Curations from Our Academic Trustees

3 Journal Must-reads from Harvard’s Michael Norton

Michael Norton is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and a member of Harvard’s Behavioral Insights Group. Prior to joining HBS, he was a Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He is the co-author, with Elizabeth Dunn, of the book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending


Coke vs. Pepsi: Brand Compatibility, Relationship Power, and Life Satisfaction by Danielle J. Brick, Gràinne M. Fitzsimons, Tanya L Chartrand, and Gavan J Fitzsimons, Journal of Consumer Research (free until 10/19/18)

"There has been surprisingly little empirical research on decision-making in couples, and yet for people in relationships, most, if not in some sense all, of their consumption decisions are made with their partner in mind. This interesting paper explores how shared consumer preferences (e.g., both members  of the couple enjoying Coke and not Pepsi) predicts relationship satisfaction, and suggests that when surveying consumers about their preferences, asking one simple additional question – does your partner agree? – offers a critical source of information for predicting that consumer’s behavior."


Made by Mistake: When Mistakes Increase Product Preference by Taly Reich, Daniella M Kupor, and Rosanna K. Smith, Journal of Consumer Research  (free until 10/19/18)

“When products are defective, marketers typically either discard or heavily discount them. This research suggests that imperfections in products can actually be a positive rather than a negative attribute for consumers, when they are interested in obtaining unique products. It called to mind research showing that sports trading cards with typos often end up more valuable than the corrected version, precisely because the defective products are more unique. These results suggest a counterintuitive proposition for marketers: rather than treat mistakes as something to be hidden or devalued, find consumers who value uniqueness and their willingness to pay may actually be higher."


Retention Futility: Targeting High-Risk Customers Might Be Ineffective by Eva Ascarza, Journal of Marketing Research (free until 5/25/18)

“This research upends conventional wisdom on how to reduce customer churn. Whereas marketers typically target those customers determined to be most at risk of churning, these results show that this is wasted money. Instead, marketers should target those customers most likely to respond to marketing interventions – which are often not those most likely to churn – in order to maximize ROI on marketing spend, and reduce churn.”

Curations from Our Academic Trustees


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