Look at any list of what kids want to be when they grow up and you’ll find teachers, athletes, firefighters, police officers, pilots, veterinarians, and doctors. This makes sense, of course, because these are the professions that kids are most likely to come across in their daily lives. We tell them to ask police officers for help if they’re lost, we point out the firetrucks and airplanes whizzing by, we keep everyone healthy with trips to the doctor and the veterinarian, and we support their teachers who guide and inspire them every day.
But how many kids have first-hand experience with our profession – marketing research?
Unless their parents or close relatives are in our industry and love to talk about their work, chances are that most kids won’t know that marketing research is an actual profession until they pick up a college course calendar and see those unusual classes listed in there.
With Thanksgiving upon us, Twitter is abuzz with teachers talking about food and I’m thrilled to see that many are findings ways to fit marketing research into the curriculum by running taste tests. Taste tests may sound simple but they are grounded in numerous essential marketing research foundations.
- Consider the class room setting. You could view a classroom test as either a population of 30 students or a sample of one classroom out of 30 classrooms in a school. Further, the students are being tested in a natural environment, similar to an In-Home-Usage-Test (IHUT) rather than a Central-Location-Test (CLT).
- Some teachers are creating blind tests by having some students prepare the taste tests while other students share their opinions about the products.
- Teachers are talking about putting the products in random order so that students don’t all realize ‘the first one is the tastiest one’ thereby biasing the results.
- Data quality gets discussed as students see that some food servings are larger or smaller, or contain more or less of the pie crust or the pie filling.
- When all the students have shared the opinions, data is consolidated and visual representations such as charts and tables are prepared.
So we must thank you, dear teachers, for sharing our love of product testing with your students. Perhaps, one day in the future, some of them will credit their career choice to your encouragement and join our team to help make better products and services for everyone.
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