Academic Trustees Reading List

Katherine Lemon’s Journal Must-Reads from 2014

Kay Lemon is Accenture Professor and chair of the Marketing Department at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. She has been named MSI Executive Director for 2015-17 and will begin her appointment in July 2015. Her expertise is in the areas of customer experience, customer equity, and customer-based marketing strategy.

 Her recommendations for our 2014 reading list:

“Analyzing Customer Experience Feedback Using Text Mining: A Linguistics-Based Approach” by Francisco Vaillarrel Ordones, Babis Theodoulidis, Jamie Burton, Thorsten Gruber, and Mohamad Zaki, Journal of Service Research, August 2014

Lemon: This article identifies an improved approach to analyzing customer feedback through text mining. This approach is customer experience focused, automating analysis of sentiment in customer feedback and evaluating specific components of the offering and value that customers specify as affecting and shaping their overall experiences.

Why is this important? Firms can use this approach to identify specific opportunities to improve or modify the product or service offering, or to develop new offerings. In addition, by analyzing customer feedback at different periods, firms can analyze the effects (on customer perceptions and experience) of changes in specific consumer touch points, and identify which customers are most influenced by these changes. Automated text mining also enables firms to analyze feedback quickly and, even more importantly, to respond to their customers quickly.

“Managing Customer Profits: The Power of Habits” by Denish Shah, V. Kumar and Kihyun Hanna Kim, Journal of Marketing Research, December 2014

Lemon: In this article, the authors evaluate the economic value of different habits (i.e., repeat purchase, product return, low margin purchase, purchasing during promotion). They find that these habits not only help explain variation in customer profit over time but also have a significant and differential impact on the firm’s bottom line. They show that two such habits, repeat purchase and promotion purchase habits, positively affect the firm’s bottom line (over $50 million and almost $4 million respectively), whereas negative habits significantly lower the bottom line: product return habits – almost $60 million, and low-margin purchase habits – more than $61 million, over a four-year period. Moreover, they show that the firm’s marketing strategies can help form these habits and identify specific strategies firms can leverage to make the power of habit work for them.

 Free access to journal article until February 27, 2015

“Tablets, Touchscreens and Touchpads: How Varying Touch Interfaces Trigger Psychological Ownership and Endowment” by Stevan Adam Brasel and James Gips, Journal of Consumer Psychology, April 2014

Lemon: Does it matter whether a person searches for a product online on their tablet, smartphone, laptop or desktop? This study examines whether the “endowment effect” – the idea of overvaluing things one owns compared to things one doesn’t own – translates into the digital era. Prior research has shown that simply touching (or even just imagining touching) an object can produce a feeling of ownership. Brasel and Gips show that this effect holds for touchscreen devices as well.

After choosing a product (either via a traditional mouse/screen or on a touchpad device), those using the touchscreen wanted almost 50% more money to part with their chosen product than those using the mouse or the touchpad laptop. The sense of ownership is even stronger if the item has a touch component to it (say clothing) compared to an intangible experience (such as a city tour). What does this mean for a firm? If you offer touchable products online, the move to iPads, tablets and smartphones is great news for you – and it would be useful to optimize the touchscreen version of your websites, to create as much “touchability” of products as possible.


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