Marketing Students Conduct Focus Group

Integrated Marketing Research, taught by Professor Donald Vincent, has helped students over the semester come up with different research methods and marketing techniques that will be useful in the business world.

Vincent created a research experiment that the class would conduct as a whole. Vincent talked about how egg creams used to be popular in soda shops but have become less common today. “Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup used to be the most popular chocolate syrup of choice in New York City soda shops.”  This experiment was based on a brand of egg cream most people haven’t heard of before and consisted of different students and faculty at the college trying Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup in order to determine how it could compete with other chocolate syrup brands.

The experiment began with Vincent having a random sample of student and faculty report to the class in order to partake in the experiment. Led by Hilbert College student Ryan Zunner, all of the participants were given background information on the egg cream while they were able to try samples of the cream. Multiple questions were asked after the participants tried the samples. These questions included what they thought of the taste, if they usually buy chocolate syrup, and what usually goes into the decision process when buying chocolate syrup.

Many of the reactions from the students and faculty concluded with the drink tasting familiar to something they have had before. Other reactions stated that the drink was bubbly and tasted like sprite mixed with chocolate milk. Hannah Salazar, a Human Services major at the college had some comments about her experience with the new drink.

“It was really cool hearing about the different ingredients that were used in making the chocolate syrup and also learning about some history behind egg cream itself,” Salazar said.

Most of the students and faculty in the room said they would prefer normal chocolate syrup mix over the egg cream in the long run. The only aspect that would change what they bought as their choice of chocolate syrup in the store would be if the egg cream was healthier or if it was cheaper. Salazar also had mentioned after the experiment was over how she didn’t feel well from the drink.

“I actually have a headache now after having the drink. I think that it has to do with the mixing of carbonation and the chocolate syrup that didn’t sit well with me.”

After conducting the experiment the class gained a lot of insight on how the creation of a focus group like this one can help gather data on marketing sales. Based off the results of this experiment many people would rather have normal chocolate syrup over Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup that contained a mixture of egg cream and soda. The fact that students and faculty didn’t like our drink as much as normal chocolate milk gives us better insight on how it would do in a real market place setting where these type of products are sold every day. Some final insights from Vincent included how the experiment was successful and helped students learn about how focus groups are run in the business world.

“It was a great experience overall for the student’s to learn what a real life focus group study looks like.”

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