Market Research with Anna Hrach

As I was going through and listening to a few of the ‘Social Pros’ podcast series, I stumbled across Anna Hrach and her podcast episode on Market Research and why it is crucial. Anna is a strategist, which means that she is all about the background research and strategy of her company’s marketing side. Due to this background and her current projects, she is an excellent guest speaker on this subject.

At the start of the episode, Anna talked about her company’s role and what project they are working on directly after COVID. This new project for a client, The University of Arizona, wanted students and professors to download an app, COVID watch. This app is an easy and confidential way of giving individuals information if they were near another individual exposed while also keeping it anonymous. One of their main setbacks or challenges for this project was that students, in particular college students, are not an “easy to pin down” target audience. College students are hard to pin down but are usually pretty skeptical about which apps they are downloading and why they are doing it. Due to this and the fact that it is a brand-new app, there had to have been a lot of research and testing done beforehand, which Anna goes into detail about.

This research was between 1 to 2 months plus gathering research from other companies and platforms as well. One of their most significant finds was that individuals are so nervous about downloading a new app, especially tracking and location apps, on their phone; however, “they forget the fact that the government has things like your social security number.” Many individuals are so worried about someone tracking them and knowing where they are, but in reality, the government and all of our social media platforms know more about us than this app would gain. Because of this, the company and school had to overcome this and make sure their students knew it was anonymous and safe. Once this complication was addressed, the team and Anna started with personas to better understand the different groups of their target market and how they could reach them the best. These groups varied from individuals who wouldn’t trust new technology, individuals who were confused about COVID, individuals questioning technology, individuals who download because it is the right thing, and the last is the advocate. Because of these five groups, the team realized the two groups that need to be led into getting the app were the two where the students were confused or questioning the technology a little. They are focusing on them because the latter two would download it already, and the first one would not, no matter what they do, so it would be a waste of time and money if you focus on these three groups.

If it was not for this research team, the company and the University of Arizona might not have been able to find their target audience and who they needed to target. They also were the team to get the marketing strategy going when it came to their influencers (advocates) and their social media posts and ads to help market it. If the research was not done, this may not have happened as smoothly as it did, which would have complicated the process quite a bit and may not have hit the goal, “20% of students”, which they could do within ten days.

I originally picked this podcast episode because I have been interested in Market Research for a while now and thought it would be fascinating to hear a professional discuss it in depth. One of my favorite parts of this episode was that Anna discussed a current project of hers and some of the real complications she was facing when reaching college students. I also found the project intriguing because we have gone through something similar this past year on campus, but instead of using an app, the school would do everything themselves, which looks pretty time-consuming. Although this seems time-consuming and would make more sense to have an app like this, I would be reluctant to download it, as Anna was saying. This podcast helped me see what a difference marketing research can do for a project and reflect on my motives and actions as a college student. I will try and use this in the future to help think more about what someone is asking and why it would help not only me but others.




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