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Meet the Analysts: Sarah Marks

Sarah is all about connections—people, data, ideas, you name it! She brings this energy to explore data to her role as an analyst, where she makes intuitive connections between client goals, research questions, and her datasets. She’s also one of the fastest learners I know because of her natural ability to make these connections. Clients who work with Sarah get the benefit of not only her teaching assistantship experience in marketing management, but also her academic research experience in cognitive science. When Sarah gets to the analysis and insights stage of her research projects, she’s unstoppable—it’s at this point that she zooms out and takes a look at macro trends, applying her marketing and cognitive science background to assess what’s really going on. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Sarah about all things cognitive science (or related to Trader Joe’s)!

 

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Since you’ve started working at Campus Sonar what have been your biggest discoveries or things you’ve learned as an analyst?

One thing I’ve learned that I apply most consistently is to always dig deeper and push further to find the ultimate why. It’s applicable at any stage of my work and reflects one of our team’s values of staying curious and always being encouraged to do so.

This is true when we conceptualize a project and when we determine how to conduct the research. Next, with query writing when determining the terms to include and exclude—to simultaneously include everything relevant while excluding everything irrelevant. When creating dashboards, it’s determining how to best visualize the data and show trends occurring quantitatively and qualitatively while finding the key individual mentions and seeing the aggregate patterns the data presents. With our report deliverables and presentations it’s about finding the narrative that best shares the story within the data and connecting all of the visualizations from the dashboard together. Finally it’s present within Campus Sonar as a whole. If I have a new idea about something to add to one of our products or a different way we can do something, I’m always encouraged to pursue it and push it further, while weighing the added value it provides. This pursuance to go deeper and stay curious is one of my favorite parts of being a Sonarian.

What’s one thing about social listening that you think everyone should know?

Social listening is an exciting, relatively new field to work in, and I love that I get to do something new everyday. One of the biggest aspects of my job involves working with social listening software, and while software does many great things, it’s only as good as the humans behind it. I spoke about the value of the human analyst (paired with software) at the Social Data Summit a few weeks ago and truly think the human analyst/social listening software relationship is ever evolving. 

What’s something unique that gets you excited (either in social listening or real life)?

I always get excited when I’m able to draw connections and find patterns between data points that weren’t apparent at first glance. Also, when I find a specific mention and a broader pattern that directly relates to a specific ask from a client, it’s so exciting! Outside of work, I got into baking during quarantine and I now get excited testing new recipes and trying to perfect them. Thanks to an immense head start from my father’s recipes, I’ve nearly perfected my banana bread and chocolate chip cookie game and look forward to expanding my repertoire. I also have a love for running and the outdoors and started hiking some of the state parks in Wisconsin. Finally, to wrap up staying on brand, I’m a true Trader Joe’s aficionado and can always offer up a recommendation or a new product I’m looking to try out. 

Learn more about Sarah's love for the University of Michigan in her blog posts. Also, catch up on what analyst Amanda Jeppson nerds out about and Reed Scherer's unique ability to be equally right and left brain.

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Subscribe to NewsletterThis post originally appeared on Campus Sonar's Brain Waves blog.

Amber Sandall

Amber Sandall is Campus Sonar's Research Manager. She brings expertise in marketing, communications, and data analysis and reporting to her role of managing Campus Sonar’s social listening research program and team of Social Media Data Analysts. Amber and her team perform social listening research customized to each institution and collaborate with the Client Success team to unearth actionable insights that inform our campus partner’s institutional goals. When she's not thinking about research projects or learning about business administration in her MBA program, Amber enjoys a good taco and a new book.

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