New Marketing Lab Opens
There was a christening at the Carroll School recently—for a new lab that conducts research on such matters as whether consumers feel guilty about choosing a dark chocolate bar over a gluten-free rice cake.
The Consumer Insights Panel (CIP), a one-year-old program of the Marketing Department, opened a permanent lab for its marketing behavioral research on the second floor of Cushing Hall. A week later, in early February, nearly 200 students were taking part in the first CIP study of this semester, analyzing how consumers make decisions about how much to spend on various products.
The large room with a view of Conte Forum is equipped with nearly two dozen workstations, each with a laptop computer used for online marketing surveys and other testing. On a wall outside is a large flat screen with continually updated information about the research underway inside.
There are also shelves and displays that aid in studies, for example, of how consumers respond to packaging and placement. Coming soon are overhead cameras that will capture the responses.
“Simulating the marketing environment—that’s the whole purpose,” post-doctoral researcher and lab coordinator Haewon Yoon said at a little ceremony marking the opening.
Yoon and others emphasized that the CIP makes it possible for students to participate fully in cutting-edge marketing research conducted by Carroll School faculty. That means not just serving as subjects but also “learning how experiments are conducted in a state-of-the-art facility,” he said.
Until Yoon came aboard last June, the organization was managed (at its temporary quarters in Carney Hall) by two assistant professors—Hristina Nikolova (who holds the Coughlin Sesquicentennial Assistant Professorship in marketing) and Nailya Ordabayeva. They noted in a conversation at the opening that some studies—of how people think about financial planning, for instance—are done better with adult subjects. So the CIP plans to begin recruiting alumni in the near future.
Many students participate in the research as part of coursework; otherwise, participants are often paid in cash or gift cards. Those interested in taking part can sign up online, or send an email to the CIP.
Photo by Lee Pellegrini