By Madison Sultan
My summer at Engagious has convinced me that market research is the career path that best suits my interests. I am an Economics major with minors in Statistics and Psychology, and I am particularly interested in Behavioral Economics–the branch that focuses on the why behind decisions and tries to understand how human psychology can affect what traditional economists may deem “rational.” This background has given me a strong understanding of how to get inside a target audiences’ head and understand how to convince and motivate people.
At Engagious, we focus on message testing. Often times, we will show a focus group a video in which an actress will read a script that includes the key talking points that might be given in a political speech, a sales pitch, or any number of other presentations. Respondents have dials that they turn to show on a 0 to 100 scale how interested/convinced/happy they are with what is being said at any given moment. This allows us to then go through every point being made and see exactly which parts are the most effective and which can be improved. After the video, we can then go back and show clips of interests to respondents with their dial results superimposed over the video and ask them why they dialed the way they did. This process is a great way to mitigate memory biases that traditional focus groups would face when they might simply ask a watcher, “So, what did you think?” We also conduct “In-depth interviews” in which we would talk to a member of a target audience for an hour and get a deeper understanding for what exactly they like and dislike and why they think this way. These interviews are often an important precursor to writing the scripts that we test in focus groups. I have listened to a number of these dial tests and interviews for a variety of different clients and have been a part of writing the reports in which we mention our findings and the suggestions we have based on the results.
I have absolutely LOVED my experiences at Engagious. While I never expected it to be a “go get us coffee” internship, I had no idea how much trust they would place in me to deliver quality work that is sent directly to clients. I also have loved the work that I am doing. It is incredibly interesting to watch the evolution of a project and notice patterns in responses as they begin to emerge, predict what this will mean for future respondents, and then make recommendations based on this.
If you’re reading this and are interested in market research, please reach out to me! I would love to talk about the best ways to get into this since I have only recently been discovering this for myself. A great place to begin would be reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman since a number of insights often are related to things mentioned in this book.