Academic SIGs Shine at Winter AMA 2016

Matt Weingarden, Curator
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Richard Lutz, University of Florida, receives CB SIG Lifetime Achievement
Key Takeaways
AMA SIGs organized numerous special sessions at Winter AMA 2016.

The AMA's Academic Special Interest Groups (SIGs) help members navigate the broad AMA's broad membership and identify fellow scholars with shared research interests and teaching focus areas. The SIGs are formal groups organized around a common interest area, offering the opportunity for ongoing interaction among professionals regarding a certain topic At Winter AMA 2016​, a dozen SIGs were represented supporting pre-conference programming, holding networking receptions and honoring members for lifetime and early career achievements. 

Numerous SIGs also organized special sessions that were scheduled throughout the conference programming making it easier for members of multiple SIGs to attend numerous SIG special sessions. SIG leaders provided synopses of the session and the AMA staff has curated this information for members of the academic community. 

Global Marketing Special Interesting Group

The session, Global Marketing: Contemporary Developments, Challanges, and Opportunities, featured presentations from four excellent international marketing studies and discussed contemporary research developments that can help firms maintain and upgrade their competitive advantages in the global marketplace. V. Kumar and A. Pansari presented insights as to how cultural and economic factors can affect Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and how customer purchasing behavior can be analyzed and predicted.  Their framework is generalizable and can help companies maximize profits in multiple international markets. T. Thongpapanl and A.R. Ashraf drew on data from more than 1,500 m-commerce users across seven countries and showed how a consumer’s technology readiness, habit, and cultural characteristics can influence m-commerce usage behavior. B. Chabowski, S. Samiee, and G.T.M. Hult reviewed 817 cross-national research articles across international business, sociology, and psychology domains. Using metric multidimensional scaling, they categorized findings under international, national, subnational, and individual themes, and presented important multilevel cross-national opportunities for relationship marketing and entry mode research.  Finally, M. Hultman, C.S. Katsikeas, and N. Morgan focused on the international marketing standardization-adaptation debate, provided new insights on the moderating role of firm characteristics on the efficacy of strategy fit on export venture performance, and showed how over-adapting versus under-adapting can lead to detrimental and differential effects.

The special session highlighted new contributions in Organizational Frontlines Research (OFR), defined as the study of interactions and interfaces at the point-of-contact that promote, facilitate, or enable the exchange of valued resources between an organization and its customers.  Significant, novel changes in the nature and reach of frontline interactions and interfaces are reshaping how organizations connect with their customers, and the three presentations in this session outlined the forward-thinking contours of OFR changes.  Jenny van Doorn summarized her team’s research on Artificial Social Presence (ASP) of robots in service experiences exemplified by embodied humanoids and robotic personal assistants.  This study explores the conditions under which ASP promotes social cognitions of warmth and competence, as well as enables consumers’ psychological ownership to enhance engagement and loyalty.  Taking this idea further, Stefan Sleep and Thorsten Hennig-Thurau outlined their team’s research on Big Data and its role in managing organizational frontlines.  Organizational capabilities and impediments that are critical to extracting insights for frontlines using the vast amounts of data generated from the frontlines is the focus of this contribution.  Finally, Arun Sharma and Clay Voorhees shared their team’s contribution on the changing nature of, and integration across the sales and service interface using a multi-level lens.  Advances in frontline ambidexterity, this contribution asserts, are disrupting conventional service and sales roles up and down the hierarchy, and situating new roles that bend our current thinking of sales and service interfaces in bold and unpredictable ways.  The promise and challenges of OFR as a field of inquiry is well represented in these diverse yet connected contributions.

Services Marketing Special Interesting Group

In Managing Services for Better Outcomes: Evolving Topics in Service Research, presenters noted that service markets are becoming increasingly competitive, warranting a deeper understanding of how services can be managed to ensure customer attraction and retention. The special session on services contributed to the understanding of several content areas, including topics that covered the service provider (conspicuous consumption and revealing too much information), the customer (goals and emotions and their link to satisfaction), and the firm (pricing of hybrid bundles). The session investigated the key questions of: how do consumers perceive frontline service providers and what implications does this have for the firm? What role do consumers’ emotions and goals play in service consumption across channels? How do consumers react to prices of hybrid bundles?

