I’m officially on spring break and figured I’d recap my winter term as a grad student at the University Of Oregon’s Turnbull Center in Portland.
One of my classes was all about marketing. This was an interesting class to me, simply because I really had no previous exposure to the nuts and bolts of marketing. We read quite a few case studies, which included ethical considerations, and also wrote a few papers. One paper revolved around critiquing an organization’s social media. Here are the instructions on the paper:
You will write a concise, 1500 word paper on a social media marketing topic of your choice. Here are some examples:
- Analysis of a recent B2B or B2C social media marketing campaign that describes how social media is being used, what is being done well, and what could be improved.
- Analysis of the marketing potential of a social media platform. What are the platform’s strengths? What are its limitations?
- Comparison of the marketing potential of two or more social media platforms.
For this paper, I picked the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and how it uses Twitter. I thought this organization has an interesting social media presence because UFC President Dana White has a huge Twitter following. He’ll often interact with key, strategic celebrities, along with regular fans. Interesting is that on Twitter, he’ll also tell UFC fans — his target customer — that they’re idiots (or other derogatory terms) if they say something negative about either him or the UFC and, somehow, he’s able to get away with it without much backlash. Meanwhile, the main UFC Twitter page is stays away from controversy at all costs.
I also took a quantitative research class. This class focused on being able to create an instrument (that’s the technical name for a survey!) that would allow me to create an instrument for a future employer to gauge all sorts of things. We looked at perceptions, Likert Scales, Net Promoter Scores and more.
For me, this class was somewhat of a re-hash of things I had previously learned in my undergrad education at Portland State where I took a class somewhat similar to this. Two of the main differences from the Portland State class and this grad school class were that we literally had to go physically collect data (we couldn’t disperse our instrument through an online survey tool like SurveyMonkey) and that the grad school class was geared toward non-theoretical projects and more of a real-life work project that I would face while working.
So, my group decided to gauge the differences between customers of two upscale, organic grocery store chains — Whole Foods and New Seasons. My group ended up collecting 283 instruments by standing out in front of Whole Foods and New Seasons stores in the Portland-area and trying to get people to take our survey. We had a pretty high refusal rate because it seemed like people thought we were asking for money or asking people to sign some sort of petition.
Anyway, my group did quite a bit of work on this project and we were pretty pleased with how our analysis went. If you’d like to know which store customers liked more and in what areas, email me and I might post the info if there’s any interest!
I also completed my second finance class this term. It was a weekend class and it was really interesting. We talked quite a bit about financial 10Ks, gross margins and investor relations. I never thought I’d write this, but I would definitely take another finance class if I could!