Portland Marketing Analytics (PortMA) | Portland, Maine

Whimsical musings on population segments

Who doesn’t love the feeling of thinking about something, only later to find out you were right about it all along?  While that might be true, one of the reasons I enjoy research so much is because it is a logical, provable, guessing game.  As an analyst, I start any project with a guess, or more professionally, a hypothesis, and take the subsequent and necessary steps (thank you third grade science for teaching me the scientific method!) to prove myself right… or yes, sometimes wrong.  But, the fun however, is actually in the process— the getting to the answer part.

Results from data drive my inferences and recommendations to a client.  For example, today I was finishing up a report draft for a client we have served in the past here at PortMA.  To give context, I will say this— this client’s work is normally found to be gender polarizing.  As I am normally apt to do, I had a hypothesis in mind after I looked over the methodology brief and numbers in the data; I thought “men will probably do this, or be likely to think this,” followed by, “but women may do this, or be more apt to think like this…”  And, while I was not surprised by some of the findings, it was the nuances and segments of event attendees that I found fascinating.  Really, I couldn’t put it down! 

I was explaining this phenomenon of segmentation to a non-research friend, and I used this non-work example; it’s like this— let’s say everyone likes ice cream, but boys only like chocolate ice cream, and girls only like strawberry ice cream.  The way my brain works, I then ask myself, why do boys only like chocolate ice cream, and girls, strawberry?  Is it because brown, the color of chocolate ice cream, is a masculine color?  Is pink too girly, and therefore not worth liking as a boy?  Or is it something even more specific, like whipped cream is only offered with chocolate ice cream, and rainbow sprinkles with strawberry?  To me, it’s not enough to simply report to a client, boys like chocolate, and girls like strawberry ice cream.  I have to dig a little deeper and find out that boys not only like chocolate ice cream, BUT chocolate ice cream with fudge swirls, whipped cream, nuts, and caramel sauce as a topping.

A silly example, I know, besides— I like ALL ice cream, but I think it is a good way to look, and be reminded of the big picture, and the details that make a story (read: report) great.

What do you love about research?

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