2018 Winter AMA Special Sessions

Monica Gerhardt
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Key Takeaways
A selection of special session summaries.  Review all conference content at ama.org/winter.

The 2018 AMA Winter Academic Conference Co-Chairs have created their event around the theme "Integrating Paradigms in a World Where Marketing is Everywhere."  This is exemplified in the program itself, which contains over 100 sessions from a wide array of perspectives. For full details about all sessions, please review the conference program.

To aid in navigating the expansive conference, below you will find a selection of special session summaries:

Friday 1:00 pm - Marketing in a Digital World
The papers presented in this session will present a number of solutions for various challenges in the digital world, including:

  • How firms can leverage their knowledge on customer retention and uncertainty when navigating the freemium pricing paradigm and how they can optimally monetize freemium apps. (Gil Appel, Barak Libai, Eitan Muller, Ron Shachar)
  • How online content publishers access the value of embracing different types of user-generated content (e.g., discussion forums, albums, blogs) in terms of retaining consumers and generating page views in professionally generated content. (Inyoung Chae, David A. Schweidel, Theodoros Evgenious, V. Padmanabhan)
  • How online multiscreening activity by television viewers can be leveraged to investigate the effectiveness of traditional television media and how two prevalent types of television media – advertisements and product placement – can work synergistically to influence customer behavior. (Beth Fossen, David A. Schweidel)
  • How free samples of entire content (as in freemium), rather than being substitutes, can be effective in increasing revenues and how this effect varies across the quality of the sample and the popularity of the content. (Alice Li, Sanjay Jain, P.K. Kannan)

1:00 pm - Driving New Product and Service Development via Customer Co-Creation
These projects provide important new insights into a broad range of interesting and relevant substantive topics such as the designer-level characteristics that influence an individual’s ability to successfully co-create new product offerings (Matthew O’Hern, Billur Akdeniz, and Shuili Du), the dynamic interplay between new product co-creation, peer-to-peer interaction, and personal consumption among co-creators (Keith Marion Smith, John Hulland, Yifei Wang, and Andrew Stephen), the environmental factors that limit/enhance a firm’s ability to evaluate and utilize new service ideas generated via crowdsourcing (Jeff S. Johnson, Gregory J. Fisher, and Scott B. Friend), as well as how consumers’ direct exposure to 3D printing technology influences their subsequent new product evaluations and behavior (Aric Rindfleisch and Hyewon Cho). This session also brings together a diverse set of methodological approaches for gathering and analyzing research data including large scale web scraping and panel data analysis, lab experiments, and surveys of experienced practitioners.

Relational, Governance, and Learning Mechanisms for Managing Marketing Exchanges
Anne T. Coughlan, Manfred Krafft, and Julian Allendorf examine the dual roles of independent distributors in direct selling channels where distributors must both sell the product to the customer and recruit other independent distributors. Mengzhou Zhuang, Ju-Yeon Lee, Eric Fang, and Irina Kozlenkova investigate the unique conditions of mobile transactions and how customer relationships vary in this channel. Harrison B. Pugh, Colleen Harmeling, Robert W. Palmatier, and Michael K. Brady propose that identifying the different psychological states of customer defectors and targeting communication to these states can improve relationship repair and reacquisition.

Governance Mechanisms in Managing Marketing Exchange
Stefan Wuyts and Kenneth H. Wathne provide a conceptual overview of network governance focusing on interfirm structure and its ability to hinder or facilitate social behaviors essential to exchange relationships. Andrew T. Crecelius, Son K. Lam, Justin M. Lawrence, Ju-Yeon Lee, and Lisa K. Scheer investigate the role of intrafirm customer-centric structure as a governance tool that influences both downstream (sales interactions with customers) and upstream (negotiations with suppliers) relationships. Sandy Jap, Rick Breisch, Jakki Thomas, and Bill Dillon propose that different channel structures (multichannel, omnichannel) can dictate B2B customers’ buying behavior based on customers’ need states.

Learning Mechanisms in Managing Marketing Exchange
Anna S. Cui and Christine Moorman identify alliance terminations as a learning opportunity that can reduce future terminations. Conditions influencing the degree to which termination learn by doing occur are tested. Kersi D. Antia, Moeen Butt, Kenneth H. Wathne, Robert Fisher, and Xin Wang examine the use of branding strategies for insulating firms from the effects of crises. Argha Sen, Alok Kumar, and Aric Rindfleisch examine improvisation as a potentially effective learning strategy for building product development alliances when there are shared competencies and history between partners.