Key Take-aways:

  • In a hybrid bundle setting, the price of the service dominates the price of the good and plays a crucial role in the demand of both the good and the service.

  • Consumers’ goals and selection of a channel, as well as the evoked emotions, influence their entire channel experience.

  • First impressions about conspicuous service providers are crucial, because they can influence the subsequent relationship. Norms influence whether customers perceive conspicuous service employees favorably.

  • If a service employee has revealed personally vulnerable information, customers inflate ratings of service employees after a service failure— causing firms to get inaccurate feedback about their employees.

Sport & Sponsorship-Linked Marketing Special Interest Group

Building on a well-attended special session at the Summer AMA 2015 and group outing to the Cubs-White Sox game in Chicago, SPORTSIG hosted two special sessions, entitled Utilizing Experimental Designs to Assess the Impact of Evolving Trends on Sport Consumers and Social Media’s Evolving Role in Sports Marketing and Athlete Endorsement, chaired by SPORTSIG Vice Chair Kirk Wakefield.

The first session featured sport marketing researchers from four different countries (Germany, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S.), each of which utilized innovative experimental designs to explore sport consumer behavior (i.e., sport fans) across a variety of contexts, including video games and the television broadcasts of sports events.

The second session, tied to the conference theme of assessing the impact of new trends in digital marketing and technology, included four papers that investigated sport marketing in the context of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Several examined how athletes and the organization they are affiliated with are creating value for sponsoring firms in today’s fragmented media environment, such as ephemeral social media and online sponsorship activation strategies.

Teaching & Learning Special Interest Group 

In Teaching and Learning Creatively: Stimulating Student Engagement, three presenters shared techniques for integrating in-class experiential learning to create an innovative marketing curriculum. Jane Sojka focused on how to engage students enrolled in large sections of principles of marketing. Her insights were used to expand and promote one of the university’s least popular courses in the marketing curriculum: professional selling. To overcome students’ fear of selling, Jane developed an innovative in-class activity that mimicked the sales process such as prospecting and networking. As a result of this innovation, enrollment in this subject has experienced a 400% growth in four years and the numbers of course sections offered has increased from two per semester to as many as six each semester.

Spencer Ross addressed the use of technology in the classroom by incorporating a third-party application called Slack to improve the learning experience.  Given students dislike of Blackboard, Slack offers a new and different way for student/professor communication which can be deeper and non-intrusive.  Slack provides a way to use social media in the classroom, lowers a professor’s inbox and texts, and fosters dialogue outside the classroom. 

Christy Ashley provided insights on the use of storyscaping as a way to help students be active learners, critical thinkers, and more effective decision-makers.  Students were asked to bring a retail story to life using a physical pop-up store that was open for four hours (and a $50 budget). They developed a marketing plan, implemented it, and reported the results in a “Shark Tank” style presentation. The team that told the most compelling story, complete with key marketing metrics, earned the greatest investment in the fundraising concept from our local sharks. Profits, including the “investment” from the sharks, were delivered to the charities selected by the students.

A second session, Teaching Marketing via Coursera, examined the digitization of higher education via presentations by three marketing faculty: David Bell from the University of Pennsylvania, Aric Rindfleisch from the University of Illinois, Raj Raghunathan from the University of Texas. Each have developed and taught courses via Coursera, the world's largest learning platform. Each presenter provided an overview of their course, their thoughts about Coursera, and helpful advice for faculty considering teaching on this platform. Following these presentations, Kurt Apen, Coursera's CMO, provided a summary of each presentation and thoughts about the future of Coursera in specific and higher education in general. 

There were three key takeaways from this session: 

  • The Coursera platform is expanding rapidly

  • Very few marketing faculty have experience with this platform

  • Those who have taught on this platform find it very rewarding and highly recommend it.

Author Bio:

Matt Weingarden, Curator
Matt Weingarden is AMA's Community Content, Senior Manager
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