Two BU Professors Win Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards

in Information Systems, Marketing
September 13th, 2010

Honoring “some of the finest minds from academia”

Chrysanthos Dellarocas and Shuba Srinivasan

Two professors from Boston University School of Management have been honored with 2010 Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards. The awards–designed to enable “some of the finest minds from academia to collaborate with the marketing community and client partners of both WPP and Google”–fund outstanding research in areas such as online and offline media interaction, audience types and engagement, and verticals and new media, according to both WPP and Google.

“The program’s goal is to help some of the finest minds from academia to collaborate with the marketing community.”
–WPP Press Release

Shuba Srinivasan, associate professor of marketing at Boston University School of Management, along with co-authors Koen Pauwels of Dartmouth, Oliver Rutz of Yale, and Randolph Bucklin of UCLA, have been honored for their proposal “Are Audience-Based Online Metrics Leading Indicators of Brand Performance?”

Chrysanthos Dellarocas, associate professor of information systems at Boston University School of Management, with co-author William Rand from the University of Maryland, has been recognized for the study “Media, Aggregators and the Link Economy: An Analytical and Empirical Examination of the Future of Content. “

Says Professor Srinivasan of her project “Are Audience-Based Online Metrics Leading Indicators of Brand Performance?”:

In today’s world the marketing manager’s arsenal goes beyond what is traditionally considered the marketing mix, namely, advertising, price, distribution, and promotion. The consumer’s propensity to buy can no longer be measured by these traditional instruments alone. New measures of consumer behavior have emerged in the form of audience-based online metrics, such as click-through on paid search or online consumer-generated content-based measures.

Still, managers struggle with interpreting changes to such metrics and their relation to sales, as the cause-and-effect relationship among online metrics and traditional brand performance measures is hard to evaluate.

“The cause-and-effect relationship among online metrics and traditional brand performance measures is hard to evaluate.”
-Shuba Srinivasan

We propose to analyze the added explanatory value of including audience-based online metrics in a sales response model that already accounts for short- and long-term effects of traditional marketing mix. To this end, we investigate the relationships among “behavioral” intermediate measures, such as click-through, and “attitudinal” intermediate metrics, such as brand liking. We want to address questions such as: “Does including audience-based online metrics add explanatory power to a sales response model that already includes marketing mix actions?” “What is the causal relationship between online marketing efforts (including banner ads, organic and paid search), intermediate audience-based brand metrics (e.g., click-through), and brand performance (e.g., brand revenues)?”

“We aim to strengthen marketers’ case for building share in customers’ hearts and minds, as measured through customer online engagement.”
–Shuba Srinivasan

Ultimately, the objective of our research is to investigate whether audience-based online metrics could be used to improve sales response models. Overall, we aim to help strengthen marketers’ case for building share in customers’ hearts and minds, as measured through customer online engagement.

In explaining his research proposal, “Media, Aggregators and the Link Economy: An Analytical and Empirical Examination of the Future of Content,” Professor Dellarocas says:

The debate between content aggregators and content creators is raging and may soon reach the courts, or even the US Congress. The appropriation of advertising and other revenues associated with site traffic is a key point of contention. This important debate has so far involved CEOs, bloggers, consultants, and lawyers, but almost no academics.

We want to fill this gap with what we believe is the first rigorous attempt to model the micro and macro level implications of hyper-linking and content aggregation for content industries, marketing managers, and consumers. Our aim is to provide a scientific framework that can help assess the implications of the diverse strategies and policy interventions that are currently on the table.

“The appropriation of advertising and other revenues associated with site traffic is a key point of contention”
–Chrysanthos Dellarocas

To conquer the inherent complexity of the settings we study, we follow a three-pronged approach that consists of game-theoretic modeling, agent-based simulation, and data analysis. Our first round of modeling has uncovered some key insights and parameters whose value qualitatively affects the nature of the predicted outcomes and their normative implications.

“This important debate has so far involved CEOs, bloggers, consultants, and lawyers, but almost no academics”
-Chrysanthos Dellarocas

Now, with the Google and WPP award, we will expand on our initial work, with an emphasis on empirically estimating some of the key parameters that our initial modeling work has uncovered, as well as on developing empirically validated models of the consumer-level processes of news and associated advertising consumption in settings with aggregators.

More about the 2010 Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards.