Category Archives: data visualization

BMGT 311 (Wednesday): Assignment #2 Data Visualization


As we learned in the first assignment and first couple of chapters, visualizing data can be a powerful tool for marketing researchers.  There is an over abundance of data – and it becomes more powerful when managers can use it to make decisions that affect their marketing strategies.

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Example of Data Visualization:

In assignment one, I gave you a series of data and asked you to visualize it using excel or other method – to help show current users of popular social media networks.  In this assignment, you will be tasked with finding the data for yourself, and then using tools to visualize the information and package it.

For this assignment, please use the American Community Survey (As shown in class):

1. For Pittsburgh and your hometown, please use the ACS to develop a market profile (Note: If from Pittsburgh, choose any other city in the US to compare against Pittsburgh).

2. The Demographic Profile should include, at minimum, a graphical comparison of these two cities that include:

  • Population of each city
  • Percentage of traditional college aged students (18-24)
  • Race Distribution (Percentage of each race)
  • Median Income Ranges and Percentages for each city
  • Educational Attainment for each city
  • Unemployment statistics for each city

3. Show this information graphically, comparing the two cities

4. Based on your findings, which city, in your opinion, would have more opportunities for a recent college graduate.  Did any of the data surprise you?

5. Place your findings in a powerpoint or pdf, and upload to slideshare.  Please be prepared to share your findings in class on September 24th after the test.

Assignments are due before class on the 24th.

Chris Lovett


BMGT 311 (Wednesday) Assignment #1 (Due 9.10.14)


As we get into the class, we are going to find that an important part of marketing research is finding and using secondary data to help support your AlthleteTrax project.  Finding the data is the first step.  The second step is visualizing that data so it tells a story.  The third step is to develop a point of view (POV) from the visualizations as it relates to the project or task at hand.  Since the AlthleteTrax project involves digital and social media marketing, you are going to be tasked with taking raw data sets and forming charts that help visualize the story they are telling.

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Listed below are raw data sets from 2013 on a variety of social media sites.  The raw data is available here:

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Your first assignment is as follows:

1. Pick one of the social media sites listed above (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or LinkedIn)

2. Using Excel, develop charts and graphs that showcase the following for the site you choose:

  • Usage, Men Vs Women
  • Demographic usage
  • Age Group Cohort usage
  • Usage by Educational Attainment
  • Usage by Income and employment
  • Breakout of usage (Urban Suburban, Rural)

3. Please place your charts into a PowerPoint, and in summary, please answer the following questions in summary:

  • Do you feel the users of this social network meet the target market for AlthleteTrax (College Age, College Club Sports Managers?)
  • If so – why?  If not – Why not?
  • Did any of this data surprise you?  In what way?

4. Please save your PowerPoint as a PDF, and upload to slideshare and include the link in the comments section of this blog post.  Be creative in your responses!

I look forward to seeing your visualizations and your POV’s on the data.

Chris Lovett


BMGT 311 (Saturday) Assignment #2: Due September 6

Source: Netflix (House of Cards Intro)
Source: Netflix (House of Cards Intro)


Now that you have taken a deeper dive in data visualization using data that was given to you, I want you to expand your learning by getting more comfortable not only visualizing data, but finding it as well.  Finding secondary data is a key part of marketing research, and this exercise will get you more comfortable finding and using data.  Please use the American Community Survey:

Please find the following information for Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, and your hometown if not from Pittsburgh.

Develop a demographic profile of each city comparing the following in visualized format against one another:

  • Average age
  • Race distribution
  • Income distribution (average income)
  • Poverty distribution
  • Employment statistics

If you were launching a new product, which city would you launch in?  Why?  What other items would you have to consider when launching a product in various markets.

I look forward to seeing your responses.  Like last week, create charts using excel and then upload in powerpoint format or pdf format on slideshare and leave the link as a comment for the class to share.

DC Metro
DC Metro


Chris Lovett


BMGT 311(Saturday): Assignment #1 Point Park Student Population


Welcome to the Fall Semester.  Marketing Research is an exciting subject and one that I am very passionate about.  In today’s marketing environment and job market, analytical skills are in the highest demand, as marketing shifts from being an “art” to a “science”

Marketing Research is a key component of this shift.  Understanding secondary data and consumer behavior helps marketers connect with their customers on a 1:1 level, and focuses their marketing dollars on activity that provides the biggest return on their investment.

A key skill is learning how to read data that is presented to you, use the data to develop visualization that impact decision makers, and finally allow you to have a point of view (POV) on the data that is presented to you.  Data comes in all shapes and forms, and is often hard to understand or develop a POV in its raw format.

So for assignment #1 – I would like you to take the following data below, and use excel to develop charts and visualizations that help answer the questions below.  Here is the raw data sets around the Fall 2013 Point Park Student population.

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Student Enrollment
3,841 for fall 2013.  Overall, enrollment has grown by nearly 19 percent within the past decade.

Student Demographics

74 percent of our undergraduate students are traditional age (18-24-year-olds)
25 percent of our undergraduates are non-traditional (25 years old or older)
28 percent of our graduate students are traditional age (18-24-year-olds)
71 percent of our graduate students are non-traditional age (25 years old or older)


72 percent of our undergraduates are White
16 percent of undergraduates are Black or African-American
3 percent are Hispanic of any race
4 percent are Two or more races
1 percent are Asian
3 percent are international

Graduate students:

73 percent of our graduate students are White
15 percent are Black or African-American
1 percent are Asian
2 percent are Hispanic of any race
2 percent are Two or more races
6 percent are international



Here are the questions that I would like you to answer for next week.  I would prefer you upload your presentation to slideshare and leave a link to it in the comments below.  We can discuss in class on how to do this.  The charts can be developed in excel, and then copied to PowerPoint where they can be uploaded (PDF’s preferred).

