Academic Trustees Reading List

What Should Marketers Read? Our Academic Trustees’ Choices from 2015

MSI Academic Trustees are uniquely qualified to point to academic work that is relevant to marketing practitioners: in distinguished academic careers, all have focused on issues and problems grounded in marketing practice.

At the end of 2015, we asked our Academic Trustees to review the past year’s journal articles and recommend a few must-reads for marketers. Here are their choices:

“Giving Against the Odds: When Tempting Alternatives Increase Willingness to Donate” by Jennifer Savary, Kelly Goldsmith, and Ravi Dhar, Journal of Marketing Research, February 2015

Comments from Alexander Chernev, Northwestern University

Managers often compare their brands to those of the competition in order to highlight the advantages of their own brand and the disadvantages of the competition's. Conventional wisdom suggests that featuring attractive alternatives is counterproductive to promoting one's own offerings. In contrast, this research documents that this is not the case in charitable giving and that adding attractive hedonic alternatives can significantly increase donation rates.

"On the Go: How Mobile Shopping Affects Customer Purchase Behavior,” by Rebecca Jen-Hui Wang, Edward C. Malthouse, and Lakshman Krishnamurthi, Journal of Retailing, June 2015

Comments from Alexander Chernev

This study examines changes in spending behavior among customers who adopt mobile devices to identify the desired option and make a purchase. The study shows that order rate―number of orders placed per year―increases as customers adopt M-shopping. This research further shows that this effect is stronger for low-spending consumers, for whom both the purchase frequency and order size increase when they switch to mobile shopping. The authors further report that mobile shoppers tend to use mobile devices to shop for habitual products that they already have a history of purchasing.

“Predicting Customer Value Using Clumpiness: From RFM to RFMC” by Yao Zhang, Eric Bradlow, and Dylan Small, Marketing Science, March-April 2015

Comments from Peter Fader, University of Pennsylvania

A nice paper (followed by some interesting commentaries) about “clumpiness,” i.e., the notion that customers buy products (or consume content, or interact with others) in a bingey/clumpy manner (as opposed to doing these things smoothly over time). It’s a thought-provoking concept with strong real-world motivations and implications.

Comments from Carl Mela, Duke University

CRM is a widely applied tool to assess customer value, and the most common metrics to assess value include recency of purchase, frequency of purchase, and monetary value of purchase. This paper makes the case these metrics are incomplete, and the clumpiness (or regularity) of purchase also plays a role in determining customer value.

“’I’ Follow My Heart and ‘We’ Rely on Reasons: The Impact of Self-Construal on Reliance on Feelings versus Reasons in Decision Making” by Jiewen Hong and Hannah H. Chang, Journal of Consumer Research, April 2015

Comments from Sharon Shavitt, University of Illinois

When are emotions versus reason more likely to drive consumer decisions? One factor is which type of self-construal is accessible. This article finds that an independent self-construal compared to an interdependent self-construal increases the relative preference for affectively superior product options (as opposed to cognitively superior options) and strengthens the effects of incidental mood on evaluations.

“Effects of Internet Display Advertising in the Purchase Funnel: Model-Based Insights from a Randomized Field Experiment” by Paul Hoban and Randolph Bucklin, Journal of Marketing Research, June 2015

Comments from Carl Mela

With display advertising, it is becoming increasingly possible to move from marketing mix models to field experiments to assess advertising response. Moreover, experiments can provide deeper insights than mix models into how display advertising affects the entire purchase funnel. By measuring display effects across the purchase funnel, this paper proposes a corollary approach to reallocate display advertising to enhance its efficiency in attracting customers.

“The Predictive Ability of Different Customer Feedback Metrics for Retention” by Evert de Haan, Peter Verhoef, and Thorsten Wiesel, International Journal of Research in Marketing, June 2015

Comments from Peter Fader

A very nice/comprehensive “bake-off” of satisfaction measures (including the almighty NPS).

“It's Not Just Numbers: Cultural Identities Influence How Nutrition Information Influences the Valuation of Foods” by Pierrick Gomez and Carlos Torelli, Journal of Consumer Psychology, July 2015

Comments from Sharon Shavitt

How does providing nutrition information influence one's enjoyment of food? The answer depends in part on national culture. The researchers show that nutrition information can be incongruent with the cultural norm of food enjoyment which is associated with French (and not American) identity. Thus, French compared to American consumers seem to perceive nutrition and taste are incompatible and evaluate healthy food with nutrition information negatively. This effect is driven by the belief that foods with nutrition information will be less enjoyable than those without nutrition information.

"The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease - An Empirical Analysis of Customer Voice and Firm Intervention on Twitter," Liye Ma, Baohong Sun, and Sunder Kekre, Marketing Science, September 2015

Comments from Wendy Moe, University of Maryland

[This] is one of the few articles, if not the only article, that differentiates between the various consumer uses of social media. Most current social media research focuses on either the brand's use of social media as a communication channel or the consumer's use of social media to transmit word of mouth to other consumers. This research examines how consumers use social media to communicate and interact with the brand in a customer complaints context and considers the impact of the brand's response.

“Harbingers of Failure” by Eric Anderson, Song Lin, Duncan Simester, and Catherine Tucker, Journal of Marketing Research, October 2015

Comments from Peter Fader

The abstract says it all: “The authors identify customers, termed ‘harbingers of failure,’ who systematically purchase new products that flop. Their early adoption of a new product is a strong signal that a product will fail—the more they buy, the less likely the product will succeed. Firms can identify these customers through past purchases of either new products that failed or existing products that few other customers purchase. The authors discuss how these insights can be readily incorporated into the new product development process. The findings challenge the conventional wisdom that positive customer feedback is always a signal of future success.” What a clever and practical idea!

Comments from Carl Mela

Some customers have preferences that differ from the norm, and the early adoption of these customers is therefore informative about the likelihood goods can fail. This paper provides a nice example of how to exploit these customers to better forecast the demand of new goods.

“Quantifying Under- and Overreporting in Surveys Through a Dual-Questioning-Technique Design” by Martijn G. De Jong, Jean-Paul Fox, and Jan-Benedict E.M. Steenkamp, Journal of Marketing Research, December 2015

Comments from Carl Mela

Given the extensive use of surveys in marketing research and the endemic problem of over and under reporting, this paper addresses an important concern. In the process, it quantifies the bias in surveys plagued by these problems and proposes an approach to address them.

2014 Academic Trustees' Reading List


  • 03/07/2016 by Ankur Srivastava

    so helpful, thanks for posting

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