Bridget (Xueer) Yang is a COM alum who currently works at 360i as a senior analyst. With more than four years of experience exploring marketing research and analytics, Bridget enjoys uncovering insights from data. As a global citizen who has both worked and studied in China, Canada, Germany, and America, Bridget has found her own path into advertising.
Tina Wang: How did you initially become interested in marketing research? What drove you to become a market analyst?
Bridget Yang: I have always been interested in marketing, but I didn’t know which path I wanted to take. I was pretty good at math when I was an undergraduate and I thought using numbers to decide marketing strategy was something I was interested in. I don’t think I’m very creative, but I wanted to work in advertising. That’s why I picked the analytical side of marketing.
TW: How did COM prepare you to enter the workforce?
BY: AdLab gave me the opportunity to understand how agencies work and how to help clients solve marketing problems. I recommend that everyone take this class. Also, the professors at BU are really good. Some of the professors work as marketing professionals in the industry, so I learned a lot from them in terms of what does it look like to work in an advertising agency. They provided us with knowledge that went beyond the book.
TW: As a market analyst at 360i, what does your typical day at work look like? Can you tell me what your job entails?
BY: My responsibility is to maintain a few dashboards for clients, so they can see the marketing advertising data in real time. We organize advertising data in multiple channels, including Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Those are usually the display banners you see on your phone when you are browsing.
With our dashboard, we gather information and data from all these channels into one place and consolidate the data from different resources. We clean data to make sure it is standardized across the board, so that clients can see their marketing performance in real time. We also provide explanations for their marketing campaign performance trends and come up with suggestions for their future marketing plan.
TW: Why do you think big data is important in market research?
BY: That’s why I chose data marketing as my career path, because I think it is very powerful. Because you need data to support your behavior. There are tons of things behind users’ behaviors. Data will give you the opportunity to find out who your target audiences are and what do they look like.
TW: Why did you decide to stay in America after graduating instead of going back to China?
BY: Initially, I wanted to know whether I could find a job here, because I really wanted to stay. I really liked my first job and I want to stay in this industry. I have been here for three years [since graduating]. When I was at BU, I had a few internships. One thing I remembered clearly was that I did not speak out a lot at the beginning. I was only an analyst and I didn’t want to say anything wrong to embarrass myself, but my supervisor encouraged me to run the meeting as she thought everyone’s suggestions were valuable. I really like America’s working culture.
TW: How has your unique cultural perspective helped you in the advertising industry?
BY: At my previous agency (Hill Holiday), we conducted research on mobile payment: why isn’t mobile payment very popular in the United States? I gave them some perspectives on mobile payment’s culture in China. For example, in China, you can pay for basically everything with your phone, but you can’t do that in America. I did some research interviews when I was at home in China to just give them more perspective.
TW: I saw 360i had a collaboration with Chinese innovative social media application, Tik Tok, recently. What do you think about this campaign and the influences that Chinese technology brought to the global advertising industry?
BY: The Tik Tok campaign that American Eagle did was a huge success. I definitely think Tik Tok is a rising platform, especially for Gen Z. It was a back-to-school campaign, so it directly spoke to the target audience that American Eagle wanted to reach. I think there should be more brands working with Tik Tok.
TW: Did you face any challenges as a non-American working in the States?
BY: Yeah, definitely, because not a lot of companies provide sponsorship. When you go out for job interviews, almost half of the companies would say no, since you don’t have a working permit. This reduces the chance for international students to get a job in America.
The second thing is presentation skills. I feel like a lot of Americans are trained to be a good presenter. Even if they are not the most outgoing people in the world, almost everyone presents really well and they won’t freak out in front of the clients. Since English is not my first language, I always get a little bit nervous presenting in front of the clients.
TW: What is the most memorable campaign that you had involved?
BY: I worked for one of the biggest retail clothing companies and they provided clothes for disabled people. They were trying to sell clothes that could be put on really fast. Our marketing campaign was to promote this kind of clothing. This is when I think advertising can do good things, instead of just selling products. That’s why I love working in advertising as it is really can be rewarding.
TW: What advice would you give to prospective COM students who are looking to pursue similar opportunities; what have you gained from your experiences?
BY: I think networking is very important. It took me three months to find a full-time job and I almost gave up. People should definitely go out and network with alumni. Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid to reach out to alumni on LinkedIn. You might get a really high rejection rate. However, if you expand your poll, like 100, only 1/10 of them respond to you and you still have 10 people. That’s a lot! So, just network a lot and do internships. I feel like even for the full-time job, the employers don’t care much about your degree, but your experiences, so school projects are really important.
Tina Wang, Staff Writer
Tina is an advertising senior in COM who has a journalist dream. She has reported for BUTV10 for three years, specializing in Sino-American relation features and Q&As. As an international student from China, she enjoys telling the stories about humanity and art from a unique cultural perspective.