Execs Vote on Top Research Needs in Marketing
Every two years marketing executives from more than 60 corporate members of the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) vote on the most important marketing topics they need to understand better. They represent companies like Kraft, Colgate-Palmolive, Bank of America, Nielsen, and Walmart. MSI—a think tank, of sorts, whose mission is to “bridge the academic and business worlds in marketing” then solicits research proposals from academics of all stripes to fund and publish basic research on these topics.
They have just voted on the critical topics for funding over the next two years. The two most important priorities (the Tier 1 Priorities) they landed on are:
1. Understanding Customers and the Customer Experience
2. Developing Marketing Analytics for a Data-Rich Environment
And quoting form MSI, here is are the topics within each area needing research:
Understanding Customers and the Customer Experience
- What new customer behaviors have emerged in a multi-media, multi-screen, and multi-channel environment?
- How do social media and digital technology change customer experiences and the consumer path to purchase? What are the best ways to model the consumer decision journey? Are other models more appropriate than the decision funnel?
- How should engagement be conceptualized, defined, and measured? How do social media and other marketing activities create engagement?
- What is the role of habit and inertia in consumer decision making?
- How and at what points do emotions affect consumer decisions? How are they triggered?
- How should qualitative and quantitative methods be combined to understand the total customer experience?
Developing Marketing Analytics for a Data-Rich Environment
- What analytic skills will be required in an increasingly data-rich environment? How can organizations improve analytics capabilities to make better business decisions and implement them enterprise wide?
- What are the next steps in the evolution of marketing mix modeling and predictive analytics? How can organizations evaluate the appropriateness of new techniques?
- How can causality of marketing activities be inferred in data-rich environments? What is the appropriate role of experimentation?
- How can new analytical methods be developed to gain greater insights from unstructured data (e.g., social media)?
- What methods can be used to make real-time decisions in a data-rich environment? What are scalable methods to analyze large amounts of data?
- How should individual-level data be used to build more powerful customer-level marketing programs?
These sound right on target to me. They reflect the issues that we wrestle with every day at Versta Research, and they sound like the issues clients come to us with every day. So even if you’re not a member of MSI, it is worth paying close attention to what they do. As we learn more from the research efforts funded within these areas, we’ll be sure to share them with you here as well!