Marketing: Marketing Strategy

91 Results

 

Marketing Obamacare

HBS Professor John Quelch contends that the success of the Affordable Care Act depends more on marketing than it does on policy. And in Connecticut, he's got just the state to prove it. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

In the Future of Sports Investing, Media Is the Best Bet

Sports investing is no longer just about buying teams and selling beer. Bob Higgins discusses why media, digital devices, and invention of fan-friendly sports are driving next-generation investors. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Secrets to a Successful Social Media Strategy

Misiek Piskorski explores the secrets of successful social media tactics in his new book, A Social Strategy: How We Profit From Social Media. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Excerpt: ‘A Social Strategy’

An excerpt from A Social Strategy: How We Profit From Social Media by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Football Stars Debate ‘The Social Capital of the Savvy Athlete’

NFL players Richard Sherman, Arian Foster, Larry Fitzgerald, and Domonique Foxworth discussed Twitter pros and cons on marketing and race relations at Harvard Business School. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

Are Electronic Cigarettes a Public Good or Health Hazard?

A new case study by John Quelch charts the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes and how tobacco companies and regulators are responding. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Encouraging Niche Content in an Ad-Driven World

Research by Feng Zhu and Monic Sun explores how advertising drives bloggers to shift their writing to subjects that will grab more eyeballs—namely, the stock market, celebrities, and salacious behavior. But surprise: Ads might also help generate more niche content. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

A Brand Manager’s Guide to Losing Control

Social media platforms have taken some of the marketing power away from companies and given it to consumers. Jill Avery discusses the landscape of "open source branding," wherein consumers not only discuss and disseminate branded content, they also create it. Closed for comment; 9 Comments posted.

The Tricky Business of Managing Web Advertising Affiliates

Advertising through numerous website affiliates potentially helps marketers get more bang for their buck. But the far-flung systems can also lead to fraud, says Ben Edelman. What's the best way to manage your advertising network? Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Information and Incentives in Online Affiliate Marketing

Compared to historic advertising methods, online marketing invites advertisers to attempt a sharply increased quantity of partnerships. Online relationships reduce the transaction costs of buying ad placements. In many advertising marketplaces, standardized contracts let an advertiser accept a proposed placement with a single click, and ad networks widely sell bundles of hundreds or thousands of placements. Meanwhile, many advertisers find they can get valuable leads and favorable pricing from the Internet's myriad small sites. These numerous relationships entail costs, too, such as selecting, compensating, and supervising the sites, making sure each site is suitable to show the advertiser's offer, and making sure sites in fact deliver the promised benefits. Advertisers thus turn to specialists and outside firms to handle important aspects of advertising-buying. In this paper, the authors evaluate advertisers' chosen management structures by measuring the relative prevalence of advertising fraud targeting advertisers engaged in online "affiliate marketing," a performance-based compensation system increasingly common in online ad campaigns. Specifically, the authors identify the vulnerabilities best addressed by outsourcing marketing management to external specialists, versus the problems better overseen by keeping management decisions in-house. They find outside advisors most effective at enforcing clear rules, but in-house staff excel at preventing practices viewed as "borderline" under industry norms. While the results apply most directly to advertisers considering the management structure of their online marketing programs, the analysis also speaks to broader concerns of outsourcing and the boundary of the firm. Read More

How Major League Baseball Clubs Have Commercialized Their Investment in Japanese Top Stars

Japanese money flowing from broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and merchandise contributes substantially to the prosperity of Major League Baseball (MLB) in America. This market growth depends on wide exposure of and good performance by Japanese major leaguers. Acquiring and signing these stars can become a passport to get in touch with the Japanese market directly. The authors examine how the MLB clubs have tried to commercialize their investment in Japanese top stars and assesses whether the clubs have succeeded. Seven factors attract revenues from Japanese companies and fans: pitcher or position player, player's popularity, non-stop flights from Japan, distance from Japan, non-sport tourist attractions in a city, size of Japanese community in the city, and player's and team's performance. The most important factor, however, is the player's talent and popularity in terms of performance in both Japan and the US and his media exposure in Japan including endorsement contracts. Read More

Advertising Symbiosis: The Key to Viral Videos

Creating an online ad that goes viral requires more than mere entertainment. Thales S. Teixeira discusses the key to creating megahit marketing through "advertising symbiosis." Closed for comment; 17 Comments posted.

