Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship

Spring 2011

Time: Friday 10:30-12:00 PM
Location: 126 Melcher Hall
Open to Public: No reservation or registration required.

Date Speaker Topic
January 21 Zsolt Katona
UC Berkeley

    "The Role of Search Engine Optimization in Search Marketing"
  • Click here to read Abstract

    Web sites invest signi?cant resources in trying to in?uence their visibility among online search results. In addition to paying for sponsored links, they invest in methods known as search engine optimization (SEO). We study the economic incentives of Web sites to invest in SEO and its implications on search engine and advertiser payo?s. We focus on SEO methods that improve the ranking of a site among the search results without improving its quality. We ?nd that the process is equivalent to an all-pay auction with noise and headstarts. Our results show that, under certain conditions, a positive level of search engine optimization improves the search engine's ranking quality and thus the satisfaction of its visitors. In particular, if the quality of sites coincides with their valuation for visitors then search engine optimization serves as a mechanism that improves the ranking by correcting measurement errors. While this bene?ts consumers and increases tra?c to the search engine, sites participating in search engine optimization could be worse o? due to wasteful spending unless their valuation for tra?c is very high. We also investigate how search engine optimization a?ects the revenues from sponsored links. Surprisingly, we ?nd that in many cases search engine revenues are increased by SEO.

January 28 Ying Zhang
UT Austin

    "How Endowed versus Earned Progress Affects Consumer Goal Commitment and Motivation"
  • Click here to read Abstract

    Because consumers ask different questions to establish commitment at beginning versus advanced stages of goal pursuit, we propose that progress that they attribute to themselves and to the situation will have a distinctive impact on motivation, depending on their relative position in goal pursuit. When progress on achieving a goal is low, people are concerned about its attainability. Because attributing low progress to self (vs. to the situation) signals a higher difficulty of goal attainment, it leads to lower goal commitment and, subsequently, decreased motivation. Conversely, when progress on achieving the goal is high and attainment of the goal is relatively secured, people are more concerned about the value of the goal. Because attributing a high progress to self (vs. to the situation) signals a greater value of the goal, it should lead to greater goal commitment and, subsequently, higher motivation.

February 11 Mark Bergen

    "Managing to do Pricing: The Role of Partial Models""
  • Click here to read Abstract

    We use qualitative data from a two year ethnographic study to analyze the key elements of the price adjustment processes used at a large industrial manufacturer and several of its major customers. We focus on a specific episode, a price cut, which most vividly exemplifies the themes that emerge from our data. In the specific episode, market considerations clearly dictate that the firm should cut prices, and everyone in the firm agrees with this assessment, suggesting a fairly straightforward organizational decision. Yet when we look deeper, and dissect how the firm implemented the price cut, we uncover a rich tapestry of frictions hidden within the organization. We document four specific themes that emerge from the analyses of the data. (1) Each manager (or each group) within the firm handles only a part of the economic complexities of a given pricing problem, using partial (albeit coherent) models of the marketplace. (2) Yet, when viewing the organization as a whole, across the different managers and groups, many of the economic complexities of the marketplace are covered. (3) The partial models used by managers may collide, creating market based conflicts between managers and groups within organizations. (4) These collisions between partial models of market considerations interact with organizational considerations to intensify the conflicts between managers. We discuss how these findings relate to the pricing literature in marketing and economics, and how they offer an opportunity to bring these literatures together with the organizational behavior literature. We also discuss how managers can use these findings to help their organizations price more effectively.

