Contributed by Tona Arth-Rowett

I just started teaching Marketing Research at a local state University.  I’ll be really honest with you:  it’s hard to convince students that Marketing Research is fun, or even somewhat fun.  Heck, sometimes it’s even hard to convince myself.

But then, the textbook slapped me upside the head to help me think differently. Literally.  I discovered that David A. Aaker, the father of branding, is the co-author of our textbook, Marketing Research. “Wait a second.  David Aaker? The David A. Aaker?  My personal marketing hero?”

You see, branding is the aspect of marketing I get the most jazzed about. I’m a bit of a branding geek, and it just so happens that David A. Aaker is my most revered authority on all things branding. So how can it be that the guy who coined the terms “Branded House” and “House of Brands” co-authors a textbook on marketing research? Well, it must be cool! I just have to figure out how.

And, so, I’ve had an attitude adjustment, and now look to discover the art in Marketing Research, rather than just the science.  My hypothesis (see, a cool marketing research term) is that the art is not found in activities like survey design or determining sample size. Rather in accurately determining the problem that needs to be researched, and then looking for trends and anomalies in the information that can have a significant impact on marketing decisions.  Maybe we should change the course title to Trend Spotting.  I’d bet college students would think that’s cool.

Tona (Arth) Rowett graduated from EHS in the class of 1988. She currently resides in Springfield, MO, and is an adjunct professor at Missouri State University in the Department of Marketing. She’s got her hands full–in addition to teaching, she’s starting a new advertising agency, Smart Group, targeted at food companies with an environmental or social mission, plus she’s a full-time stepmom to two!