From McRibs to Maseratis: The Power of Scarcity Marketing

In the new book Happy Money: the Science of Smarter Spending, behavioral economists Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton describe how money can buy happiness—but only if we spend it the right way. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Exclusive Preferential Placement as Search Diversion: Evidence from Flight Search

Measuring the net effect of search diversion is important for understanding the extent to which search engines and other intermediaries may act to influence consumer behavior. This paper makes two contributions. First, the authors develop a theoretical model to establish conditions when a search engine chooses to divert search to a less relevant service. Results indicate that search engines have a larger incentive to divert search when they are able to alter the consumers' perceptions of the difference between non-paid and paid placements, and when search engines place a large weight on revenue. These results are consistent with instances where some search engines have labeled paid links with confusing euphemisms or not at all, and where some search engines have mixed paid and non-paid links in the same area of the screen. Second, the authors measure the impact of a diversion mechanism where a search engine exclusively awards a non-paid preferred placement slot to its own service. Specifically, they examine Google's preferred placement of Flight Search. Analysis indicates that there was an 85 percent increase in click-through rates for paid advertising and a 65 percent decrease in click-through rates for non-paid algorithmic search traffic to competing online travel agencies. Both changes are statistically significant, providing evidence of Google's ability to influence how consumers choose services after they search. Read More

Do Bonuses Enhance Sales Productivity? A Dynamic Structural Analysis of Bonus-Based Compensation Plans

Personal selling is a primary marketing mix tool for most B2B firms to generate sales. Yet there is little research on how the compensation plan motivates a sales force and affects performance. This paper develops and estimates a dynamic structural model of sales force response to a compensation plan with various components: salary, commissions, lump-sum bonus for achieving quotas, and different commission rates beyond achieving quotas. Overall, the analysis helps assess the impact of (1) different components of compensation and (2) the differential importance of periodic bonuses on performance on different segments of sales people. Read More

Digital Technology’s Profound Game Change for Marketers

Within a few years, chief marketing officers will spend more on technology--digital marketing--than CIOs. Jeffrey Bussgang says it is clear that technology is radically transforming the marketing function and the role of the marketing professional. Closed for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Better by the Bundle?

Video game companies do it, fast-food restaurants, too. Why don't more companies bundle products and services together in one package at a bargain price? Research by Assistant Professor Vineet Kumar. Closed for comment; 3 Comments posted.

How to Brand a Next-Generation Product

Upgrades to existing product lines make up a huge part of corporate research and development activity, and with every upgrade comes the decision of how to brand it. Harvard Business School marketing professors John T. Gourville and Elie Ofek teamed up with London Business School's Marco Bertini to suss out the best practices for naming next-generation products. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

What Neuroscience Tells Us About Consumer Desire

It's easy for businesses to keep track of what we buy, but harder to figure out why. Enter a nascent field called neuromarketing, which uses the tools of neuroscience to determine why we prefer some products over others. Uma R. Karmarkar explains how raw brain data is helping researchers unlock the mysteries of consumer choice. Closed for comment; 22 Comments posted.

The Dynamic Effects of Bundling as a Product Strategy

This paper investigates the practice of bundling as a product strategy, and identifies how consumers make choices between products and bundles in a dynamic environment. Authors Timothy Derdenger and Vineet Kumar look at the handheld video game market to study bundling in a platform setting with the goal of investigating several key questions of interest to practitioners who make product decisions: First, do consumers value bundles over and beyond their component products, indicating a synergy, which some researchers have hypothesized? Second, have there been differing opinions on whether mixed bundling, that is offering both the bundle and individual products for sale, is more effective than offering only pure bundles or even compared to offering only the products for sale? Given the prevalence of bundling in technology markets, it is critical to understand whether bundling is more effective in environments with strong network effects or with weak network effects. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Online Marketing

In this collection from our archives, Harvard Business School faculty discuss the latest research on online marketing techniques, including consumer reviews, video ads, loyalty programs, and coupon offerings. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Break Your Addiction to Service Heroes

In their new book, Uncommon Service, coauthors Frances Frei and Anne Morriss show it is possible for organizations to reduce costs while dramatically enhancing customer service. The key? Don't try to be good at everything. Interview and book excerpt from HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Clocky, the Runaway Alarm Clock

There had not been an innovative breakthrough in alarm clock design since the snooze button until entrepreneur Gauri Nanda created Clocky. Her runaway hit has been the inspiration for several cases written by Professor Elie Ofek. Closed for comment; 8 Comments posted.

