Learning Outcomes

The purpose of this blog post is to identify what learning objectives I accomplished personally, as well as reflect on the class over the duration of the semester. The class as a whole was tasked with completing marketing research for West Virginia Wesleyan College. The marketing research was to see Wesleyan’s ability to attract students and retain current students.

My personal group focused on why high school seniors chose another college over WVWC even though they applied to Wesleyan. We sent out surveys through email outlets to those who applied but chose another college. The results we received were interesting and actually shocked me. I thought that housing and dining options would be important factors for their decision but they were the least deciding factors. Those we surveyed also did not care too much about the requirement to live on-campus. Our group was not able to obtain many respondents which may have hindered our results. Our team members each carried their own weight and worked well together. I believe that our group communicated extremely well which is detrimental to group success.

My first learning outcome from the course would be how is marketing research used in the real world. Using Wesleyan in a real-life situation helped my understanding of how the research is used. The second learning objective that I wanted to focus on was how marketing research works. The project that our group completed helped me gain a better understanding of marketing research. We completed the marketing research process from beginning to end.

My learning objectives will help me prepare myself for future marketing research opportunities. I can definitely improve on learning more about how marketing research works. By diving deeper into marketing research, I would be able to obtain more information about individual aspects. This would only help further my understanding as well as produce greater responses. I plan to research more about the in’s and out’s of marketing research to expand my foundation.

Making Better Business Decisions

Jay Acuzno, the founder of Unthinkable Media, discusses the components of making strategic decisions. Jay struggled to find what he wanted to do for a career. He has had some exceptional work experience being employed by ESPN and Google, but they weren’t for him. Jay knew that he had the ability to use his creative mind and develop marketing content for companies. Developing content for startup companies such as HubSpot and Venture Capital, he has created a name for himself. Jay is now a full-time speaker and maker of shows. As a full-time speaker, Jay wants to help people understand how to make better decisions in the marketing field. Jay believes that a lot of decisions are made from decisions from others that have proved positive. Very rarely will a marketer take a unique path to make a decision. There are three ways marketers make bad decisions according to Jay.

Relying on conventional wisdom is the first way marketers make bad decisions. Jay believes that if you make a decision according to what another has made, it may end up bad for one. Every situation has different variables and if they don’t align with your specific problem then the outcome will be negative. The second way marketers make bad decisions is by relying on new trends. Once again, the variable in every situation is different and a new practice might be worse than choosing a conventional practice. The third and final way Jay believes marketers make bad decisions is by relying on reactions. Pike syndrome is when a marketer relies on what they see about a platform and remove content from there.

Jay provides his personal insight on how to make better decisions. Jay says that you need to know the principal insight of your customer. If you know what your customer wants then you have identified your principal insight. Jay also believes that a key to making better business decisions is to find your true believers. Reaching a large audience might not be what is good for the company, but reaching a customer base that truly believes in what you’re doing as a business. Relating to the culture that your business attracts is what is important. Jay talked about what Merriam-Webster did to change up their bland Twitter approach. Being funny and witty worked tremendously for Merriam-Webster and they have reached an entirely new audience.

Jay provided several good points for marketers to look into. Change can be good for an organization but you first have to know the parameters of the situation. Jay proves that he is passionate about what he does and he has seen results from what he speaks about. Jay has provided me personally with a lot of insight into the marketing world. I will be able to use this information in making my own decisions in life. I have always been a firm believer about the difference in situations. I very rarely make a decision that I know could impact me negatively without knowing every aspect.



Data Collection

Data collection is a process where a researcher provides questions to a group of potential respondents. The response to these questions is often used for marketing research. The data collection process can often be a difficult process due to the many errors that are associated with gathering. The errors involved in data collection can be controlled by certain processes known as control mechanisms. Intentional fieldworker error is whenever a data collector willfully violates the policies set forth by the researcher. These type of errors include cheating and leading respondent. The control mechanisms that can be used for these errors consist of supervision and validation. Supervision consists of overseeing the data collection workers. Validation basically identifies that the interviewer did the work. The next type of error is an unintentional fieldworker error. This occurs when a respondent commits an error without knowing he or she is performing incorrectly. Categories under unintentional fieldworker errors consist of interviewer characteristics, misunderstandings, and fatigue. To control these types of errors, the researcher properly select and train the interviewers. Orientation and role-playing can also help control the possibility of an error occurring. The last way to control unintentional errors is to allow required breaks and alternative surveys. The next error type is intentional respondent errors. The two subtypes of errors in this field consist of falsehoods and nonresponses. There are many control methods to help with the error issues in this area. Incentives, validation checks, and ensuring anonymity and confidentiality are the three control mechanisms. The three control mechanisms for nonresponses include incentives, ensuring anonymity and confidentiality, and third-person techniques. Unintentional respondent error occurs whenever a respondent provides an unvalidated answer but he or she believes its the truth. The control mechanisms for this type of error is a derivative of the types of questions used. A well-drafted questionnaire and direct questions will be critical in obtaining the desired results. Many types of these control mechanisms would not work in regard to my teams’ specific goal due to the age of technology. Providing incentives such as the gift cards will help control some of the error that could be associated with the project. I also believe that the construct of our questionnaire with direct questions will be key in obtaining results. Nonresponse errors are also a common issue with questioning others. The three types of nonresponses with a survey include refusals, break-offs, and item omission. A refusal is when the prospective respondent declines to participate in the survey. A break-off is when the respondent completes part of the survey and then stops participating. Lastly, item omission occurs when the respondent answers only certain questions. Calculating response rates is also key because it provides a statistic based on the number of respondents to the number of eligible units in a sample. A basic response rate formula is computed by dividing the number of completed interviews by the number of eligible units in a sample. This formula was developed by the Council of American Survey Research Observation. An expanded form of calculating the response rate is computed by using survey “results” such as completions, ineligible, refusals, and not reached. Including this response rate in our specific project will be beneficial for many reasons. The first reason is we will be able to see the exact numbers of those who engaged with the survey. The next reason is ultimately about the effectiveness of the survey. A poor response rate can be associated with poor control mechanisms.


How We Plan to Improve Enrollment

Our marketing research team was tasked with the job of figuring out what causes the enrollment at West Virginia Wesleyan College to decline. There are several causes as to why the enrollment has decreased over the years, but we are trying to combat the problem and push our enrollment numbers up. Our team is comprised of nearly ten outstanding students with a great work ethic. We plan to not necessarily assign roles but to work toward a common goal on each task. By doing this, we are able to hear each team members opinion and take it into account. My personal responsibilities are the exact same as every other team member in my group. My duties may include research, brainstorming, and the final production of our product. Our team has a very complex background. We are very strong with our work ethic which will help the group collectively.  I believe that we are weak within our group because we are all very active individuals outside of “work”. This may pose future problems if we need to meet as a group to finish a task. Personally, I believe I am a strong researcher, a concise writer, and I have a great work ethic.

I believe throughout the course of this project, I will be able to learn more about Wesleyan, their marketing techniques, and more about the enrollment issue. I also want to learn more about the overall marketing research process through course material.

In order to be successful in this course, I will have to do several things. I will need to watch the video lectures several times to understand the marketing research process. I believe if I do what I am asked to do and I do it with effective time management, in accordance with my life outside of “work” then I will succeed. I am a firm believer that the overall picture is where it counts, but the work that is done behind the scenes is where the true talent prevails.