UNA Pressroom

Students Assist Local Business In Marketing Research Class

May. 11, 2012

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

While the fate of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame is currently being decided, marketing students from the University of North Alabama have provided important information to assist in the planning process. Through a senior-level marketing research class, students worked in cooperation with Alabama Music Hall of Fame's director, Wiley Barnard, to develop a survey that would measure Alabamian's perceptions of the museum and determine the future of the attraction, as well as the level of financial support respondents would be willing to provide. This past week, the student group presented their findings to Barnard. According to their report, almost 1,000 people were surveyed and these respondents had an overall positive impression of the museum. Respondents also indicated that they would be more likely to donate to the museum if it became a 501c(3) nonprofit entity. "One of the more important findings of the study indicated that age, gender, and income were not determining factors in these perceptions," said Dr. Andrew Luna, instructor for the course. "In other words, no matter how much money they made, how old they were, or what their gender was, most Alabamians were positive about the museum." In addition to this information, the results showed that the respondents spent an average of $125 on food and other expenses when they visited the museum. However, respondents mainly viewed the current location of the museum unfavorably. "These results clearly support many of the things we already thought about the museum," Barnard said. "I was also impressed when the students gave information about how other states like Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia have also faced similar problems with their museums. This was definitely a well-researched report." According to Luna, students are introduced to the concepts of marketing research and data analysis in the class. A major component of the class is working on an actual research project with a local business. "I have found that while it is important to understand the theories behind market research, it is quite different and significantly more helpful to the students to engage them in an actual research project with a real business," Luna said. Luna said that the research service is offered to local businesses at no charge. "First, this is still a learning environment for the students, so mistakes will be made in the process," he said. "We don't want to charge businesses while students are learning. Second, whether a business decides to directly support UNA through their contributions, or if they indirectly support us through the tax revenue they generate, I believe this is a very small way that we can express our appreciation to them for this support." Another retail business involved in the partnership with Luna's class this semester was Crocodile Ed's. "I am amazed at the quality of work these students did," said Sandy Noland, marketing manager for the restaurant. "Not long ago, we hired a market research company to do a study for us. What we got was a three-page report that we couldn't use. These students have written a book. They have given me a lot of useful information." For more information, contact Dr. Andrew Luna at 256-765-4221 or email alluna@una.edu.