The Yelp Factor: Are Consumer Reviews Good for Business?

In a new study, Assistant Professor Michael Luca shows just how much restaurant reviews on Yelp affect companies' bottom lines. The more difficult question: Are these ratings reliable as a measure of product quality? Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

Retailing Revolution: Category Killers on the Brink

Mass-market retailers, particularly big-box "category killers," are under critical pressure from online competitors. For retailers that can react quickly enough, this upheaval is survivable. But those slow to see the tsunami wave on the horizon stand to be swept away, according to professors Rajiv Lal and Josť B. Alvarez. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

First-Party Content, Commitment and Coordination in Two-Sided Markets

Two-sided platforms face a challenging coordination problem that consists of attracting both buyers and sellers. Participation by both depends on their expectations of participation on the other side of the market. To improve such coordination, many platforms provide "first-party content," such as games (e.g. Microsoft's Halo on Xbox), objective search results (Google and Bing) or, in the case of Amazon and eBay, product information and payment systems. First-party content makes participation more attractive to one side (typically, users), independently of the presence of sellers. Importantly, first-party content may be either a complement or a substitute for third-party sellers' products. For instance, Halo is a substitute for games provided by Electronic Arts on the Xbox; on the other hand, the Xbox Live online playing system is a complement. Similarly, Amazon's shipping services complements its third-party sellers' offerings, but the products Amazon sells under its own name compete with them. Professors Hagiu and Spulber examine the incentives that two-sided platforms have to invest in first-party content in order to coordinate adoption by both sides. The authors show that the incentives for firms to use first-party content depend crucially on the nature of buyers' and sellers' expectations and the relationship between first-party content and third-party seller participation (complements or substitutes). Read More

A New Model for Business: The Museum

Looking for a new model to think about business? Look no further than your local art museum, says Assistant Professor Ray Weaver. Some of the most profitable Web businesses and retailers such as Apple succeed by acting like museum curators: providing a very limited amount of choices at a time; offering a brief, engaging description of each choice; and classifying products honestly. Open for comment; 47 Comments posted.

To Groupon or Not to Groupon: The Profitability of Deep Discounts

For consumers, online discount vouchers (like those offered by Groupon.com) have obvious appeal: discounts as large as 90 percent. But for retailers offering the deals through the site, does the publicity compensate for the deep hit to profit margins? This paper sets out to help small businesses decide whether it makes sense to offer discount vouchers. Research was conducted by Harvard Business School professor Ben Edelman, Business Economics PhD candidate Scott Duke Kominers, and by Sonia Jaffe of the Harvard University Department of Economics. Read More

Mobile Banking for the Unbanked

A billion people in developing countries have no need for a savings account–but they do need a financial service that banks compete to provide. The new HBS case Mobile Banking for the Unbanked, written by professor Kash Rangan, is a lesson in understanding the real need of customers. Closed for comment; 27 Comments posted.

Clay Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing

About 95 percent of new products fail. The problem often is that their creators are using an ineffective market segmentation mechanism, according to HBS professor Clayton Christensen. It's time for companies to look at products the way customers do: as a way to get a job done. Closed for comment; 114 Comments posted.

Sponsored Links’ or ’Advertisements’?: Measuring Labeling Alternatives in Internet Search Engines

In processing a search for a particular phrase, Internet search engines generally offer two types of results: the algorithmic results, which a search engine selects based on relevance, and the "sponsored links," for which advertisers pay. The latter often occupy prominent screen space. But does the average web surfer realize that they are advertisements? In an online experiment, Harvard Business School professor Benjamin Edelman and doctoral candidate Duncan S. Gilchrist show that "sponsored link" is too vague a term for some users to understand, and that "paid advertisement" is a label that better clarifies the nature of the link. They call on the FTC to compel search engines to improve their disclosures. Read More

United Breaks Guitars

A new case coauthored by HBS marketing professor John Deighton and research associate Leora Kornfeld offers an object lesson in the dangers social media can bring for big, recognizable companies and their brands. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 26 Comments posted.

Connecting Goals and Go-To-Market Initiatives

In some respects, developing strategy is the easy part. Executing that strategy in alignment with strategic priorities is where real mastery of management takes place. Harvard Business School senior lecturer Frank V. Cespedes shows how it is done. Open for comment; 14 Comments posted.

