between the two is that questionnaires are short-ended questions and interview is more open-ended. In this blog post I will talk about questionnaries types of survey and what are some benefits of conducting them. Questionnaire types of survey could be evaluative or they could simply describe customers characteristics and behaviors. In my opinion evaluative surveys are more beneficial to the organization in order to find out more about what needs to be improved and overall how customers feels about their performance. As a customer I was exposed to both type of surveys, it takes same time to complete either of them, but through evaluation survey I felt like my answers where more personal and I was able to express more how I feel about the company and their performance by simply circling my response on agree/disagree scale.

On good example of evaluation survey that every college student is exposed to at the end of each semester is course evaluation survey. We are asked one scale from strongly disagree/disagree/natural/agree/strongly agree to answer questions about the course and instructor’s performance. It is very useful for professors to find out what could be changed when it comes to course concept and their behavior. Evaluation surveys do not take much time complete since you only have to circle with which statement you agree/disagree with. As a student I really enjoyed doing this type of survey because I felt like I was able to truly reveal where I stand when it comes to a certain course and professor.

In the business world this type of surveys are very beneficial because they reveal how customers feel about different aspects of their organization straight from them and it is easy to find out where it needs to be improved. If I was a customer I would enjoy to conduct this type of survey because it is not a big time commitment and it is usually just short statement that we need to agree/disagree on. On the other side, organization which is conducting this type of survey is able to in a fast and efficient way learn more about customer satisfaction straight from their answers. It is easy to conduct and collect these surveys and draw conclusions from their responses which could make big changes for the company. Conducting evaluation surveys online is a good way to reach to people nowadays. They are able to do it on their own time and in private, so they will be more honest they if a person from organization is standing right by them. Looking at the cost side of it, beside finding a target group e-mail addresses, it is not an expensive marketing tool and it is really powerful.

Qualitative Research Analysis

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There are studies that suggest whenever market research has been done surprising and unexpected results usually become ignored by executives who commissioned the market research. Ignoring such results during qualitative research could be harmful for ending results because they might could help in discovering new areas that no one mentioned before, but are really important and could help in learning more about areas that need improvement and innovation. Discovery tool that could be used when surprising and unexpected results come up for example in a focus group is the use of workhorse questions. From the group of workhorse questions mentioned in the Market Research Toolbox book for our class, the follow up questions that would be the best to find out more about any answer that seems surprising and unexpected are“Can you give me an example” or “What specifically was the problem/outcome”. It is important to make sure that moderator has a knowledge to react whenever surprising answers come up to dig and find out more.

In the following paragraph I will explain why qualitative research is beneficial for business and how it inspires growth and innovation. I will use journal “Qualitative Research for International Business” to explain why qualitative research is beneficial. This journal explains how based on studies qualitative research makes substantial contributions in international business nowadays. They expain how qualitative research is a central and main contribution in process of theory building. Journal used the example of survey to explain how qualitative research method has a purpose of answering questions “who”, “how” and “why” in order to get the best results. Qualitative research provides deeper information on a particular subject and you do not have a risk of getting the same answers you already have because it always explores something new. It helps you in creating better understanding of the particular concept. Also, from this journal I learned how qualitative research could be used in theory testing purposes. It involves illustrating its relationship to the theory with a purpose of better understanding of the subject. Another reason why qualitative research method is a useful is because it inspires new ideas. It helps in discovering areas that need improvement and innovation. They discuss how information provided from qualitative research have to be attractive and persuasive in order to help in theory building. Writing skills of researchers play important role in presenting results the right way. Looking internationally interviewing skills and circumstances might differ in many ways from one country to another. So, that it something which we should keep in mind while analyzing qualitative research. What I learned about international business and how qualitative research helps in this particular subject is by understanding how qualitative research method helps in emerging real life problems that need theoretical attention and then testing. By conducting qualitative research it helps international business to move forward.

