Category Archives: Research

BMGT 311: Assignment #4 (Due 10.19)


Focus groups are a great qualitative marketing research method to get key information and insight from consumers.  We watched one example of focus groups in class for the Google Chromebook – now I would like you to prepare for and conduct a focus group.

In the example above, Domino’s Pizza learned their customers were not aware they used natural ingredients.  So part of the resulting marketing strategy was to focus more on natural ingredients.  This insight was gained directly from the result of conducting focus groups – another example of how marketing research can drive a marketing strategy.

Your group is going to plan a focus group.  The topic: How would instructors increase engagement at Point Park University, both inside and outside of the classroom.   How could they leverage technology to increase this engagement – and would this engagement help the students become more prepared for jobs post graduation.

To plan for a group – the first step is to prepare a discussion guide.  This is used by the moderator to guide the conversation.

  • Four to eight primary questions and/or discussion topics should be developed for each focus group discussion

Another good resource is here for preparing for and conducting a focus group:

So as a group, please prepare a discussion guide to prepare for our in-class focus group after the test on 10.22.  I will choose two of your discussion guides, then split the class into two focus groups after the test.

Please send by email (1 per group) by 10.19.14.

Chris Lovett


BMGT 311 Assignment #3 (Saturday): Observation (Due 9.13.14)


Observation is a simple, yet powerful tool, in the field of Marketing Research and business in general.  Walking in your customers shoes, and experiencing what they experience, helps managers develop products and services that better meet the needs of their customers.

Observation is also a key component of human-centered design, or ethnographic research.  By observing customers in their natural environment, key things can be learned that otherwise may go unnoticed in a lab or in a focus group.  See the example below on how Nordstrom’s designed an app in their stores, learning from customers as it was developed.


Today, observation is difficult because we are often distracted by technology, and not paying attention to the world around us.  For this assignment, I want you to explore the world around you, around us, on campus, and observe humans in their natural environment for a few moments to see what you learn.  Go to one of the locations below:

1. Starbucks

2. Market Square Coffee Store, etc

3. Point Park Cafe

4. CVS

5. 7-11

While there, I want you to observe the people that shop or visit these locations.  I want you to note:

1. What type of person visits this place (demographic, behavioral)

2. Do they stay or do they go?

3. What type of items do they buy?

4. How do they pay for the items?

5. How would you describe the checkout experience?

6. Could you sense any frustration on the customer’s part?

7. Do you have any ideas to improve the buying process?

Please post your answers directly to this blog post – and we can discuss next week.  I look forward to the discussion.

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


The Classroom of Tomorrow is Everywhere

This past Sunday, a group of Point Park instructors collaborated with  a professor at Slipper Rock University and others in the social media community to hold a live twitter chat during the Super Bowl.   With an event like the Super Bowl, we felt that it was a great opportunity to have a marketing and social media discussion in real-time.  The goal was to create lively discussion and allow our students to interact with us as well as each other as they viewed one of the marketing events of the year.

Teaching and learning, in my opinion, is not restricted to a classroom for a set period of time.   When studying a field like marketing and social media, learning in real-time helps the students understand marketing and social media, and how they are applied in real situations.  I am not a fan of marketing or social media books, because they are out of date as soon as they are printed.  A collaboration, however, happens in real-time and I believe sticks with the students longer.

So how did the event go?  Did students interact with each other?  Did we learn anything?  Yes.  Yes.  And yes.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 8.48.49 PM

Using the twitter hashtag #sbmktg101, the discussion generated over 1 MM impacts, 200 people contributed, and reached over 251,000 unique people.  Not to bad for a collaboration between two small schools in western PA.  If you are afraid your students are not willing to interact and learn on a Sunday when they are not in school, the stats above say differently.

Just how far did the discussion go?  Our discussion was retweeted by Fred Graver (@fredgraver) Head of TV at Twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.02.25 PM

And this discussion was a lot more than just a few people contributing.   Over 55 people tweeted more than 6 times during the event.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 8.49.33 PM

And contributions varied, but overall were well represented by students in on the discussion.  Some of my students never tweeted before this event, but contributed and shared throughout the night.  I actually tweeted TOO much – my account was locked for most of the 4th quarter!

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 8.49.53 PM

Some examples of the live discussion (A small sample – the discussion included professors, Pittsburgh agencies, and students).

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.12.05 PM

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.10.36 PM

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.10.09 PM

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.09.46 PM

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.07.53 PM

To see the full discussion, visit and plug-in the hashtag #sbmktg101.

My final take aways from the discussion:

1. I am not a social media manager by trade, but developed the strategy and managed the discussion.  THIS WAS NOT EASY.  I have a new-found respect for social media manager – you women and men are rock stars.