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1. Can you show visually, the demographic breakdown of Point Park University undergrad and graduate students?

2. How does that breakdown compare with the population of the City of Pittsburgh?  (hint: use the census links on this web page)

3. Can you find another schools demographic profile online?  How does it compare with Point Park’s? (hint: use google)

4. What is the Student/Faculty ration at Point Park University using the information above?

5. Do the demographics of Point Park University reflect the demographics of the US as a whole?

I look forward to seeing your visualizations and presentations.

Chris Lovett

BMGT 311 Assignment #4: Data Visualization (Due October 23)

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Data is all around us.  It’s everywhere.  A key success metric is if you can make sense of the data, and summarize it in a way that makes sense to you, as well as your audience.  Data is a very powerful tool – but it is only powerful if you know how to use it.

One piece of data students may be close to is the rising amount of student loan debt in the United States.  Since you are college students, this is probably a subject that is closer to you than others.  The United States government (when it was working, of course), has released a trove of data about the student loan situation in the US.  However, that data is not easy to absorb at times.

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For assignment #4 – I am going to present you with 3 data sets that were released by the United States Department of Education.  Your assignment is to pick one of the data sets, and prepare a presentation that includes:

1. A visual representation of the data using Excel, Infographic, Tableau, or other data visualization software program

2. A summary of your findings at a very high level

3. A recommendation from the data visualization and summary of findings

Please save your assignments to Slideshare and link to them by October 23 for full credit on this assignment.  Slideshare does not accept Excel documents, so save your visualizations as a PowerPoint and upload to slideshare and include a link in the comments section below.

Here are the scenarios:

1. You are a high school senior that wants to go to college in the Pittsburgh area.  You are going to make your decision based on a simple indicator: Student Loan Default Rates.  First, you want to pick a school type that has the lowest loan default rate.  Would you pick Private, Public, or For Profit Colleges?  What college would be your best choice?  Why?  What college would be your worst choice?  Why.

Note: for scenario #1 use the file: school_loan_default_visualization copy I sent via email

2. You are a Department of Education administrator being tasked with figuring out which states have the highest Student Loan Default Rates.  You would like to focus on the top 10 states with the highest loan defaults, and develop a recommendation as to why.  In addition to visualizing the states with the largest default rate issues, your supervisor would like to include a percentage of students in default per state compared with that states overall adult population (Note – the states adult population is not given – you will need to find it and add to the Excel spreadsheet given to you).

Note: for scenario #2 use the file: US_Loan_Default_Rate_State.xls and state info you can find via Census links

3. You are a Department of Education Administrator, and have been asked to give a presentation on the rise of student loan default rates by type of school (private, public, and for profit).   You would like to compare the 2-year cohort loan default rate from 2009, 2010, and 2011.  Your supervisor would like to see the results in visual format for total schools as a percentage, as well as a breakout by school type for all years (2009, 2010, and 2011).  Based on this data, which schools are the biggest issues?  What would your recommendations be to fix this issue based on the results that you have found?

Note: for scenario #3 use the file us_student_loan_default_2 and FY2008CDR

This assignment will take some work, and require working knowledge of excel.  If you need further direction, we can discuss in class over the next two weeks.

Below is an example of the types of visualization I am looking for.

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Chris Lovett

BMGT 311: Assignment #4 Data Visualization

In week number 4, we discussed the importance of visualizing data to make it more understandable and understandable for your target audience.  For this assignment, I would like all of you to use the data below and visualize it.

1. Create a graph or chart using Excel or other graphing program

2. Copy the graph into PowerPoint

3. Load your PowerPoint to

4. Comment with your slideshare link

All final projects are to be submitted via slideshare, so this will give you the opportunity to get used to using it.


  1. Can you take this table and visualize the SNAP household growth since 2010?
  2. Can you visualize this data in percentages of total US population? (Use persons) and use 300 MM as overall population.

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Now take a look at the current unemployment rate of the US in the same time period.

  1. Can you take this table and visualize the decline in unemployment in the US?
  2. Is there a way to combine these two data sets to show a comparison between the two?  What is interesting about this data?

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Chris Lovett


The Changing American Family

Source: General Mills/Betty Crocker
Source: General Mills/Betty Crocker

Marketing research today has become a lot about story telling.  In today’s technology driven environment, telling a story often means being very visual.  A good example of this is The Families Project by Betty Crocker/General Mills.

This report is all about the changing profile of the american family.  If this was a regular report, you might have glanced over it, maybe taking in a few details and moved on.  Betty Crocker went a step further.  They provided the data in a way that was easy to absorb.  This type of digital story telling is a becoming more common in marketing research.

Source: Betty Crocker/General Mills
Source: Betty Crocker/General Mills

Sure – adding pictures, doing a video, developing a microsite – those things take time.  But that effort is well worth it when you are trying to force change within an organization or sell an idea.  Based on my experience in CPG, this was done to drive change.  It was done to show senior managers that marketing the same way they have always done may not work.  The american family is changing, and so must the way we market to them.

Chris Lovett