Tesco’s Stumble into the US Market

UK retailer Tesco was very successful penetrating foreign markets—until it set its sights on the United States. Its series of mistakes and some bad luck are captured in a new case by Harvard Business School marketing professor John A. Quelch. Read More

HBS Introduces Marketing Analysis Tools for Managers

The tools can help managers inform decisions on market analysis, breakeven analysis, customer lifetime value, profit and pricing, and analyzing the competitive environment. Interview with Tom Steenburgh. Read More

What Is Customer Opinion Good For?

Summing Up: Are customer wishes irrelevant when creating a new product? Jim Heskett's readers say it depends on the product, on market goals, and where you are in the development cycle. (Online forum has closed; next forum opens September 2.) Closed for comment; 73 Comments posted.

Modern Indian Art: The Birth of a Market

Before 1995, there was little market for twentieth-century Indian fine art. That's when artists, auction houses, critics, and others defined a new product category—modern Indian fine art—resulting in worldwide demand and soaring prices. Professor Mukti Khaire explains the dynamics behind new market categories. Read More

When Other Companies Compete Like Crazy, Dare to Be Different

Eye-catching colors and gee-whiz features aren't enough for successful products and services today. To rise above the "sea of sameness," companies need to be different in a way that is elemental—and game-changing. HBS professor Youngme Moon shares highlights and insights from her new book, Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd. Read More

Tracks of My Tears: Reconstructing Digital Music

Record labels have depended on album sales to boost profits. But in the digital music era, consumers prefer single songs over music "bundles." The result? Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse says it is time for the industry to rethink its products and prices. Read More

Why Are Web Sites So Confusing?

Just as bread and milk are often found at far-away ends of the supermarket, Web sites that match consumers with certain products have an incentive to steer users to products that yield the highest margins. The result: a compromise between what users want and what produces the most revenues, say HBS professor Andrei Hagiu and Toulouse School of Economics researcher Bruno Jullien. A look inside the world of search. Read More

Understanding Users of Social Networks

Many business leaders are mystified about how to reach potential customers on social networks such as Facebook. Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski provides a fresh look into the interpersonal dynamics of these sites and offers guidance for approaching these tantalizing markets. Read More

Social Network Marketing: What Works?

Purchase decisions are influenced differently in social networks than in the brick-and-mortar world, says Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta. The key: Marketers should tap into the networking aspect of sites such as Facebook. Read More

Crafting Integrated Multichannel Retailing Strategies

The past fifteen years has been a period of rapid growth in the practice of multichannel retailing, mirroring the rise of the Internet as a nearly ubiquitous tool that firms use to interact with customers. More than 80 percent of a broad cross-section of U.S. retailers now report that they sell merchandise through multiple channels. This practice seems to be on the cusp of a new era in which firms start demanding even more from their investments, with particular emphasis being given to financial performance in light of the current economic crisis. These circumstances present a great opportunity both to firms that are looking to gain a competitive advantage through multichannel retailing and to researchers who are interested in helping them make more informed decisions. This article provides a broad discussion of these issues, synthesizes current knowledge, and suggests directions for future research. Read More

Improving Market Research in a Recession

At the same time that marketers must pare research expenditures, they face added pressure to secure high-quality data and insights. What's a CMO to do? Ask HBS marketing professor John Quelch. Read More

Marketing After the Recession

This downturn has likely changed people's buying habits in fundamental ways. Professor John Quelch discusses why marketers must start planning today to reach consumers after the recession. Read More

The Marketing of a President

Barack Obama's run for the White House was a model of marketing excellence, argues Professor John Quelch. Here's why it worked so well. Read More

The Next Marketing Challenge: Selling to ’Simplifiers’

The mass consumption of the 1990s is fast fading in the rearview mirror. Now a growing number of people want to declutter their lives and invest in experiences rather than things. What's a marketer to do, asks professor John Quelch. Read More

Should You Bring Advertising Expertise In-House?

Advertising agencies have traditionally offered services to firms that couldn't afford or didn't find value in having that expertise in-house. But a recent study indicates more firms than previously thought are developing internal advertising units. Q&A with HBS professor emeritus Alvin J. Silk. Read More

Long-Tail Economics? Give Me Blockbusters!