Katarina Pesic Vidic

How to Moderate Focus Group

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After watching a video on YouTube on “How to Moderate a Focus Group” I learned what steps need to be taken in order to have a successful focus group session. This particular focus group was financed by a particular airline company with a purpose of find out about experiences people have from airline companies.
There are many things that accrue before actual focus group. To make group effective they decided to invite people who have traveled and used airlines over the past few years. So the first in organizing a focus group would be recruiting right people. These are the particular steps that were listed I the video that should be done before actual focus group accrues:
1. Try to Identify Relevant Participants
2. Recruit participants to come
3. Arrange all the logistics
4. Come up with the questions
Setting up the room the right way and making environment comfortable for everyone is very important. When participants arrive following steps should be done:
1. Welcome everyone
2. Give some background on the topic
3. Explain ground rules, so everyone is at the same page
4. Introduce opening question in order to start the session
In the video moderator first asked participants to talk about their experiences with airline companies for the past few years. At first all the comments are directed toward moderator, but then he tries to turn it to be a conversation between group members.
During the session moderator asked numerous questions to find out more about their overall experience with airline companies. In order to make it more interesting and effective moderator used different techniques to ask certain questions, from role playing, pauses, written answers, open discussion, etc. At the very end of the session note taker asked if any of the answers were not clear to be more discussed and summarizes the session. After session is over moderator writes a reflection report and analysis on the outcomes of the session.
Moderator shared with us some effective tips that could be used to moderate focus groups. First one is using pauses. Example in the video was that moderator asked “What do you like about airline travel” and then asked people to take 5 seconds to think about it before answering. This technique allowed group to take time and process its thoughts before answering.
When someone talks too much and we want to hear someone else there is a tip moderator suggested could be used. First you should stop taking notes on what they are saying, then you need to glaze toward another person, and then interrupt them by saying “Let’s hear from someone else” and then switch to another person. On the other hand, when someone is quiet and shy, tip to get them to talk is if you keep asking them questions in order to get more answers.
What I found interesting is role playing method they used in the session. They had one person say a troubled situation they experienced and then they put another person to play it and have them act like airplane company to see what expectations they had from them. This is very effective method because you are able to find out more about values consumers have and their expectations.
In my opinion this was a very successful session and I enjoyed learning about different techniques that could be used to make focus group session interesting and successful.

Katarina  Pesic Vidic

My thoughts on PBS Documentary on Big Data

I didn’t know much about big data till I watched PBS documentary in my Marketing and Research class. I was very surprised to find out how big data is powerful and is changing the world. I realized it has influence our lives in many ways and we are not even aware of it.

I learned that big data is digital trace of pretty much every single thing we do. In one day we are exposed to as much data as our ancestors in their whole lives. In the past two years there is more data collected then in the past 3000 years. Nowadays people are nervous about big data because they feel like they are losing their privacy.

One interesting example they used in documentary on how big data could be used was tracing how children acquit language. They were videotaping baby for two years in order to identify the first moment he said a word and then they analyzed what has had influence that. Data was the reason why this experiment was able to be done. They were able to visualize where and when baby was exposed to certain words. Conclusion is that context of the word was important, instead of how many times a baby heard specific word. This was a great example of how big data could be used in experimental purposes and for behavioral analysis that was not possible before.

In everyday life big data is used to tell us when the bus is coming (not just when it is scheduled for). It is interesting to find out in how many different ways big data could be used to make our everyday life easier.

I also learned how social media could be used to find out who needs help during natural disasters. They used example of big tsunami and how using tweets helped them locate where people needed help the most. I only used social media for fun, so it was surprising for me to learn how it could be used different ways to help people and save lives.

Big data has its bad side as well. Social media was used numerous times to empower the crowds to protest or fight. In Tunisia social media was used to help to spread the word about revolution, empowering crowed to keep going. Revolution started in a small village, but when the word spread on social media it inspired many people across the country to fight.

In my academic career big data has been useful because all information that I need are only click away from me. Having all kinds of data bases available online saves a lot of time that we would spend if we needed to go through the books to look for them. I believe that big data will be really beneficial in my future business carrier. If I work in marketing sector, big data will enable me to track consumers’ behaviors and use that data to improve my business.

 

 

Welcome To Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library!