Friday, 2:30 pm – Managing Effective Sales Forces
Madhu Viswanathan and co-researchers use a field experiment to study the interplay between incentives and control at various levels of a sales organization including sales people and sales managers. Michael Ahearne and colleagues showcase the challenges, the headwinds in their terminology, faced by organizations (and sales people) as they navigate the dizzying array of digital sales opportunities. George John and colleagues use a field experiment to explore the role of incentives for a hybrid sales force where an internal service group identifies and evaluates sales prospects and hands over potential opportunities to the field sales force for generating sales. Finally, Mrinal Ghosh and co-researchers use proprietary data obtained from multiple firms to study the complementarity between delegating (or centralizing) two essential tasks undertaken by field sales forces – those that create value (identifying and cultivating customers; offering customer-centric solutions, etc.) and claim value (pricing).

2:30 pm – The Three Pillars of Marketing Strategy: Innovation, Metrics and Organization
This session presents cutting-edge research and insights on the three pillars of marketing strategy: innovation, marketing metrics and marketing organization. Such a session is especially timely given the key role of these three aspects of marketing strategy on the performance outcomes of firms. Each of the four papers in this special session, authored by leading marketing scholars in the marketing strategy area focus on innovation (Gerard Tellis; Simone Wies and Christine Moorman), marketing metrics (Gaia Rubera, Paola Cillo and Francesco Balocco) and marketing organization (Leigh McAlister, Raji Srinivasan, Jade DeKinder and Ty Henderson). Essentially, these leading scholars and thought leaders typify the paradigm of doing relevant research with rigor on topics relevant to marketing scholarship and business practice.

2:30 p.m. - On the Role of Crowds in Funding, Finding, and Flogging Innovations
This session was created to provide a forum for the analysis of crowd-based platforms, i.e., platforms in which participants from all over the world get together to compete in crowdsourcing contests or to jointly “crowdfund” interesting projects.

  • Presentation 1 analyzes whether prior success and productivity are positively or negatively related to future success. They find that prior success is positively related to future success and productivity should be encouraged selectively. (Christian Pescher,  Gerard J. Tellis, Johann Füller)
  • In presentation 2 the researchers analyze whether current laissez-faire regulation of price advertising claims (PACs) on Kickstarter is sufficient to protect consumers. Consumers of PAC campaigns pay more when buying on Kickstarter, other consumers pay less. (Daniel Blaseg, Christian Schulze, Bernd Skiera)
  • In presentation 3 the focus is on the characteristics of fraudsters in crowdfunding: they are less likely to carry out repeat funding campaigns and to have a social media presence, but more likely to provide confusing campaign pitches. (Douglas Cumming, Lars Hornuf, Moein Karami, Dennis Schweitzer)
  • Presentation 4 analyzes whether observers of crowdfunding campaigns show greater demand for this product than for products using alternative entrepreneurial financing options. They find that observers are likely to prefer crowdfunded products; this relationship is mediated by consumers’ quality inferences about the product. (Oguz A. Acar, Christoph Fuchs, Martin Schreier)

Friday, 4:00 pm - Special Interest Group (SIG) Best Practice Sharing Session
This session targets AMA members currently in SIG leadership roles, and will facilitate best practice sharing regarding SIG leadership, programming and networking. Distinguished panelists including Ray Fiske, Charlie Hofacker, Deborah MacInnis, Ellen Pullins and Anne Roggeveen will provide several examples of best practice over the years. Round table discussions across various SIGs will follow the panel. 

4:00 p.m. - Managing and Adapting to Changes in Consumer Demand
Bringing together diverse, but high-quality papers around the themes of innovation and consumer demand. The diverse papers present solutions in different areas, for example helping online retailers in designing websites for effective customer experiences, tourism companies in assessing the impact of terror-related demand shocks, publicly listed firms in using marketing spending and the reporting of marketing spending as an instrument to manage demand expectations, or crowdfunding managers in qualifying social network effects.

Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - International Brand Trust, Value, Equity, and Structure: Global and Local Insights, Developments, and Prospects
This special session was motivated by the ongoing importance of brands, branding, and brand management in the international marketplace and the relative dearth of focused research emphasizing the topic. As a result, researchers from several countries focusing on international branding were gathered and will present their research on this important topic. In effect, their work examines the relationships between companies and customers that brands are known to signify on an international scale. Thus, this special session contributes to the enduring importance of studying brands within a global setting.

