The Marketing Department hosted the 2015 VOYA Global Colloquium, Research Mobile Marketing on April 10. The colloquium provides the great opportunity for researchers to gather and discuss research in the growing areas of social media, mobile marketing, and digital analytics. Faculty and Ph.D. students along with the vice president for Voya Financial Services enjoyed a day of presentations from some of the most distinguished scholars in marketing: David Bell, Adam Brasel, Sam Ransbotham and Andrew Stephen.
David Bell (Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania) spoke on Inventory Showrooms and Customer Migration in Omni-channel Retail: The Effect of Product Information. This study proposes that given the opportunity, customers self-select into channels based on their need for visceral product information, i.e., the need to touch, feel, and sample physical products before purchasing. As such, customers with a higher need for information prefer physical access to products and that the introduction of an offline inventory display channel where none previously existed results in a more efficient match between customers and channels. Bell discussed empirical findings from data on display showroom introductions by WarbyParker.com, a leading US eyewear retailer: (1) the introduction of an offline channel increases demand overall and through the online channel as well, and (2) customers who migrate offline are those with the highest cost-to-serve both online and through other mechanisms such as product sampling.
Adam Brasel (Boston College) presented a paper entitled Marketing Interfaces: How Touchscreens Alter Consumer Search, Choice, and Evaluation. This study explores the role of direct-touch interfaces in product evaluation and choice. Results from a first study show that a direct-touch interface increases the number of alternatives searched, biases evaluations towards tangible attributes, and shifts satisfaction expectations to internal sources. A second series of studies explores how fit or misfit between the texture of products and the smooth glass of the touchscreen alters consumer attention to visual and verbal information and changes online product evaluation in both positive and negative ways. Brasel discussed how these findings suggest that interfaces can strongly affect how online content is explored, perceived, remembered, and acted on, and further work in interface psychology could be as fruitful as research exploring the content itself.
Sam Ransbotham (Boston College) presented a paper entitled The Tradeoff of Reach and Response in Mobile Advertising. Using social media campaign data from a non-profit organization, Ransbotham discussed how the outcome of advertisement campaigns depends on whether the advertisements were shown on PC platforms or mobile platforms. The result shows that although ads are more likely to receive shallow response on mobile platforms (i.e., clicks), deeper engagement is less likely (i.e.., registration to the advertised service).
Andrew Stephen (University of Pittsburgh) presented a paper entitled The Effects Of Content Characteristics On Consumer Engagement With Branded Social Media Content On Facebook. Using a data-set of 4,284 branded Facebook posts made over an 18-month period by nine brands across four industries, this research investigates how marketers’ social media content design influences “engagement” outcomes (e.g., how many “likes” or “shares” posts receive, or how many website traffic referrals are made). Many content characteristics are found to be important drivers of engagement, with those related to persuasion demonstrating the most importance. Interestingly, consumers appear to dislike and react against overt persuasion attempts in the form of advertising-style messages in the social media context. Stephen also discussed the increasingly common practice of brands paying to boost post reach on Facebook. Although this practice results in posts being seen by a wider (but possibly less relevant) audience, its impact in inducing engagement is found to be trivial.