Marketing News

Marketing Scholars Address “Social Media Insights: Implications for Digital Marketing & Analytics” at the 2014 ING Global Colloquium

From left to right: Wendy Moe, Olivier Toubia, Nicholas Lurie, Sarah Moore
From left to right: Wendy Moe, Olivier Toubia, Nicholas Lurie, Sarah Moore

The Marketing Department hosted the 2014 ING Global Colloquium, Social Media Insights: Implications for Digital Marketing & Analytics, on April 4. The colloquium was a great opportunity to learn from cutting edge researchers in the areas of social media, digital marketing, and digital analytics.

Wendy Moe (University of Maryland) spoke on Social Media Intelligence: Behaviors, Biases and Brand Tracking, Moe, who has written a textbook on marketing analytics, spoke about the importance of accounting for differences across social media platforms and integrating insights across these platforms when conducting consumer sentiment analysis. In a paper with her coauthor (David Schweidel, Emory University), she develops a new brand sentiment metric that accounts for sentiment characteristics and posters’ social media platform choices. Empirical tests on social media comments for enterprise software and telecommunications show that the new metric outperforms existing metrics used by social media aggregators in terms of predicting stock prices and changes in brand sentiment in offline brand tracking surveys.

Sarah Moore (University of Alberta) presented a paper entitled Material Words: Explaining Language in Word of Mouth.In this paper, Moore argues that online reviewers use different types of explanations to explain their choices of utilitarian and hedonic products. For utilitarian products, consumers tend to provide action explanations (“I chose this product because…”), but for hedonic products, consumers tend to provide reaction explanations (“I love this product because…”). Using data from as well as a series of lab experiments, Moore finds significant differences in the types of explanations used for utilitarian and hedonic products. She also finds that consumers of utilitarian products find reviews with action (versus reaction) explanations to be more helpful and are more likely to consume the reviewed product after reading action explanations in reviews. She finds the opposite for hedonic products for which reaction explanations are perceived as more helpful and have a stronger influence on consumption.

Olivier Toubia (Columbia University) presented a paper entitled Improving Penetration Forecasts Using Social Interactions Data. In this paper, co-authored with Jacob Goldenberg of the Arison School of Business (Israel) and Rosanna Garcia, Northeastern University, Toubia develops a method to improve new product diffusion forecasts by using individual level social interaction data, such as the number of recommendations provided and received by adopters and non-adopters of a product as well as social network ties, to supplement initial aggregate penetration data. A test of the model in collaboration with a major consumer packaged goods company on a new cooking product shows that incorporating social interactions significantly improves the accuracy of penetration forecasts.

Nicholas Lurie (University of Connecticut) presented a paper entitled Going Mobile: Characteristics and Perceived Value of Mobile Word of Mouth. In this paper, Lurie and his coauthors (Sam Ransbotham of Boston College and Hongju Liu of the University of Connecticut) investigate how the content and perceived value of mobile word-of-mouth differs from that created using traditional (i.e., desktop) platforms. Using data from mobile and non-mobile restaurant reviews, the authors find that content created on mobile devices is more affective, less cognitive, and more one-sided. In addition, mobile word of mouth reflects greater current (vs. past or future) concerns and is more negative than desktop word of mouth. Results show that while some of these content differences increase the value of mobile word of mouth others lower its perceived value relative to desktop word of mouth. After controlling for observable differences in the content of mobile and desktop word of mouth, the authors find that mobile word of mouth is less valued than desktop word of mouth.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Addthis

Ph.D. Accomplishments

 Jeff Carlson defended his dissertation, “Exploring the Importance and Value of Studying Subjective Time in Marketing Management.”

Wei Chen defended his dissertation proposal, “The Effect of Regulatory Resource Depletion on Consumer Decision Making.”

Ann Jansson Vredeveld defended her dissertation proposal, “Consumer-Brand Engagement: Cultural and Moral Manifestations” and received the following awards: Ph.D. Program Summer Fellowship, AMA Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium Fellowship, ING Global Ph.D. Fellow, University of Connecticut School of Business Dean’s Pre-doctoral Fellowship, and University of Connecticut Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

Selcan Kara received the Marketing Department Ph.D. Student Teaching Award and Ph.D. Program Summer Fellowship.

 Bin Li, Zahra Tohidinia, and Nian Wang received the Ph.D. Program Summer Fellowship.

Shuai Yang defended her dissertation, “Two Essays on Matching Strategy in Paid Search Advertising” and has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Donghua University (Shanghai) beginning in Fall 2014.