3. My pick for best ad in the Super Bowl?  The Budweiser #bestbuds spot.  Why?  It was ‘sssssscute!

4. My pick for the worst ad in the Super Bowl?  The Budweiser #bestbuds spot?  Why?  I think it will not appeal to their target market (men) and drive beer sales.  Budweiser is focused on the promotional era of marketing, and should really focus on the Product portion of the marketing equation, to address lost sales to craft beer makers, etc.  We love puppies, but we love good beer even more.  But heck with hit – lets watch it again!

5. Best Social Media Interaction: Tide.  Tide responded in real time to other brands ads using Vine.  It was a great approach, and P&G did not have to spend $4 MM on an ad – but just respond to them like we all were anyway.

Tide Goldie Blox Vine

6. My runner up best ad goes to Goldie Blox.  Great music.  Great message.  Great overall concept to help girls reach their fullest potential and break the existing pressure to act in certain ways.

….and shout out to Toys R Us for showing us Targeted Marketing, while not as flashy, might matter even more (Event tie-in, featured product, clear call to action).

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.30.45 PM

7. Thank you to everyone who joined the discussion to make it a success, especially the following:

Douglas Strahler, Professor of Communications at Slippery Rock University, @profstrahler

Christina Morgan, Professor of Communications/Social Media at Point Park University, @christinamorgan

Deanna Ferrari Tomaselli, Social Media Manager at Rue 21, @dferrari

Patty Swisher, Professor of Communications/Social Media at Point Park University, @pmswish

Garrett Green, @garrettgreen – for hashtag usage.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 9.41.35 PM

8. Never stop learning.  Never.

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

2013 Student Project Partner: Wigle Whiskey

Wigle Whiskey Logo


I am excited that I finally landed a partner for my Fall 2013 classes.  This semester, my students will partner with Wigle Whiskey on the development of key marketing research to help them achieve their 2014 marketing goals.  In addition, the marketing management class will be tasked with identifying key experiential marketing tactics to education Wigle’s target market on the history of Pennsylvania Whiskey, the Whiskey Rebellion, and key selling points of craft spirits like Wigle.


My goal as an instructor is pretty simple – to give my students the best opportunity I can to prepare them for the real world.  Wigle is a startup, and the owners have very limited time to focus on marketing as they are so focused on growing the business and the day to day challenges of running a startup.  My students will be their marketing departments for a semester – providing both strategic and tactical support as Wigle continues to grow.  We can’t share the details of what we are working on – but it is a very exciting thing to be a part of.

The folks at Wigle Whiskey were very nice to give me this opportunity to give my students this experience.  Wigle is an amazing company – a family vision turned to reality.  Pittsburgh continues to amaze me with the people I meet who are reshaping our region.  I am honored to help out such a passionate group of people – and hope my students fully understand the opportunity they have been given here as they prepare to enter the real world.  Like the whiskey rebellion and history behind this company, I want my students to be rebellious in their projects, presenting out of the box ideas to help Wigle continue to grow.

To learn more about this amazing company, visit their web site at




Here is to a great fall semester.

Chris Lovett


BMGT 311: Assignment #5 – Infographics


In Marketing Research, one of the fastest growing trends I see includes the use of Infographics as a way to increase awareness or convey a statistic to a wide audience.  This use of Data Visualization combines information and data in a very easy way for audiences to grasp and understand.

Why are they so popular?  My theory is simply people are busy – and anyway you can showcase information in a way that can be understood and digested in a way that is visual, will be more likely to be accepted an audience.  I also think infographics are very similar to today’s most popular social media platforms, engaging (Twitter and Facebook) and Visual (Instagram).

Even resumes can become infographics – and make your experience look a little more interesting than it might be.

So can you find an interesting infographic?  What is the information it is conveying, and to what audience?  Why do you feel this way of visualizing data is becoming so popular?

Chris Lovett

BMGT 311: Assignment #4 – Ethnographic Research

Some call it Ethnographic Research.  Some call it hyper qualitative research.  But it’s all about getting closer to your users or potential users to “deep dive” and “needfind” to develop a solution to marketing problems.  Quantitative research is great – it tells marketers what is going on.  But it often overlooks the “why” and the “how” and even other opportunities.

1. Can you give an example of a company doing this type of research?

2. What was the result?

3. What is your opinion of these research techniques?

David Kelly, a pioneer on this research technique, talks below about creativity, and examples on this process and how to drive creativity throughout an organization.

See you next week.




BMGT 411: Assignment #2


Please respond in the comments section for assignment #2.

Article 2 Review Due and Presentation

  • Topic: Pick a company you feel has great customer loyalty, and find an article that gives examples of how they engage with customers and keep them loyal

Thought starters

  • Have you looked for articles on Google Scholar?
  • What about companies that use loyalty cards?  How does this keep customers loyal?
  • Think about the marketing tactics that engage with customers like direct mail, email, and in store events.  What does your favorite company do to keep you coming back?

Chris Lovett