March 4 Scott Neslin

    "A Model and Empirical Analysis of Patient Compliance and Persistence in Pharmaceuticals"
  • Click here to read Abstract

    We develop and estimate a stochastic model of patient compliance and persistence regarding pharmaceutical drugs. Persistence refers to whether a patient continues with therapy, i.e., whether the patient continues to obtain refills of the drug. Compliance refers to whether the customer obtains a refill on time, given he or she does in fact obtain a refill. We develop a simple stochastic model of these behaviors, drawing on models of customer value developed by Schmittlein, Morrison, and Colombo (1987) and Fader, Hardie, and Lee (2005). We estimate the model using patient-level data for 253 drugs and illustrate two applications: (1) We show how changes in drug characteristics would influence the number of days of therapy lost either through lack of persistence or lack of compliance, and (2) Show how the model could be used to identify patients who are at higher than average risk for losing therapy days due either to noncompliance or nonpersistence. We discuss implications of the work for researchers and practitioners.

March 11 Neeraj Arora

    "Non-Compensatory Dyadic Choices"
  • Click here to read Abstract

    While literature in marketing shows that individuals often use non-compensatory decision rules, existing research on dyadic or group choice is exclusively based on compensatory models. In this paper the authors present a dyadic choice model that helps investigate both compensatory and non-compensatory aspects of the joint decision process. Based on this modeling framework the authors present a set of dyadic decision processes (DDPs) to capture contexts where dyad members are in concordance or discordance about which alternatives to consider. They empirically investigate the implications of different DDPs on outcomes such as decision efficiency and dyadic welfare. The methodological approach merges choice experiments with Bayesian statistical models to uncover nuances of the non-compensatory dyadic choice process. Data were collected using a multi-phase nationwide study of 265 husband and wife dyads purchasing three different consumer electronics products: flat-panel televisions, digital cameras, and laptop computers. Results across the three categories indicate that both concordant and discordant dyads exist. Among concordant dyads, the non-compensatory dyads make quicker decisions that result in higher dyadic welfare than compensatory dyads. Among discordant dyads, those that restrict their consideration set make quicker decisions that result in higher dyadic welfare than those that expand their consideration set. Interestingly, product knowledge and experience are found to be inextricably related to dyadic screening patterns. These findings have important implications for both buyers and sellers.

March 18 Spring Break

March 25 Bikram Ghosh
South Carolina

    "Sharing Information Goods Within Consumer Networks: Implications for Pricing and Profits"
  • Click here to read Abstract

    Given the ease with which many information goods can be shared, consumers some- times form groups to purchase a single information good and share it. Although firms cannot directly observe this group process, they need not ignore it when set- ting prices. To examine the effect of sharing information goods on profits, we use a graph theoretic model to capture probabilistic formation of consumers into sharing groups. We find that, while sharing within groups will often have the intuitive effect of decreasing profits, this need not always be the case if the firm sets prices in anticipation of sharing. Our analysis shows that sharing can increase profits, and that the marginal impact of additional sharing on profits is always positive when the probability of sharing is already sufficiently high. This is because higher sharing levels can enable a firm to tailor its prices to groups of consumers rather than to individuals. We describe how the effects of sharing depend on the consumer network structure, the group decision mechanism, and the presence of homophily in group formation. Our findings have implications for global pricing strategies of information goods.

April 1 Ajay Kalra

    "Abundant Mindset and Conservation"
  • Click here to read Abstract

    Despite efforts to increase awareness of the importance of conservation, the rate of progress in reducing waste has been low. We propose one new approach to reducing waste. We examine situations where waste occurs because consumers' over-acquire goods and then either do not use all of that is acquired or use it inefficiently. We suggest that cues indicating non-abundance of a resource can prompt conservation behaviors. We posit that the tendency to conserve triggered by non-abundance cues in a prior context can persist into subsequent consumption of unrelated resources. In four experiments, we demonstrate the proposed phenomenon, showing that non-abundance cues regarding one particular resource decrease cognitive accessibility of the general construct of abundance, and subsequently increase participants' tendency to conserve a different type of resource. Our results suggest that the underlying mechanism for the effect of non-abundance cues on conservation is motivational rather than priming of conservation-related concepts or traits.

April 15-16 Doctoral Symposium

UH Marketing Doctoral Symposium XXIX
Hilton University of Houston

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Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship
University of Houston
334 Melcher Hall
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