Abstract: An Empirical Study of Response Alternatives in Direct Mail

2014 Marketing Science Conference, June 2014, Atlanta, GA

Nian Wang. Co-author: Joseph Pancras, Hongju Liu, and Malcolm Houtz

Many consumer goods such as books, DVDs, magazines are sold through catalogs with ‘buy now, pay later’ offers. Firms in such markets face the challenge of predicting what types of customers will not pay for the product, termed ‘bad debt’ customers, since such bad debts pose significant costs for firms. Such firms also need to understand consumer’s propensity to return products, since this is also costly for firms. This paper proposes a new model considering both the bad debt and return simultaneously, and applies the model to the data obtained from a Spanish book company. We find that the extra mailings have a greater influence on bad debt, and that historical bad debt behavior influences the probability of return. These findings help improve the firm’s targeting policy, and also point to the potential for more elaborate modeling of the tradeoffs between the bad debt and return.

Abstract: Product Line Positioning Strategies and Firm Financial Performance

2014 Winter Marketing Educators Conference, Poster Session, February 2014, Orlando, FL

Shan Lin, Co-authors: Bill Ross, Hongju Liu

This article provides an empirical investigation of the effects of six product line positioning strategies (high, medium, low, high–medium, medium–low, and high–medium–low) and three primary branding strategies (corporate branding, house-of-brands, and mixed-branding) on firms’ financial performance—cash flow and idiosyncratic risk—after controlling for firm size, leverage, profitability, profits volatility, market-to-book ratio, current liabilities, acquisitions, and advertising spending. This research illustrates that as one of the marketing instruments, product line positioning strategy matters. Narrower product line positioning strategies are associated with higher cash flow and lower firm idiosyncratic risk, while broader product line positioning strategies are associated with lower cash flow and higher firm idiosyncratic risk. In addition, branding strategies have a significant impact on firms’ cash flow but not idiosyncratic risk. In addition, product line positioning strategy moderates the relationship between branding strategies and cash flow but not the relationship between branding strategies and firm idiosyncratic risk.

Experiential Learning in Market-Driven Management Benefits Students and Partners

Experiential learning is a key part of being a student at UConn’s School of Business. The Marketing Department provides many opportunities for students to apply their learning in course projects. For example, MBA students in Mary CaravellaMarket Driven Management courses worked with three different organizations—Cognizant, HYPE (Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs), and UConn’s own Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL)—to help them connect and engage with new potential customers.

While each project had slightly different goals, all students evaluated the market environment, identified one or more customer segments to target, and then recommended changes to the organization’s marketing mix to reach and engage these customers. Students rose to the challenge, supporting their recommendations with detailed analyses such as the market potential for a new product in different global regions, evaluation of alternative pricing strategies, and mockups of new website designs. Jeff Makray ’15 MBA gave high marks to the experience:

“The marketing proposal allowed us to draw from classrooms lessons and apply them in a practical way. Doing market research and applying thoughtful assumptions for market sizing and business feasibility are things I will take with me beyond my MBA. Also, it helped to build my confidence in trusting my own judgment when the available data can’t get me all the way. I’ll definitely be pulling from this experience next time I’m working on a business plan.”

Several teams of students continued to work with partner companies as part of Joseph Pancras Market Research class. If your organization is interested in partnering on a future project, contact Mary Caravella.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Addthis

UConn Executive MBAs Experience Business in South Africa

UConn EMBAs in South AfricaUConn’s Executive MBA (EMBA) students traveled to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa as part of Robin Coulters Global Business Issues course. South Africa, a diverse and emerging global market, serves as the gateway to much of the African continent. Students visited an array of businesses addressing topics such as direct investment, banking, business ownership, business challenges and opportunities. Highlights included:

“Investing in South Africa: High Risk or High Return?”
Mteto Nyati, Managing Director, Microsoft

“Retail Strategies for Low-Income Populations”
Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Transformation Director, Pick n Pay

“Building a Successful Business in South Africa”
Tony Gerrans, CEO, Grotto

While in South Africa, students visited important historical and cultural sites including the Soweto Township; Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela served his prison term for his campaign against the Apartheid regime; and the Apartheid Museum, which illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid, the system of racial segregation that blighted much of South Africa’s progress for half a century.

Students returned equipped with new knowledge and insights, having visited with executives from an array of companies and industries. “Understanding the history and culture of a country in which you conduct business is critical,” Noel Petrolati ’16 EMBA observed. “I knew it was important, but to see and experience South Africa’s turbulent past and to see its economic development was enlightening.”

