Heady work: Media analytics students provide data-driven recommendations to Palmoro Hat Company USA

Assistant Professor William Moner’s Communicating Media Insights class presented digital marketing and e-commerce analysis and strategies to Elon alumnus Ian Baltutis ’08 and Kristina Baltutis, owners of Palmoro USA.

On an unseasonably chilly Nov. 14 afternoon, the conversation in the Schar Hall conference room overlooking Elon’s Historic Neighborhood featured an extraordinary topic: handmade moreno palm hats. The palm straw hats are handcrafted in the high country of Mexico’s San Luis Potosí region and distributed domestically by Palmoro Hat Company USA.

With Elon alumnus Ian Baltutis ’08 (back, left) looking on, Kaitlin Brozek ’20 (center, with hat) chats with classmates while trying on a variety of palm straw hats.

While the hand-woven headpieces are a stylish accessory – and offer great sun protection – students in Assistant Professor William Moner’s Communicating Media Insights students weren’t tasked with discussing fashion. Rather, the students presented a situation analysis, SWOT analysis, and data analysis of Palmoro USA’s social media and e-commerce presence. Their findings were presented to Elon alumnus Ian Baltutis ’08 and Kristina Baltutis, co-owners of Palmoro USA. The small business based in Burlington works collaboratively with the Palmoro Hat Company of Mexico to help bring the headwear to customers around the world. (San Luis Potosí is Burlington’s “Sister City.”)

Throughout the semester, the students learned techniques for researching, writing and presenting data in preparation for this group project. In recent weeks, the class turned its attention to Palmoro USA, building on an existing relationship between the school and small business.

Students in the Communicating Media Insights class gather with Elon alumnus Ian Baltutis ’08 and Kristina Baltutis, owners of Palmoro USA, for a post-presentation photograph.

“I have had two analytics classes work with Ian and Kristina over the past two years with this class. The two have generously given students full access to sales and marketing data while also making themselves available for client meetings. We are so appreciative of their willingness to work with us and to help our students build their writing skills,” Moner said. “This is the type of project that gives students a sense of satisfaction because it allows students to see the direct result of their research. This is especially true here because Palmoro is a small local business that takes immediate action on the recommendations.”

Following the classroom presentation, Kaitlin Brozek ’20, a media analytics and communication design double major, had high praise for both the project and her client.

“Easily one of the most rewarding media analytics projects I’ve completed during my time at Elon,” she wrote on LinkedIn.