8:00 am - Field Experiments in Marketing
In a digitally enabled world, it is becoming increasingly feasible to conduct large-scale field experiments. The objective of the special session is to present multiple papers that use field experiments to introduce the methodology to a wider audience. The first two papers (Garrett A. Johnson, Randall A. Lewis, and Elmar I. Nubbemeyer; Navdeep Sahni, Sridhar Narayanan, and Kirthi Kalyanam) focus on digital contexts and leverage big data; the third paper (Stephen J. Anderson, Pradeep Chintagunta, Naufel Vilcassim) reports on a large-scale field experiment conducted in an emerging market setting. This session should be of interest to all researchers and practitioners wanting to learn more about field experiments by providing insights into the kinds of research questions that are best explored with different types of experimental designs.

Saturday, 9:30 am - Special Panel on Emerging Topics: Connected Consumers and Social Media
The rise of social media and connected consumers has created both new opportunities and challenges for marketing research. Consumers activities on mobile devices and social media has created new sources of data with the potential for new insights into consumer behavior. At the same time, these activities have raised a number of challenges and questions for marketers and society as a whole. In this special section, a panel of leading marketing academics (Jeff Inman, Wendy W. Moe, Zoey Chen, Derek D. Rucker, and Andrew Stephen) from modeling and consumer behavior sides of the field will discuss important topics related to such challenges and how cross-methods collaboration can further our knowledge of connected consumers.

9:30 am - How the Decision Context Influences Food and Health Choices
With obesity rates rising worldwide, understanding how consumers make food choices and how marketing can contribute to healthier eating are crucial issues. We will highlight recent evidence-based solutions from the field, and show how marketing can be used to both understand consumer choice and shape healthier eating in the marketplace.  We will discuss recent findings from our research and how to translate theory into practice. An example includes how insights from our research can be used to design better menu labels and to improve supermarket layouts to help consumers make better food decisions. 

9:30 a.m. - Marketing Responses to Public Policy Crises
We believe that public policy issues are underserved by the academic marketing community, and want to share important results regarding public safety, justice, and political discourse. In this session, we describe a solution to the problem of finding lead pipes in Flint (Eric Schwartz); an example of racial disparity in enforcement of criminal statues (Michael Braun); and evidence of the relative ineffectiveness of PAC-sponsored negative advertising (Yanwen Wang). Marketing researchers can contribute to solutions for problems outside the scope of traditional marketing contexts.  Managers will be interested in how cutting-edge quantitative and statistical methods can be applied to policy problems, and other marketing issues broadly defined.

9:30 a.m. - The Link between Sales and Firm Performance: Influence Factors from Inside and Outside the Firm
As sales is one of the biggest drivers of a company’s future (financial) performance, there are conditions inside and outside the firm that can impact this bond. The four papers presented provide a closer look on these influence factors: 

  1. under which conditions the sales funnel performance predicts the company’s performance (Janina-Vanessa Schneider, Christian Schmitz, Jan Wieseke),
  2. how sales force downsizing influences financial market outcomes and how investor screening variables may moderate this link (Nick Panagopoulos, Ryan Mullins, Panagiotis Avramidis),
  3. how a new appointment to a joint Marketing and Sales Position may affect the firm value (Shashank (Sash) Vaid, Michael Ahearne, Ryan Krause),
  4. and how a customer on the board of directors impacts financial performance. (Raghu Ram Bommaraju, Michael Ahearne, Seshadri Tirunilla)

Saturday, 11:00 am - Keeping It Real in Experimental Research— An Interactive Special Session to Understand When, Where, and How to Enhance Realism and Measure Consumer Behavior
The session outlines a two dimensional framework for analyzing research styles and research design decisions. It proposes that viewing research through the lens of hypothetical vs. real behavior and artificial vs. realistic research components (e.g., IVs, DVs, contexts and setting) enables researchers to better tailor their experimental designs towards meeting their research goals. To facilitate this, the session provides guiding principles as well as practical examples, and an interactive discussion aimed at informing participants and guiding their thinking.