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Addthis

Stamford Learning Accelerator Team Builds National Database Using Visual Analytics Tools

Stamford Learning Accelerator Team
Pictured from left to right: Jennifer Chiarella, JD/MBA ’14; Angela Balduyck, MBA ’14; Tugba Onder, MBA ’14; Aswathy Mohandas, MSBAPM ’14

Working at the Stamford Learning Accelerator with faculty mentor Brian Brady, a team of MBA, JD/MBA, and MSBAPM students built an executive contact database of 3000 One Stops, their affiliates and local offices across the United States. The database connects each One Stop Center to its corresponding State Workforce Investment Board which provides vital grant funding to these centers and is a potential source of revenue for Access Technologies Group, a Connecticut company whose flagship simulation software product is Simentor.® This simulation software is designed to help individuals who face challenges such as learning disabilities, computer literacy, or explaining a criminal record, enabling them to overcome these challenges and increase their employment opportunities.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Addthis

New Visual Analytics Course Offered in Stamford

ibm logo

Professor Girish Punj with the assistance of Brian Brady, director of the UConn Stamford Learning Accelerator, offered an MBA level experiential learning course at the UConn Stamford Learning Accelerator in collaboration with the IBM Center for Innovation in Visual Analytics. Students interacted with IBM researchers and executives while working on various semester-length projects where they learned and experienced the latest generation of data visualization methodologies. They gained exposure to the rapidly evolving field of visual analytics and learned how to solve business problems using information visualization tools under the guidance of IBM data visualization experts located at various IBM facilities around the world.

“Visual Analytics provided unparalleled access to researchers at IBM who are developing the latest visualization technologies. The course exposed me to ways of representing large and complex data using interactive visualizations making it possible to gain insights and facilitate decision making. Aside from the knowledge gained in the course, the sense of team accomplishment and the accolades received from IBM made it an invaluable addition to my academics,” said Taylor Witt ’05, vice president, digital applications at IBM and a UConn MBA candidate.

“It was a great learning experience to discuss the latest visualization techniques and state-of-the-art visualization tools with IBM researchers around the world through virtual talks,” said Tugba Onder ’14 MBA.

“This was a very hands-on class that focused on visualizing and analyzing big data—which is everywhere, no matter what industry you’re in. You’ll learn a lot in this class from the experts at IBM and from your classmates. The semester will pass by quickly and you won’t believe how much you have accomplished,” said Jennifer Bui ’13 MBA, analyst, ALM People’s United Bank.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Addthis

UConn MBA Students Gain Digital Marketing Skills and Promote Personal Websites

Assistant Professor Jane Gu’s Digital Marketing MBA students created their own websites, used search engine optimization, keyword advertising, and social media to drive traffic to their websites, and monitored effectiveness using web analytics. While most students had no web development experience before the class, many eagerly took on the project as an opportunity to build digital presence and to implement digital marketing skills they learned from class. Check out some of the students’ websites below!

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Addthis


Spaghetti Slurper Spaghetti Slurper: Matthew Eucalitto is an Italian-American student who grew up in a family that owns Italian restaurants and includes numerous Chefs. Matt developed his website to introduce others to some of his favorite Italian restaurants around Hartford. Flying on Fridays: Matthew Rader created this website about recreational flying. The website contains information about how to get a pilot’s license and small planes. Matt also maintains a flying blog. Flying on Fridays
 MegJuicing Meg’s Juice Recipes: Megan Blaschke built the website to provide a quick and to-the-point guide to educate people on the benefits of juicing. You can find recipes that Megan recommends and also her tips for juicing. Hall David Marketing Strategies: Christina Davis created this website for her personal marketing consulting business. Christina also maintains a digital marketing blog.  HallDavisMarketing
 JHobbies J Hobbies: Jason Short built this website about his hobbies. In the Orchid section, Jason provides step-by-step instructions illustrated with pictures on how to grow, care for, and breed orchids. Quality Furniture by Bill: Whitney Ammary redesigned the website of her family business.  The website now sells wooden hand-painted accent tables featuring logos of colleges and universities, including UConn.  QualityFurniturebybill
 StBearDesign St. Bear Design: Adam Gooch designed this website to show his artwork and photography, with the hope that viewers will contact him to do design or photo work or go to his shop to buy a print. The American Outlaws Hartford: Shawn Simao designed an activities hub website for The American Outlaws Hartford Chapter which he co-founded in 2009, providing information on their social club, soccer team, and charitable giving.  


Program for Sales Leadership Update

The Program for Sales Leadership (PSL) under the direction of William Ryan and Mary Caravella, grew significantly this year, with total enrollment up 24% over the prior year. Enrollments have been climbing as more students become aware of PSL and the career opportunities. Our PSL partners continue to play a key role providing experiential learning support in-and-outside the classroom through sales role plays, an executive speaker series, internships, field visits, and networking sessions. In 2014, we welcomed CDW, a leading provider of technology solutions for business, government, education and healthcare, as a new partner. They join ADP, Altria, AT&T, EBP Supply Solutions, Enterprise, Liberty Mutual, Northwestern Mutual and Tom James.

We are looking forward to another exciting year for our PSL students. Students will compete at the Northeast Intercollegiate Sales Competition at Bryant University and the National Collegiate Sales Competition in Atlanta, GA. These competitions provide our students the opportunity to use their selling, communication, and interpersonal skills in a competitive setting; meet students with similar interests; and engage with corporate partners that support professional sales.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Addthis