Gerald Zaltman: Using Metaphors in Marketing Research to Understand What Consumers are Actually Thinking

Marketing Legends

In this video, Dr. Richard Lutz, J.C. Penney Professor of Marketing at the University of Florida, interviews marketing legend Dr. Gerald Zaltman, Joseph C. Wilson Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School.

Gerald Zaltman has shaped the marketing discipline significantly through his study of metaphors. Metaphors are a natural language – and how most people think and communicate via metaphors. Zaltman views metaphors as the can opener to understand what people are actually thinking and has perfected his techniques to support marketing research.

Gerald Zaltman | A Brief Biography

Gerald Zaltman is the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at the Harvard Business School. He is a co-founder and senior partner in the research based consulting firm of Olson Zaltman Associates whose clients include some of the world’s most respected firms and brands. 

Professor Zaltman’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Forbes, US News & World Report, Time, Fast Company Magazine, American Demographics, and other major publications.  Professor Zaltman is a consultant to corporations around the globe and frequent keynote speaker at major conferences.  He holds three patents for market research tools including the patent on the use of neuroimaging in marketing.  Another patent, ZMET, is used around the world by major firms and international agencies.  It has been described by several writers as the most significant innovation in market research in more than two decades.

Professor Zaltman has authored numerous books in the areas of social change, marketing, and the use of knowledge and has published widely in the major journals in marketing and the social sciences. He is a current or past member of the editorial boards of numerous journals in marketing and the social sciences.  He is a past President of the Association for Consumer Research.

His awards include the AMA McGraw Hill/Irwin Distinguished Marketing Educator Award in 1989, The Association for Consumer Research Distinguished Fellow Award in 1990, the Knowledge Utilization Society's Thomas J. Kiresuk Award for Excellence in Scientific Research in 1992, the JAI Press Distinguished Scholar Award from the Society for Marketing Advances in 2000, the ARF Member Recognition Award in 2007, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Buck Weaver Award sponsored by General Motors in 2008 for outstanding work in bringing knowledge and practice together. He was named an AMA Fellow in 2015.

Professor Zaltman holds a Ph.D in sociology from The Johns Hopkins University, an M.B.A from The University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Bates College. He enjoys photography, boating, and fishing and hiking in Alaska.


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