Business students given exclusive opportunity to attend East Coast marketing expo
A recent field trip to a New York City conference helped solidify Corinne Foster’s interest in marketing research. It didn’t hurt that she and her classmates rubbed elbows with some top names in the industry or that they were the only college students attending the event, where job interviews, it seemed, were being offered like promotional swag.
Foster and six other Elizabethtown College Department of Business students were immersed in this promotional world by Bryan Greenberg, associate professor of marketing, via his connection to the Quirk’s Event, a two-day marketer’s playground, taking place each February in the Brooklyn area of NYC.
The Quirk’s Event, around since 2015, was created for the marketing research and insights community. More than 1,200 attend each year. In addition to the expo in Brooklyn, Quirk’s also holds an event in California the month preceding.
Greenberg contacted Steve Quirk, president and publisher of “Quirk’s Marketing Research Review,” which produces the expo, to arrange for student entrance into a typically industry-only event. Not only was permission given, Greenberg said, but, as the only higher ed students in attendance, Foster and her classmates got and gave a unique view as they met face-to-face with experts from across the industry–emotion/behavior researchers, data visualizers, B2B researchers, eyetracking and neuromarketers and research automaters, to name a few.
They can talk about real situations, applying concepts learned in class, how to apply them to problems and challenges they’d face as marketing professionals.”
The students had access to representatives from IBM, Virtual Incentives, McCormick, Diageo, Quester, Blue Apron and 3Q Global, along with more than 100 others, to talk about ethnography, social media, grocery behaviors, rewards plans and digital behavior tracking.
This is the second year Greenberg has organized this trip, he said. “It’s big ideas, real-world connections with marketing researchers and the opportunity to take part in a professional conference with market researchers and providers while still a student,” said Greenberg of his interest in taking students to New York. “They can talk about real situations, applying concepts learned in class, how to apply them to problems and challenges they’d face as marketing professionals.”
Greenberg said the students can learn the ropes with someone they trust. “I help them learn how to negotiate the professional world, how to present themselves, how to project themselves, interact and connect with people,” he said.
Because Foster had been a summer marketing research intern with Listrak, a consumer data industry leader that personalizes the retail experience, she understood research and was prepared to talk with the companies about what they do. Engaging with conference speakers helped point her toward some of the companies she really wanted to talk to.
“I’m interested in how companies are using big data to understand what consumer’s behaviors are and incorporating qualitative research to discover why they are behaving certain ways. I think it allows companies to really understand their customers and can give them a better insight to how they can better market to their target audience,” Foster said, noting that companies like this feed her interest in insights of qualitative and quantitative data.
Most of the companies Foster connected with at the expo were New York-based. “Meeting with them and networking was amazing. They were willing to do on-the-spot interviews. … I love New York; I would really like to work there.”
Holly Stegna, a senior international business and Japanese major with a concentration in marketing, had heard about the Quirk’s trip last year. She knew attending would be a boost for future career goals. Though she already has a job lined up after graduation in Japan–she will work in Toyokawa city hall for public relations and for its sister city program—her ultimate goal is to work in marketing research. The conference gave her a comprehensive look at how many types of research organizations exist.
Two vendors, in particular, were of interest to her—Ypulse and the Carter Group, a strategic market research agency in Japan.
“I thought I’d be more nervous approaching (the vendors) as a student because their goal is to connect with clients, but I was blown away by how engaging they were,” Stegna said. Each of the students approached the conference from a different angle, she said. “Some were looking for jobs; some, like me, already had jobs.”
Also included in the NYC trip was the opportunity to meet with several Elizabethtown College alums who are working in the industry. “Each night we connected with alumni; we talked to them about the companies where they work,” Foster said.
Mikayla Mason ’16, a strategist with OMD; Laura Klein ’16, a compliance manager at Fluent, and Julia Dasher ’15, who works with McCann as an account executive, joined the group for lunch and dinner. The students also had the opportunity to tour Discovery, thanks to Lindsay Sympson ’16, an integrated marketing specialist with the cable and satellite television channel, who was joined by Betty Lai ’13.
“They went to E-town,” said Foster, “so it was great to hear them tell their story of how they got to where they are now.”
Greenberg pointed out how important this part of the trip was to those who attended. “It’s a great all-around opportunity to see the amazing things past students have done and to see the connections made with those who are graduating in May.”