Saturday, 2:00 p.m. - Marketing’s Contribution to the Successful Engagement of Key Stakeholders
This session offers unique insights regarding how marketing decisions allow the firm to develop, grow and leverage long-term market-based assets that enable it to create, capture and sustain value, and enhance shareholder wealth. Specifically, the different presentations explore the relationships between (1) marketing and investors, (2) marketing and customers, and (3) marketing and alliance partners, and how these ultimately impact the firm’s financial performance. The four presentations in this session, each delve into one aspect of holistic marketing orientation – relationship marketing (e.g., customers, partners, channels, etc.), integrated marketing (e.g., branding, communications, channels, etc.), internal marketing (e.g., top management team, senior management, other departments, etc.) and performance marketing (e.g., accounting, financial, brand and customer equity, ethics, community, etc.) – and demonstrate how they serve as critical antecedents of superior firm performance.

2:00 p.m. - Observational Studies
Primarily, across the studies we have conducted, a primary application of observational studies for managers is the ability to understand and respond to changing marketplace conditions. For example, Amber Epp’s work suggests a framework based, in part, on observational data that outlines how marketers should respond to social change (e.g., shifting cultural categories such as gender). In a study with Uber riders and drivers, Markus Giesler explains how the cultivation of consumer empathy can help platform businesses manage consumer risks. Michelle F. Weinberger’s observational work in the context of Mardi Gras informs managers on intracommunity gifting as a distinct form of gift exchange that foregrounds the moral economy. Finally, Donna Hoffman and Tom Novak’s research on the internet of things offers implications for marketing researchers and managers who want to understand the changing relationship between consumers and objects.

2:00 p.m. - Artificial Intelligence and Service
Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere in service, and is the primary source of service innovation (Rust and Huang 2014). The AI revolution is well underway in marketing, with many Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) expecting AI to have a significant impact on marketing and communications, even more so than social media (Conick 2016). Despite the recognition of the AI-enabled service revolution, there is limited academic research addressing the questions of to what degree and in which ways can and should AI perform service marketing tasks. We hope that from this special session, we can provide implications as to how managers can design AI-enabled service marketing strategies. For example, segment the market into segments having either stronger preferences for human or machine service, have both humans and machines provide service, have machines provide service, have machines enhance service labor, have machines enhance service labor connectivity for collective intelligence.

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. - Psychology in Sport Marketing
Authors in this special session provide insights into the role of psychology in sports marketing within the topics of reputation management, customer journeys, coproduction and innovation. Joon Sung Lee and Katherine Babiak use an experiment to determine how an athlete’s historical commitment and fit with philanthropic activity can assist them in overcoming blows to their reputation. Fabian Nindl, Cordula Cerha and Peter Schnedlitz conducted over 300 interviews to learn more about how complexity and channel preference in the customer journey affects sensitivity to retailing trends. Gillian Oakenfull identifies co-production, perhaps best observed among soccer fans, as playing a significant role in live sport attendance. Finally, Hwayong Son and Minyeong Son investigate self-construal effects in innovative adoption of sport products.

3:30 p.m. - Strategic Use of Technology by Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
This session identifies and explores the various uses of technology by store retailers, including those that may be considered as low-tech and others that are quite sophisticated. Technologies that offer clear strategic benefits are distinguished from those that only contribute to operational efficiencies such as cost-reductions. Particular elaboration is provided on the strategic benefits of mobile technologies, including mobile apps and in-store kiosks. Moreover, insights are provided on the types of consumers more likely to use mobile phones while shopping. Also, extensions of the TCP/IP protocols to customer interaction terminals (kiosks) within the store as well as future applications are offered.

3:30 p.m. - Modeling Firm’s Customer Engagement Strategies Across Domains
This special session brings together different empirical models, each that enables firms to investigate and analyze their customer engagement strategies. The special session starts with empirical models aimed at engaging customers through products, used to study new product development and introduction, and continues to customer retention strategies such as loyalty programs and grace period strategies.

3:30 p.m. - AMA New Horizons Faculty Consortium in Selling and Sales Management: The Next Generation
The 2018 AMA New Horizons Faculty Consortium in Selling and Sales Management will take place in August at Oklahoma State University, organized by Greg Marshall. This special session at the AMA Winter Educators Conference in New Orleans aims to bring together multigenerational sales academics for a pre-consortium conversation about priorities, changes, needed content, and other future-oriented elements of the field as well as share a bit of the history of the event and offer a “teaser” about the August 2018 offering in Boston, MA. The results of the special session will not only help managers understand the critical trends in sales research and education, but also what bridges academics and practitioners can build to facilitate productive collaborations. For example, it is important to understand and better prepare the next generation of sales professionals with sound research and education to address the evolution of digital and inside sales.

