Marketing research

Students and Clients Win with Poole’s Marketing Research Course

From helping fitness centers deal with COVID issues to working with local nonprofits to support people with special abilities, Poole College graduate students are on a mission to make marketing research count.

Partnering with clients across the state and beyond, students in Poole’s Marketing Research Class (MBA 562) work in small teams to conduct in-depth, relevant marketing research that helps organizations address marketing issues. real-world management decision.

The course not only helps clients better understand consumer behavior and make data-driven marketing decisions, but it also helps students gain hands-on, hands-on experience and learn how to put theory into practice.

“Working with a real-world customer and management problem keeps students engaged and gives them insight into what it’s really like to conduct marketing research in industry,” says Stefanie Robinson, associate professor at marketing and co-director of NC State’s Consumer Research. Laboratory. “It also helps them see first-hand the importance of marketing research in decision-making.”

To solve a customer’s particular management decision problem, students begin by identifying a specific marketing research problem. They then conduct secondary research, followed by qualitative work – such as focus groups and/or individual interviews – to glean important insights to inform their quantitative research. After creating a quantitative survey, students collect and analyze the data to derive meaningful insights. Finally, at the end of the project, the students write a report and present their findings, conclusions and recommendations to the client.

“It’s really the process of thinking and doing. First, I teach students the specific concept of marketing research, then I give them the different tools and exercises to study it and put it into practice. From there, they apply what they’ve learned to the client’s project,” says Robinson.

“For survey design, for example, I start by teaching the art and science of survey design. Students critique a poll in class and practice creating their own poll. Then, using everything they learned in class, they design surveys for their respective clients’ marketing research problems. From there, it’s usually an iterative process. Students submit their surveys, I provide feedback to help them make any necessary changes, and we continue this process as needed,” she continues.

Over the years, Poole Marketing Research students have worked on a wide variety of projects, including projects with local and global companies and organizations in the business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-consumer sectors. business (B2B).

“It is extremely rewarding to see our students gain hands-on experience while benefiting our client partners in a practical and cost-effective way,” says Patrice Nealon, Poole Lecturer in Marketing who teaches the online section of the MBA 562 course. Recently, one of our clients was able to secure a military government contract through research by a team that analyzed potential target markets for chafing spray. We’ve seen so many amazing success stories like this over the years. With each new semester, I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Leveraging research for good

According to Jon Shafeei, owner and operator of 9Round Kickboxing Fitness in northeast Raleigh, NC, participating in the marketing research project allows him to be a more responsive business owner. For three years, Poole MBA students worked with 9Round on a number of marketing research issues, including consumer preferences for fitness facilities, exercise motivations and attitudes about COVID safety precautions.

“It was a great experience both ways. It gives students the opportunity to engage with the real world and it helps me get relevant local data that helps me make better decisions as a business owner,” says Shafeei.

“When I speak to gym owners in other regions, I recognize that their market is completely different to mine in terms of consumer behavior and demographics. So while I can wade through data from our CRM software organization and the various publications of the club, it is extremely useful to have access to local data”, he continues.

In addition to having access to local data, the partnership with Poole College also allows Shafeei to make the most of its marketing budget and better serve its customer base. When reopening after COVID shutdowns, for example, Shafeei used data insights and recommendations to make informed decisions about how best to meet their customers’ preferences and needs.

“Amid all the uncertainties of the pandemic and a difficult political arena, it was difficult for businesses to know how to move forward with reopening while making people feel safe,” says Shafeei. “For me, having this data and student recommendations was extremely valuable when making these difficult decisions. If you want to be a relevant business, this kind of opportunity is a gold mine.

And for Gabi’s Grounds, a three-tiered nonprofit dedicated to helping people with special abilities find meaningful employment, the project provided meaningful insights that Gabi’s Grounds can leverage to continue advancing its mission.

“Students helped us determine customer preferences and buying behaviors of companies that have their own social initiatives or companies that sponsor social causes,” says Mary Angelini, co-founder of Gabi’s Grounds. “They’ve also worked to pull information from consumers about condescending companies or seeking services that employ people with special abilities.”

With this information, Gabi’s Grounds can work to develop innovative solutions and establish new partnerships with local businesses to expand employment opportunities for people with special abilities.

leave an impact

For Jenkins MBA candidate Kara Gravinese, mastering the marketing research process is an important part of making a difference in the world.

“I worked in the non-profit human services sector as an outreach and communications manager for several years and realized there were a lot of gaps in this industry and in my own I came to NC State to fill those gaps and help my organization better achieve its mission,” says Gravinese.

“Specifically, I realized how important data is for communicating an organization’s needs and impact, but it wasn’t clear how to get that data or understand it. I was paralyzed. But now, thanks to the Marketing Research course, I am equipped. When I am faced with these same problems again, I will be ready to collect the relevant data, clean it, transform it and analyze it. »

Through the Marketing Research course, students are exposed to several tools – like SPSS and Qualtrics – and learn to read statistical analysis.

“I really enjoyed how the course gave us skills that would be relevant in the workplace. I have tough skills that I can take with me,” says Gravinese. “Before, I was reading research papers and the statistical details didn’t make sense to me. Now those details have come to life.

And for Gravinese, the opportunity to learn the marketing research process with real-world application is invaluable.

“The marketing research process is incredibly rigorous and detail-oriented. You need a high level of coordination to make sure you don’t miss anything and you also need to know what level of detail is sufficient. Going through this process has been so beneficial for my own professional development,” says Gravinese. “But the best part has been the business impact. Supporting a client’s goals with rigorous, quality academic research and giving them answers that justify why they do what they do – that’s the most important thing. In no time, you can do something meaningful and see the fruits of your labor.

This post originally appeared in Master of Management Marketing Analytics.