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Thanh Tran ’17 The Art of Persuasion

 

Than and Pete

 

Thanh Tran ’17- It’s hard to believe that 5 weeks of my internship had already passed. The last 5 weeks was an excellent work experience. Speaking of email marketing, people may assume that there’re not much work involved in it. As I told my friend once about my internship title, he asked me: “So you just sit there and click the send button?” I wished it could be simple as that but “unfortunately”, in fact, it was not. I have to admit that I was a bit worried before my internship started since I just finished my first year and didn’t have many course works in business. However, with the step-by-step instructions from Curtis Peterson ’10 and other team members, I was able to learn and enhance my skills substantially in marketing.

Angie’ List is a consumer-reviews company whereby people sign up for membership to view the reviews of other customers and use the recommended services. In other word, it’s a reciprocal platform of which Angie’s list suggests the best service providers to consumers and in return, the consumers leave the reviews after they use the services. The Email Marketing team, of which I intern in, is a core function of that review-based system. Our job is to get the members to sign-up for membership as well as help them leave the reviews after they use a service or purchase a deal. Our team has four great members. They are Jared, Weston, Seth and my supervisor, Curtis Peterson. My internship wouldn’t become a great learning and working experience without the dedicated guidance from Jared and Curtis. As I mentioned above about the email marketing function, my internship tied to the review collection, including updating and analyzing data. On a daily basis, I handle most of the tasks with Excel and some specialized email marketing tools, which are ExactTarget, Formstack, FTP and AL-tool. On every Monday, I cleaned up the submission spreadsheet that I pulled out from Formtack to calculate the conversion rates of the test and control groups. Then, I conducted A/B split tests to determine which one is the winner of the weekly email campaign. I also sent out review emails to over one million member on every Monday, which was quite intimidating since a small error could mess up the whole process. On Friday, I executed quality assurance (QA) to ensure proper emails templates and resolution regardless of viewing screens before they were sent. In addition, the best part of my internship was the email project, thanks to the great initiative of Curtis Peterson. First of all, I created four types of Gmail accounts based the increasing level of engagement: they never engaged, rarely engaged, less engaged and engaged. With those accounts, I signed up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, HomeAdvisor and Yelp. I keep track of the emails from those websites to calculate the email frequency as well as the way they approach members with respect to different engagement degrees. And for that reason, my project is also called the email “spy” project. Indeed, I found out very interesting things about how each Websites above email their members. For instance, Facebook keeps the same subject lines for their emails, whereas LinkedIn tweaked their emails a lot.

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Speaking of my internship, it would be a serious mistake if I didn’t mention the workplace environment at Angie’s List. Angie’s List does care about its employees. Indeed, we don’t have to wear business casual to work. People can wear whatever they want as long as they’re appropriate. There is a small gym on campus where employees can have a short break to work out. Angie’s List employees can enroll in a fitness program of which they get awarded for a number of pounds they lose. During my internship, the human resource team organized an Interns Olympic Day where interns competed against each other in a variety of outdoor games. It was a fun day as all of us have the great opportunity to know each other. My friend Shelby Logan from Northwestern University won the Intern of the Year. Along with that, working with my team is an interesting thing too. People here are very friendly as they’re willing to help when you reach out to them. We also have a Friday lunch that people at the Marketing department can have lunch together. Just so you know, I had a Friday lunch with Angie Hick once. As my supervisor Curtis told me on his last day at Angie: “Money is important but not everything, what matters is who you’re working with.”

Now, I can say with confidence that my knowledge of email marketing was substantially improved. What you show on your email has a significant impact on the viewers. It can be a subject line, a picture or an appealing call-to-action. Email marketing is cost-effective, yet the most effective marketing campaign. With that being said, it’s a job that requires creativity, innovation and meticulous analysis.

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Finally, I would like to take my last part to thank Wabash College for offering such great opportunities like this to Wabash students. I also want to thank Lilly Endowment, Inc for providing me this opportunity. Without the funding from Lilly, this would not be possible. Last but not least, I want to say my biggest thanks to Curtis Peterson ’10 and Jared Campbell for guiding and teaching me with great dedication.

Tyler Munjas ’16 Beyond the Reviews

Angie’s List: Beyond the Reviews

1-TYLER MUNJAS

Tyler Munjas ’16 - Though I now am a true “List Lover,” I must admit that I was a tad skeptical at first about my decision to intern with the Indianapolis-based Angie’s List. Looking back five weeks ago to my first drive over, I had harnessed skepticism, nerves, and some doubt. My official title reads “Business Intelligence Intern” and I knew that I would be working with Data Analytics, but what could I possibly do for a company that runs solely off of consumer reviews? That question was the source of my skepticism. After meeting up with, and talking to my supervisor and fellow Fiji Brother, JP Patterson ’08, however, I began to see an Angie’s List that stretched far beyond just consumer reviews.

For example, one of my first projects was to work with “Band of Neighbors.” This new feature of Angie’s List divides members up into geographically defined neighborhoods, which is separate from, and at a far more local level than the traditional markets that members are placed when registering. Within their neighborhoods, members can post reviews, inquire about hyperlocal events, and communicate with those closest to them.

By developing an understanding of the underlying goals and missions of Angie’s List, I saw it not just as a business which provides its members with top rated service providers (the companies that are reviewed on Angie’s List), but also as a tool for these service providers to improve their daily operations through incentive programs. Service Providers cannot pay to be on Angie’s List, but once they meet certain criterion, which relies heavily on their consumer designated grade, they are able to pay to advertise on Angie’s List. The grade produced from their reviews also determines whether or not they show up at the top or bottom of the list when members search within their category. This is just one way that service providers are incentivized to perform and interact well with their customers.

Similar to the discounted offers of Groupon, Service Providers can also offer “Big Deals”. These deals offer discounted rates and prices on standard cleaning, remodeling, installing, etc., and can only be purchased through Angie’s List. However, only the top consumer rated and trusted service providers are allowed to offer Big Deals. Since these deals are to be purchased exclusively through our site, it allows us to monitor the service provider and their communication with our member. By controlling and monitoring all parts of the transaction, from the initial search to the payment of services, I’ve realized how dedicated Angie’s Lists is to improving the efficiency and quality of the businesses on the list. Not only does this represent Angie’s Lists flexibility and ability to successfully pivot their business strategies, but it also represents the dedication of its members, ensuring that they receive the best quality of service from any company they hire from the list.

As an intern for the Data Analytics team, I’ve become exposed to all of these unique facets. I learned how to write and understand code in MySQL, which is database software where all of Angie’s Lists’ data is stored in hundreds of different tables. When different departments need quantitative information on service providers or members, they contact the analysts who code the query, or request that pulls pieces of data from different tables to create a new table specific to that request. Having just taken Statistics and Econometrics where I worked with Stata, the data software used by the econ department, I am able to take some of what I had learned in the classroom and apply it to the different projects I am assigned. I would like to thank JP for giving me the opportunity to take on meaningful, actual work. Rather than sending me his coffee order, he sends me requests and projects that he is working on, and compares our results, guiding and teaching me through the best possible way; experience. Also, he contacted the Accounting and Finance department expressing my interest in their work, allowing me the opportunity to shadow them for this week. In true Wabash fashion, this internship has been nothing short of an exciting, valuable, and well-rounded experience.

Finally, I would like to take the last part of my blog to thank Wabash College for continually offering such opportunities. This is my 3rd internship through Wabash and the experiences I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in are an integral part of my professional development. Last but definitely not least, a huge THANK YOU is necessary for Lilly Endowment, Inc. for providing not just me, but also Angie’s List with this opportunity. Without the funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. this literally would not be possible.