Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship

Fall 2013 Seminar Series

Time: Friday 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 Noon
Location: 365B Melcher Hall (Enter through Suite 365 Lobby)
Open to Public: No reservation or registration required.

Note: Topics and Abstracts will be added to this page throughout the semester

Date Speaker Topic
Sep 20 P.K. Kannan
University of Maryland

    "Attribution Modeling: Understanding the Influence of Channels in the Online Purchase Funnel "
  • Click to read Abstract

    Online marketers invest significant resources in driving traffic to their websites through multiple marketing interventions and channels. In this paper, the authors propose a conceptual framework to examine the nature of carryover and spillover effects of prior visits through different channels to a firm’s website across a number of commonly used online channels, both at the visit and purchase stages. They develop a three-level measurement model of customers’ consideration of online channels/sources, their visits through these channels over time and subsequent purchase at the website, which accounts for carryover and spillover of visits. Based on customers’ path data of visits and purchases at a travel and hospitality firm’s website, the authors find significant carryover and spillover effects – for example, e-mails and display ads trigger visits through other channels, while e-mail leads to significant purchases through search channels. Attributing credit for the different channels for the purchase conversions using the model estimates, the authors find that the relative contributions of these channels are significantly different as compared to estimates of the widely-used “last-click” attribution model. A field study conducted at the firm’s website by turning off paid search for a week validates the ability of the model in estimating the incremental effect of a channel on conversions.

    This study highlights that the commonly used last-click attribution or the averaging attribution models are not good metrics for understanding the real impact of firm-initiated channels as well as customer-initiated channels on conversions. Some of these metrics consider only those visits that result in conversion immediately to the exclusion of the other visits and all of them consider only the visits that result in conversion while excluding the information that can be derived from non-conversions. While they may provide passable results in product categories with very short purchase funnel (with one or two touch points) and with fewer channels, they will invariably be misleading in product/service categories with longer purchase funnels as in high involvement categories – such as consumer durables and travel services – and for firms with multiple channels, both customer-initiated and firm-initiated. In the latter case, the effectiveness of firm-initiated efforts is generally underestimated using the last-click model. In addition, there are limits to the effectiveness of firm-initiated efforts such as e-mail and display retargeting campaigns. Repeated e-mail targeting may actually hurt conversions in certain cases and retailers should be well-advised to carefully calibrate the targeting of customers with these instruments.

P.K. Kannan
Sep 27 Sharad Borle
Rice

    "An Empirical Investigation of Unique Aspects of Retailing in India: The Perspective of Consumer Packaged Goods Manufacturers "
  • Click to read Abstract

    India is a large and fast growing emerging market. However, the retail sector in India has some unique aspects that have not yet been fully investigated by marketing scholars. These are: (1) a complex distribution channel characterized by a large number of fragmented traditional ‘mom-and-pop’ type stores and professionally managed chain stores (called ‘Modern Trade Outlets’ or MTOs), (2) government regulation mandating consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers to print on each product’s package its maximum retail price (MRP), which anchors its final retail price, (3) rapid urbanization and the resulting large movement of population across urban and rural areas, and (4) relatively uncommon manufacturer-led consumer promotions.

    In order to grow rapidly, many Indian CPG manufacturers focus on large cities, premium-priced products, and MTOs. In this paper, we empirically investigate the impact of distribution channel, MRP, and city size tier on the sales and profitability of a large Indian CPG manufacturer. We analyze whether this strategy of manufacturers is justified. Some of our results show that the Indian CPG manufacturers need to alter their strategy by (1) addressing the needs of traditional retailers, (2) introducing new lower priced products, and (3) focusing on cities of all sizes. The results and implications concerning a one-time manufacturer-led promotion are also discussed.