Although the Long Tail theory might argue otherwise, HBS marketing professor John Quelch believes in the power of blockbusters to excite consumers, motivate salespeople, and attract top talent. Read More

Indulgence vs. Regret: Investing in Future Memories

Good news for makers of $20,000 watches and other luxury goods and services. Recent research from Harvard Business School professor Anat Keinan and a colleague suggest that we often regret not indulging ourselves earlier in life. Read More

Solving the Marketing Resources Allocation Puzzle

Television spots, word-of-mouth, viral ads. Marketing managers have more options at their disposal than ever before. But how to decide? Harvard Business School professors Sunil Gupta and Thomas Steenburgh offer a way for managers to conceptualize the most effective approach. Read More

Seven Tips for Managing Price Increases

Consumers get hit with the price-increase hammer every time they drive past a gas station. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch offers tips on how marketers can cope with inflation and consumer sticker shock. Read More

The Marketing Challenges of the China Olympics

The Olympic Games are normally a marketer's dream. Not so much this year, given widespread protests against the Chinese government. Professor John Quelch outlines the branding challenges posed by this year's Games in Beijing. Read More

The New Math of Customer Relationships

Harvard Business School professor emeritus James L. Heskett has spent much of his career exploring how satisfied employees and customers can drive lifelong profit. Heskett and his colleagues will soon introduce a new concept into the business management literature: customer and employee "owners." Read More

Four Companies that Conquered America

Any self-respecting global company needs to compete in the United States, but many have floundered on its shores. Professor John Quelch spotlights the strategies of four that succeeded: Royal Bank of Scotland, IKEA, ING, and Dyson. Read More

Finding Success in the Middle of the Market

Let's face it—the middle market isn't sexy. Sears isn't Victoria's Secret. But it can be very profitable to know how to play "midfield" adroitly, says professor and soccer enthusiast John Quelch. Read More

An Investigation of Earnings Management through Marketing Actions

Earnings management behavior may be divided into two categories: 1) the opportunistic exercise of accounting discretion; and 2) the opportunistic structuring of real transactions. This paper focuses on the latter by providing evidence that managers use retail-level marketing actions (price discounts, feature advertisements, and aisle displays) to influence the timing of consumers' purchases in relation to their firms' fiscal calendars and financial performance. The results will be of interest to practitioners negotiating with suppliers as well as those responsible for setting price and promotion strategy in response to competitor actions, and practitioners responsible for designing incentive-based compensation as well as regulators monitoring reporting of fiscal period-ending promotion. Read More

Allocating Marketing Resources

Deciding how to allocate marketing resources is particularly difficult because decisions need to be made at many different levels—across countries, products, marketing mix elements, and different vehicles within elements of the mix (e.g., television versus the Internet for advertising). With the increasing availability of data and sophistication in methods, it is now possible to more judiciously allocate marketing resources. In this paper, HBS professors Gupta and Steenburgh discuss a two-stage process where a model of demand is estimated in stage-one and its estimates are used as inputs in an optimization model in stage-two. The researchers propose a matrix with three approaches for each of these two stages, and discuss the pros and cons of these methods. They highlight each method with applications and case studies to present rigorous yet practical approaches to making marketing resource allocation decisions. Read More

Marketing Your Way Through a Recession

In a recession, consumers become value oriented, distributors are concerned about cash, and employees worry about their jobs. But a downturn is no time to stop spending on marketing. The key, says professor John Quelch, is to understand how the needs of your customers and partners change, and adapt your strategies to the new reality. Read More

Does Democracy Need a Marketing Manager?

It's more than coincidence that we feel more association with our favorite consumer brands than with our elected politicians or government institutions. Can the power of marketing be used to promote public participation in politics? Harvard Business School professor John A. Quelch and research associate Katherine E. Jocz discuss their new book, Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy. Plus: book excerpt. Read More

When Your Product Becomes a Commodity

Like death and taxes, commoditization of your products is a given. Marketing professor John Quelch offers tips for delaying the inevitable and dealing with it once it arrives. Read More

Authenticity over Exaggeration: The New Rule in Advertising

Advertisers thought technology was their friend in identifying and creating new customers. Funny thing happened along the way, though: Now consumers are using the Internet to blunt traditional commercial messages. Time for companies to rethink their strategy, says HBS professor John A. Deighton. Read More