3:30 p.m. - Product Recall Strategies: Toward A Theoretical Base and Empirical Evidence
The order of the four presentations in the session proceed from specific empirical evidence on a variety of recall-related strategies to a more general theoretical perspective. Using the context of the medical devices, Raji Srinivasan and Verdiana Giannetti identify specific conditions under which the presence of a marketing CEO in the firm helps firms reduce the incidence of product recalls. In the context of automotive recalls, Shanker Ganesan, Yong Liu, Yubo Chen and Jorge D. Martinez examine product recall characteristics that impact the likelihood and favorableness of recall media coverage across multiple media including newspapers, online media, and television. Importantly, they offer evidence on how firms’ public-relations strategies (e.g., making a public apology) can shape these effects. Next, Fangfei Guo, Yan (Lucy) Liu and Haipeng (Allan) Chen cast a wide net by identifying product characteristics that determine whether an auto recall yields positive or negative spillover effect on competitors. Vivek Astvansh, Kersi D. Antia, and Gerald J. Tellis present a conceptual framework comprising the multitude of marketing strategies that recall-announcing firms and their competitors can undertake in the aftermath of the recall, and the drivers and performance consequences of such strategies.

3:30 p.m. - Machine Learning about Consumer: Applications
In this session, presenters will explain a wide variety of sophisticated techniques in a way that all attendees can understand, and the session demonstrates the wide range of marketing and consumer applications of machine learning, broadly defined, with four examples:
a.    How publicly available healthcare information affects consumer's healthcare choices. (Zijun Shi, Xiao Liu, Kannan Srinivasan)
b.    How consumers’ psychological characteristics can be accurately predicted from the digital footprints they leave with every step they take in the digital environment (e.g., their Facebook Likes, Tweets, or browsing histories). (Gideon Nave, Sandra Matz, Michal Kosinksi, David Stillwell)
c.    An application of morphing, involving automatically matching marketing instruments to latent consumer segments, based on Bayesian updating of consumer-segment estimates from the observed clickstream. (Shane Wang, Xi Li, Jacob Goldenberg, Lev Muchnik)
d.    How we can use machine learning (neural networks) to photo mine two datasets of online reviews (TripAdvisor and Yelp) to empirically investigate the effects of photos on online review helpfulness. (Gui Liberali, John Hauser, Glen Urban)

3:30 p.m. - The Nexus of the Marketing Phenomena and Legal Theories
Recently, scholars have assessed the role and interplay of the legal environment and marketing strategies and processes. In most studies, these topics are examined from the traditional economic “efficiency” paradigm, according to which regulations and laws are evaluated based upon their effect on the costs of transactions in the market place. However, the ubiquitous relationship between marketing and legal fields imply more than one path. Recent advancements in the legal and organizational literatures clearly demonstrate that marketing actions may shape legal environment and policies are changed in response to new market phenomena.


Sunday, 8:00 a.m. - Exploring the Importance of Imagination on Consumption Processes and Market Dynamics
Together, the solutions presented in this session offer a range of perspectives on imagination spanning various levels of analysis - including both at the level of the individual consumer and the aggregate level of the market. Presentation 1 explores the understanding of how consumers employ imagination to understand consumption desires and everyday consumption decision-making (Kimberley Mosher and Peter A. Dacin). Presentation 2 uses imagination to understand how consumers construct cohesive self-narratives through past and present experiences to connect to future consumption goals (Anna J. Vredeveld and Jeffrey R. Carlson). Presentation 3 illustrates how markets are constructed around the ways individuals imagine their technology-infused future existence (Alex Mitchell and Jay M. Handelman).

Sunday, 11:00 am - Exploring new phenomena in marketing strategy
The overall goal of this session is to introduce unique and noteworthy theoretical questions related to employee and customer engagement and to highlight the importance this stream of research has on enhancing marketing strategy for marketing theory and practice. While marketers agree that engagement (both employee and customer) is a key marketing strategy to enhance firm performance, less is known about the contextual factors that influence this relationship. The four papers being presented in this session attempt to provide a nuanced understanding of how engagement works (or doesn’t work) in specific settings such as in the salesforce (Ashley Goreczny and V. Kumar), in online settings (Sarang Sunder, Kihyun Hannah Kim and Eric Yorkston), in the sharing economy (V. Kumar, Avishek Lahiri, and Orhan Bahadir Dogan) as well as in a mobile space (V. Kumar, Nandini Nim, and Amalesh Sharma).ab 2 of 3.

Author Bio:

Monica Gerhardt
Manager, Integrated Academic Content
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