Sharad Borle
Oct 11 Catherine Tucker
MIT

    "Social Advertising"
  • Click to read Abstract

    In social advertising, ads are targeted based on underlying social networks and their content is tailored with information that pertains to the social relationship. This paper explores the effectiveness of social advertising using data from field tests of different ads on Facebook. We find evidence that social advertising is effective, and that this efficacy seems to stem mainly from the ability of targeting based on social networks to uncover similarly responsive consumers. However, social advertising is less effective if the advertiser explicitly states they are trying to promote social influence in the text of their ad. This suggests that advertisers must avoid being overt in their attempts to exploit social networks in their advertising.

Catherine Tucker
Oct 18 Andrew Stephen
Pittsburgh

    "Product Ideation in Social Networks"
  • Click to read Abstract

    Marketers increasingly use online product ideation communities whereby consumers suggest ideas for new products (and services) and for improvements to existing products. These communities allow consumers to see others’ ideas and potentially be influenced by them in a social networking environment. This paper examines how the structure of a consumer’s social network of “inspirations” (other consumers) affects their ability to generate innovative ideas. Having many connections (higher degree) affords one with many potential sources of inspiration, which could prove helpful. However, this depends on how interconnected one’s sources of inspiration are (clustering). Across six experiments involving real-time networked product ideation for three different products and where participants are randomly assigned to positions in exogenously determined networks, the authors show that having higher degree only helps one’s ability to generate innovative product ideas when their network neighbors are relatively independent (lower clustering). Higher clustering makes individuals more interdependent, which makes it more likely that their ideas socially converge to a narrowly defined set of concepts, which stifles innovativeness. Clustering also reduces innovativeness by making it easier for mediocre, lower-innovativeness ideas to spread.

Andrew Stephen
Oct 25 Uzma Khan
Stanford

    "Self-Control in Sequential Behaviors"
  • Click to read Abstract

    Abstract text goes here

Uzma Khan
Nov 8 Lucy Liu
Texas A&M

    "The Effects of Product Design on Demand and Marketing Effectiveness: An Empirical Study of the Automobile Industry"
  • Click to read Abstract

    This research empirically investigates the impact of product design on demand. We adopt a morphing technique to construct two objective measures of product design: segment prototypicality and brand consistency, defined respectively as the degree to which a product resembles the typical design in its product segment and in its brand portfolio. With a unique dataset that consists of 33 brands and 180 car models sold in the U.S. market from 2006 to 2010, we use a random coefficient demand model to test how segment prototypicality and brand consistency affect demand and the effectiveness of marketing activities. We find that demand is affected negatively by segment prototypicality and positively by brand consistency, and that these effects are stronger for luxury products than for economy products. Therefore, it is important for a product to adopt a segment-atypical and yet brand-consistent design, especially in the luxury segment. Furthermore, the two product design features also affect demand indirectly by moderating the effectiveness of marketing activities. These findings offer important insights that can guide firms’ decisions on product design, advertising and pricing. Three counterfactual studies illustrate the potential gains in firms’ profit by leveraging these findings.

Nov 15 Ken Wilbur
UC San Diego

    "How TV Ads Trigger Online Shopping"
  • Click to read Abstract

    Media multitasking distracts consumers' attention from television advertising, but it also facilitates immediate reactions such as web browsing and purchase. This paper explores how the content of television advertising influences subsequent online shopping. Using a massive dataset spanning $4 billion in advertising expenditures and a quasi-experimental design, a simultaneous equations model is estimated to identify how advertisement content influences brand website traffic and sales, controlling for a host of other factors. The findings show that action-focus ad content increases brands' online traffic but does not directly increase purchase probability. Product information and emotional branding content actually reduces traffic but increases sales among those who visit the brand‘s website. None of the ad content elements directly increase both traffic and sales, implying that brands seeking to attract multitaskers' attention must select their advertising copy carefully according to their objectives.

Ken Wilbur
Nov 22 Adam Alter
NYU

    "The Exception is the Rule: Underestimating and Overspending on Exceptional Expenses "
  • Click to read Abstract

    Abstract text goes here

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Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship
University of Houston
334 Melcher Hall
Houston, Texas 77204-6021
Phone: 713-743-4555
Fax: 713-743-4572