The “Fees → Savings” Link, or Purchasing Fifty Pounds of Pasta

Discount membership clubs have a large and growing presence in retail—one recent survey reported that Costco sells to 1 in every 11 people in the United States and Canada, and warehouse clubs are estimated to be a $120 billion industry today in the United States alone. As a result, many people have had the experience of entering one of these popular clubs and leaving hours later with more goods than can fit in their car. One rational reason for such behavior is that membership clubs do offer lower prices than other retailers. However, Norton and Lee offer a counterintuitive explanation for such buying behavior. They propose that the presence of membership fees alone—independent of the actual savings on any given product—can lead consumers to infer a "fees → savings" link, leading them to spend more than they otherwise would to capitalize on these perceived "great deals." Norton and Lee explore this phenomenon by setting up their own "membership clubs" and comparing profits across stores with varying membership fees. Read More

How Marketing Hype Hurt Boeing and Apple

In his latest blog entry, professor John Quelch looks at the examples of Boeing and Apple to investigate why shareholders have little patience for companies that hype high but deliver low. Read More

Marketing Maria: Managing the Athlete Endorsement

Million-dollar endorsement deals will be made and broken by how baseball players on the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies performed in the just completed World Series. HBS professor Anita Elberse discusses her research on sports marketing and her recent case on tennis powerhouse Maria Sharapova. Read More

“Blank” Inside: Branding Ingredients

When Intel launched the Intel Inside campaign in the 1990s, many marketers thought the chip giant was nuts. Who cared about the microprocessor inside their PC? Turns out Intel created a branding sensation and raised awareness of the importance of ingredient branding, says professor John Quelch. Today's best example: The Boeing Dreamliner. Read More

Broadband: Remaking the Advertising Industry

Evolving from the Marlboro Man in the 1960s to the Subservient Chicken in a recent Web campaign, advertising is undergoing a radical transformation. Harvard Business School professor Stephen P. Bradley, who is cowriting a book on how broadband technologies are remaking many industries, discusses how advertising is responding to the challenges. Read More

How to Profit from Scarcity

This past summer's launches of the iPhone and final Harry Potter book were textbook examples of companies profiting in part by creating the illusion of scarcity. Professor John Quelch explains the advantages of this strategy when executed well, and tells how to recover from a real product shortage. Read More

Mattel: Getting a Toy Recall Right

Mattel has been criticized heavily for having to recall not once but twice in as many weeks 20 million toys manufactured in China. But Mattel also deserves praise for stepping up to its responsibilities as the leading brand in the toy industry. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch examines what Mattel did right. Read More

Understanding the ‘Want’ vs. ’Should’ Decision

Pizza or salad? Consumers use different approaches to buying things they want (pizza) versus items they should buy (salad). In their research on online grocery-buying habits and DVD rentals, Harvard Business School's Katy Milkman and Todd Rogers, along with Professor Max Bazerman, provide insights on the want-should conflict and the implications for managers in areas such as demand forecasting, consumer spending habits, and effective store layout. Read More

Extremeness Seeking: When and Why Consumers Prefer the Extremes

When can variety be helpful and when can it be harmful? Conventional wisdom suggests that a product provider enhances the overall attractiveness of a set of options by adding more alternatives to the mix. By contrast, Gourville and Soman's research indicates that in certain, predictable cases, adding more alternatives to an assortment leads consumers to choose either the most basic or the most "fully loaded" product or service, be it a camera, car, cable TV service, laptop, or vacation package in Italy. Read More

Fixing the Marketing-CEO Disconnect

In many companies, the marketing function has wandered far from the company's overall strategy. The result: lower margins and declining productivity, says Professor Gail McGovern. She discusses what executives can do to repair the split and introduces a new diagnostic tool for measuring marketing performance used in HBS executive education programs. Read More

Business and the Global Poor

Companies have more or less ignored 80 percent of the world's population—the global poor. The new book Business Solutions for the Global Poor, created from research and a conference at Harvard Business School, shows how both business and societal interests can be served at the base of the economic pyramid. A Q&A with co-editor V. Kasturi Rangan. Read More

Fixing Price Tag Confusion

"Partitioned" price tags that include a main price plus additional charges (Lamp: $70, Bulb, $5, Shipping: $15) may be confusing your customers at best or even causing them to reject the product, warns HBS professor Luc Wathieu. When is an all-inclusive price the best bet? Read More

Will the “Long Tail” Work for Hollywood?