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At West Virginia Wesleyan College we are lucky to have big library with friendly stuff always willing to help their students. I work study at the library for the past 3 years and I can’t imagine better place to work on campus. We have huge source of books and databases available. With Marketing and Research Strategy class we visited library this week and had detailed presentation on how to use available databases on Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library website. I enjoyed this presentation because I had opportunity to learn about many useful database sources I did not know about before. As a business administration major using this sources for research projects will be really helpful. This presentation was led by Beth Rogers.

First, we learned about communication source called EBSCO host. This database source includes a lot of marketing and advertising information. Miss Beth suggested when we search for certain topic we should try to narrow it to 20-50 sources in order to get the best results. This particular database source has caption tool with APA capitalization problem, so we need to make sure we check it before adding it to our paper.

Second, we discussed Sage Premier Journal database. This is a good place to look for peer-viewed journals. Our instructor used social science and humanities as research example. There was 1049839 articles and 847 journals available on this particular topic. In order to narrow it down to some reasonable number she showed us on the side how we can enter key words, select publishing date or article type we want to look at. With this selection we are able to look at lower number of articles and the once that are related more to what we are looking for.

Next we looked at Mintel. I found this database source very interesting and useful. It provides us with customer insights based on in-depth market research and analysis. We looked at Starbucks and it provided information for their five years plan, seasonal dining trends, loyalty programs, etc. When we looked at loyalty programs it gave us PDF and Excel files on how to create extraordinary shopping and loyalty experience. This report has price of $3995.00, which explains how valuable the content in it is. This data could be really useful for entrepreneurs to start their business the right way.

Next database we looked at was Statista. It is a great statistic portal with over 80,000 topics included. It provides business customers with direct quantities data from the market and covers many interesting topics. For example, it gives us statistics on woman’s satisfaction with buying new car in 2016.

Last thing we discussed during our library visit was BrownZine. It allows us to access e-journals from different publishers. Also, it is a great way to visually look at the information, create a personal bookshelf and be alerted when new issue of a journal is available. We particularly looked at business and economic journals. In the section marketing and sales, I found many interesting journals I would definitely like to read.

I found this library visit very useful and I learned in depth about many database sources I did not know existed. I am glad West Virginia Wesleyan College is providing such a great source of databases available for students to use. I will definitely take full advantage of it in the future!

Kat’s Boarding Area

My name is Katarina and purpose of this blog is to tell you a little bit about myself. I was born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia. I grew up in the capital city and urban area, which might later explain why I decided to go to college in very quiet and small town. When I turned 17 my mother got a fantastic employment offer with United States based firm. That is how I found my way abroad and to West Virginia Wesleyan College. We lived in Maryland for two years before I started college, so I finished part of my high school in Serbia and part of it in America. Moving from Europe to USA was one of the hardest, but also one of the greatest experiences. It was a big cultural shock, because lifestyles there and here in America are completely different. It took me a year or two to adjust. When considering my options about secondary education I decided to stay and study in America because I relished interactive educational system in US. My decision to come to West Virginia Wesleyan College was somewhat random, but I am happy with my selection because I got a chance to both view and learn me a slower paced rural side of America.. For me the most notable benefits of this institution are creativity, participation and enthusiasm of educational staff and various extracurricular activities offered. At Wesleyan I was asked to join a women’s golf team. I have been a sports enthusiast since I was a kid so it was an easy decision for me. Being an active member of this golf team has enhanced my understanding of this country by traveling across different states for many tournaments and meeting diverse people. I was also able to develop better time management skills. Another great decision I made as I started my college career at Wesleyan was joining a sorority. I can say it was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. I never expected I would grow and learn so much about myself and others just by being part of an organization. Taking leadership role in my sorority helped me develop many skills when it comes to planning and organizing. Another amazing thing I found at Wesleyan is Service Scholar Program offered on campus. Since early age I had passion for giving back to the community and volunteering. Being able to continue my service to community through WE LEAD club on our campus has already been such an incredible experience. Purpose of this group on campus is to bring awareness to local and national issues and raise consciousness about it on our camps. We do it through offering service and awareness projects and my favorite part is organizing Social Justice Week on campus. Being involved in all these great organizations on campus has shaped my college career in many ways. My time at Wesleyan is coming to a close and I am excited to see that the next eighteen months have in store for me.