Deciphering Consumer Desires with Data

For Lindie Wang, ’19, understanding marketing and making the best decisions comes down to leveraging and understanding the limitations of data. During her time at Booth, uncovering the power of analytics—and understanding the limitations of numbers—has been a critical lesson for her career as a brand manager. “Data was a big part of my exceptional marketing education at Booth,” she said.

Here, Lindie reveals how her marketing education experience at Booth is transforming her post-MBA career and discusses her outlook on the future of marketing.

Your team won the 2017 Marketing Case Competition. What did you learn from the experience?

MillerCoors collaborated with the Kilts Center, and we were given a vast amount of consumer data in order to create a new marketing and growth strategy to bring a target market into the beer category. We won because we focused on implementable solutions that started from what the consumer wants, and we leveraged our individual strengths in open discussions to form a strong team and tackle the problem from multiple perspectives.

My team, The Case Crushers, was super passionate and excited about getting to solve a problem. Looking back, working on that kind of problem was thrilling. I remember thinking, “I want to feel this way as often as possible at work.”

When it comes to the marketing community at Booth, what’s been your favorite experience?

The marketing community has played a huge role in my time at Booth. Being able to support the Marketing Group as a co-chair allowed me to shape what the group looks like, while allowing me to have professional opportunities too.

One big thing we did this year was educate people about how relevant marketing is in all different industries—especially tech. With my background as a consultant for IBM, I focused on recruiting and finding additional sponsors in the tech field. Booth is changing in terms of what the student body is looking for, and there is a bigger push today for the inclusion of marketing in tech-related roles. I think we did a good job of moving the needle.

The Chicago Approach™ to marketing is a multidisciplinary approach—one in which students learn to leverage the core disciplines of economics, psychology, and statistics when making business decisions. How has this helped you recognize the needs of consumers?

Booth is very well balanced. It combines theory with reality and economics with consumer psychology. And through it all, we engage in open, collaborative discourse and leverage individual strengths to build strong teams. I think this makes for well-rounded marketers, ones who seek to solve problems with the people around them and who empathize with consumers unlike ourselves in order to make consumers’ lives better.

What are some favorite Booth courses that you feel will best inform your decision-making at P&G?

Booth is both heavily quantitative and qualitative, and nearly every course touches marketing in some way. Two of my favorite courses so far have been the New Products & Services Lab with professor Art Middlebrooks, where my team directly interfaced with the innovations lead of a food company to develop new product recommendations through design thinking principles, and New Venture Strategy with professor Jim Schrager, where I learned frameworks to evaluate startups and principles for living life.

These qualitative courses will serve me well in my future career, starting at P&G, because I will be able to evaluate how consumers will react to business models, identify ways in which human psychology impacts consumer decision-making to bridge the gap between numbers and reality to tell a story, and understand how to develop methods to get at true consumer motivations and needs.

More broadly, how has being a Kilts Fellow shaped your Booth experience?

Being a Kilts Fellow has given me unparalleled access to alumni and mentors. It has challenged me to be confident in what I want to pursue and helped me rest assured that there are people who are staunchly in my corner. This has been instrumental in affirming that the path I’m going down is the right one for me.

Regular chats with my mentor, Henry Rak, ’70, who is the CEO at Henry Rak Consulting Partners, were beyond helpful. We talked a lot about how there are ideas that seem really simple, but can transform the lives of consumers. A lot of times, consumers are open to the exact solution for the problem they face, and it’s our job as marketers to interpret what consumers tell us and innovate for them.

Among all the skills you learned at Booth, which will be critical as you grow in your career?

Understanding and leveraging data. Data is really big at Booth, and data will play an increasingly powerful role in the future of marketing. Booth’s quantitative approach allows me to not only comfortably handle data, but also recognize its limitations and fill in the blanks for what can’t be derived solely from numbers.

Hear more from Lindie about why victory never tasted so good (MillerCoors Case Competition) »

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