The "long-tail phenomenon" is well documented: Amazon.com makes significant profits selling many low-volume books. But can the long tail work for video sales as well? A new working paper by professors Anita Elberse and Felix Oberholzer-Gee suggests that it may not bring the same benefits to Hollywood. Read More

HBS Cases: Porsche’s Risky Roll on an SUV

Why would any company in the world want to locate in a high-cost, high-wage economy like Germany? Porsche's unusual answer in a globalizing auto industry has framed two case studies by HBS professor Jeffrey Fear and colleague Carin-Isabel Knoop. Read More

The Promise of Channel Stewardship

For many companies, distribution channels serve neither customers nor channel partners well. In a new book, Harvard Business School professor V. Kasturi Rangan outlines the concept of channel stewardship. An excerpt from Transforming Your Go-to-Market Strategy. Read More

The Framing Effect of Price Format

How do consumers evaluate different pricing scenarios? This study looks at different pricing models to see which is more likely to result in positive customer perception. Specifically, the authors look at all-inclusive pricing (e.g., the price of a chair is $85.95 including shipping) versus partitioned pricing (e.g., the price of a chair is $81 and shipping is $4.95). When consumers are presented with a partitioned price, they place an exaggerated weight on their evaluation of each individual component. Read More

Should You Outsource Your Marketing?

Few companies own all the marketing expertise they need, especially of the left-brain, analytic variety. Professor Gail McGovern outlines the pros and cons of turning over your marketing activities to outsiders. Read More

The Power of Stars: Do Stars Drive Success in Creative Industries?

The importance of star power is evident in creative industries from music and film to fashion and architecture. Star actors are paid millions of dollars, but is star talent critical to product success? What determines the value of stars? In the context of the movie business, Elberse calculated the returns in a study comparing 1,200 casting announcements on trading behavior in a simulated and real stock market setting. In a separate study, she also looked at the stars' impact on expected revenues. Read More

Tips to Reinvent the Department Store

The world of multi-category retailing—much better known to customers of Filene's, Macy's, and Hecht's as simply "department stores"—has been under assault for what seems like ages. How can big retailers not just survive but also thrive? Read More

The Motion Picture Industry: Critical Issues in Practice, Current Research & New Research Directions

This paper reviews research and trends in three key areas of movie making: production, distribution, and exhibition. In the production process, the authors recommend risk management and portfolio management for studios, and explore talent compensation issues. Distribution trends show that box-office performance will increasingly depend on a small number of blockbusters, advertising spending will rise (but will cross different types of media), and the timing of releases (and DVDs) will become a bigger issue. As for exhibiting movies, trends show that more sophisticated exhibitors will emerge, contractual changes between distributor and exhibitors will change, and strategies for tickets prices may be reevaluated. Read More

Rethinking Marketing’s Conventional Wisdom

Making advertising hard to find is just one way companies are rewriting conventional marketing strategies, says Harvard Business School professor Youngme Moon. Read More

Side Effects: The Case of Propecia

Selling Propecia was a difficult marketing task for Merck & Co., and was recently the subject of a case study debated by Harvard Business School alumni. Read More

How to Avoid a Price Increase

Consumers hate price increases, but what is a company to do when material costs skyrocket? One answer: Think small. Professor John Gourville considers the alternative in this Q&A. Read More

Making Money Making Movies

HBS professor Anita Elberse talks about the state of the international motion picture industry, movie piracy, and how to capture screens in foreign markets. Read More

Is This a Golden Era for Marketing Productivity?

This should be a good time to be a marketer and a consumer as well, suggests Jim Heskett. More focused sales, less waste in advertising, an industry in tune with its best customers. Is this your experience? Do you think marketing has hit its stride? Can it? Closed for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Commodity Busters: Be a Price Maker, Not a Price Taker

Too many businesses are price takers, not price makers. That means they are willing to lower prices to capture market share or to sign up a marquee customer. But Harvard Business School professor Benson P. Shapiro says don't let your ego get in the way of good business sense. Here are seven steps toward naming your own price. Read More

Use the Psychology of Pricing To Keep Customers Returning

When to charge for a product or service can be more important than how much to charge, says Harvard Business School professor John Gourville. If you want to build long-term loyalty with customers, you better understand the difference. Read More

Is Performance-Based Pricing the Right Price for You?

Not every industry or company can benefit from performance-based pricing. But where there is a fit, PBP can be a powerful tool that merges the interests of buyers and sellers, says Harvard Business School professor Benson Shapiro. Read More