In a digitized society, radical changes in consumer behaviour, firms’ use of marketing channels, market dynamics and governmental policies drive many of the most exciting opportunities for the research in marketing today. Researchers need to understand, fundamentally, how consumers and firms make decisions in this new environment and creatively and rigorously advise consumers and market managers on how to adapt to these conditions and support them in finding ways to make better decisions.
The continued importance of undertaking fundamental and innovative research while ensuring projects have relevance for society at large has been a cornerstone of ERIM’s Marketing (MKT) research programme. Much of the group’s research concerns itself with issues that have a direct impact on consumers and marketers. The researchers work together with the private sector, participate in public debates, and disseminate relevant knowledge pertaining to their themes of study.
What follows is a sample of two cases illustrating such cooperation between academia and the private sector. The first case introduces the concept of Morphing – an innovative method with which websites can be tailored to better match the preferred cognitive styles of individual users. Its implementation by several companies has already garnered considerable results in the improvement of conversion and click-through rates for customers. The second case addresses the topic of helping consumers make better investment decisions for retirement. It introduces the Pension Builder, a new online tool and interface developed to allow pension plan participants to better gauge the risks and returns they may expect from their retirement investments. It is instances such as these that showcase the MKT programme’s strengths, namely in a continuous interaction between academic research and real-world impact.