2015 MSI H. Paul Root Award Announced
June 8, 2016
Ya You, Gautham G. Vadakkepatt, and Amit Joshi are the recipients of the 2015 MSI H. Paul Root Award for their article, “A Meta-Analysis of Electronic Word-of-Mouth Elasticity,” which appeared in the March 2015 issue of Journal of Marketing.
This award is named in honor of H. Paul Root, who was President of MSI from 1990-98. It is given by members of the Journal of Marketing editorial review board to a paper that has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the practice of marketing, and is cosponsored by the American Marketing Association and the Marketing Science Institute.
In their award-winning article, You, Vadakkepatt, and Joshi examine how electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), such as blogs, forums, social networking sites and online product reviews, influences product sales.
To understand the effectiveness of eWOM in different platform, product, and industry contexts, the researchers conduct a meta-analysis of 51 studies involving 339 volume and 271 valence elasticities. They find that the average eWOM volume (valence) elasticity across the 339 (271) observations is .236 (.417) and they identify the contextual, strategic, and empirical factors that affect these relationships.
For example, while eWOM has a positive impact on product sales for both durable and non-durable goods, durable goods get a much bigger lift from positive online word-of-mouth.
In another example, industry competition is associated with lower elasticities; thus, managers in volatile environments should be wary of relying on eWOM alone for generating sales and rely more on traditional means of advertising and promotion.
Overall, the authors note, eWOM offers managers a powerful tool to influence consumer preferences; their findings shed light on whether, how, and under what conditions eWOM offers the biggest lift to product sales.