Meet the 2017 Spiegel Fellows


Co-written by the 2017 Spiegel Impact Marketing Team

The Spiegel Research Center is proud to introduce the 2017 Fellows program, featuring a talented cohort of 10 graduate students from Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s program. The students are divided into two teams. One team analyzes client engagement with marketing activities and content as part of a project for Deloitte. The other team looks at how mobile app and beacon technology is engaging customers about, and within, all stores in a mall.

The ultimate goal is to understand customer engagement that drives business performance. Executive Director Tom Collinger says, “More specifically, we focus on researching the most contemporary forms.”

“Really understanding the types of content a B to B environment is fairly new for us,” says Research Director Ed Malthouse, “but it builds on earlier research that was done by Medill’s Media Management Center. [Content] should be central to the strategy for the school going forward.” According to Vijay Viswanathan, Associate Professor, these projects highlight the intersections among the challenges retailers face, data analysis, and a deeper understanding of the progression of consumer and brand relationships through enhanced digital experiences.

To learn more about the current landscape of malls and the retail industry, Malthouse told us that the teams will be building a statistical model that predicts sales at the store level. They’ll be answering questions such as: What kind of content generates the most engagement? Who engages the most?

The students are working with state-of-the-art technology. Viswanathan tells us that these stores and brands can advertise their new products through the mall’s mobile app. Consumers can ‘like’ advertisements and stores, which shares their attitudes and preferences for various outlets in the mall. Consumers can also rate their shopping experiences.

For each project, each student has the opportunity to develop and improve each other’s ideas, leading to better methods, analysis, or conclusions. In spite of working on different projects, they may run into similar obstacles. The process is largely hands off, with professors commenting on what may or may not work, offering suggestions to tweak methodologies as the project progresses so that students may learn from each other.

Spiegel Fellow Katie More (IMC Class of ‘17) says that she has already developed a better understanding of designing and executing original research projects and looks forward to carrying these skills throughout her career. Nick Sotolongo finds it exciting and challenging to work with data relating to the very complex customer journey of B2B professional services. He also looks forward to pulling all that he has learned and the skills he gained towards a project with industry leaders like Deloitte.

The current team has a range of backgrounds from data analytics to media strategy to advertising. They have undergraduate degrees from institutions like Northwestern University, Nanyang Technological University, University of North Carolina, and Peking University. But they all share an interest in connecting consumer data and insights to business results.

To learn more about the individual fellows, click here.