Revisit: Mobile Platforms


A reminder about the Marketing Science Institute's research competition on mobile platforms, location-based services, and their impact on consumers; Deadline 30 Apr


To stimulate new thinking, the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) is sponsoring a research competition on mobile platforms, location-based services, and their impact on consumers. We anticipate awarding 10-12 research grants ranging from $5,000-$20,000 to support high-quality empirical research on critical questions in this area.


There is a widespread expectation that while mobile devices currently absorb a small part of marketing spending, they have game-changing implications for marketing in the future. This research competition is intended to provoke exploration of these implications.

Whether mobile device users are communicating with others, consuming digital content, acquiring information, alerting others to their location, engaging in transactions, or posting content to be consumed by others, they are creating an “electronic trail” that lends itself to modeling and analysis and ultimately, to a better understanding of customers and more effective marketing. By enabling consumers to carry the full power of the Internet and Internet-delivered services with them, mobile devices/services empower consumers, potentially shifting the balance of power between firms/retailers/institutions and individuals.

We are not primarily interested in the technology, except to the extent that it constrains or enables marketing uses. We are particularly interested in how devices change the way lives are lived and markets operate. For example, we would like to see research that studies how mobile computing alters decision processes, whether by changing access to information, by enabling information manipulation, or by social sharing. We would be interested in the mobile device as a way for suppliers or retailers to reach consumers, as a decision-making tool, as a tool for consumers to reach out to suppliers and retailers, as a response vehicle for market research, as a device for marketplace observation and tracking, or as a medium for social influence.

Without limiting the scope of possible studies, other topics that would be of interest include:

  • Innovative uses of mobile devices and location-based services – and the data they generate – to gather and construct consumer insights
  • How the mobile platform plays a role in shopper marketing (e.g., mobile coupons, showrooming)
  • Mobile display advertising effects and processes
  • Mobile paid search compared to PC-based paid search
  • Mobile devices in measuring and motivating goal progress and setbacks
  • Complementarity and substitution between mobile and fixed computing
  • Comparing mobile use by children and adults


Proposals must be received by April 30, 2013. Funding decisions will be announced by June 30, 2013.

Research proposals must address an important problem with a balance of rigor and relevance. Proposals are encouraged to draw upon diverse theoretical perspectives and methodologies. Studies may be conceptual, analytical, or empirical; and they may involve combinations of methodological approaches including literature reviews, comparative studies, observational and ethnographic studies, naturalistic, laboratory, or field experiments, and so forth. They should provide insights regarding customers, firms, markets, or contributions of marketing to organizational performance, consumer or societal welfare


The panel of reviewers evaluating submissions includes:

  • John Deighton, Harvard University (Chair)
  • Donna Hoffman, University of California Riverside
  • Jeff Inman, University of Pittsburgh
  • Don Lehmann, Columbia University
  • Russ Winer, New York University

Funding decisions will also be guided by an advisory committee of industry experts.

Submission Guidelines

While there are no formal guidelines for formatting proposals, submissions should include:

  • A one-page summary.
  • A clear statement of the expected contribution to marketing theory and/or practice.
  • A brief background section introducing the research problem and, if necessary, a succinct summary of the relevant literature and theory-base for predictions. (Note: An expanded literature review may be included as an appendix.)
  • A list of research questions, models, or hypotheses describing the issues to be studied, the researchers’ initial insights or beliefs, and what should be learned from the study.
  • A detailed description of the proposed research design, methodology, model to be used, if any, analysis plan, etc. Methodological details will play a key role in the evaluation process.
  • Pilot data or preliminary findings.
  • A timetable with dates of key research milestones, deliverables, and expected completion date.
  • Funding or support needs (typically, an itemized budget).
  • Research partners (if any) and their expertise (e.g., partner companies, with letters of support).
  • Vita(e) and full contact information for all of the researchers involved in the work.

Proposals must be no more than 12 double-spaced pages, including tables, figures, exhibits, budget, and timetable, however the summary, references, and vita(e) will not be counted toward the 12-page limit.

Applicants can include an optional appendix with supplemental information that might help reviewers evaluate the proposal. The appendix is intended to accommodate unusual situations that warrant additional information concerning questionnaires or research materials, sampling plan, theoretical work, literature review, statistical analyses, modeling plans, or datasets to be used.

E-mail submissions to – Ross Rizley, Research Director, Marketing Science Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Telephone: 617.491.2060. Please indicate that your submission is in response to this Call. MSI also welcomes proposals on other topics. Please refer to for further information.

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