Prof. Dr. Christian Barrot

Acting President & Dean of Programs

Professor of Marketing and Innovation

Prof. Dr. Christian Barrot

Acting President & Dean of Programs

Professor of Marketing and Innovation

Christian Barrot is Acting President, Dean of Programs, and Professor of Marketing and Innovation at Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. He studied business administration at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel and the Norwegian School of Management (BI) in Oslo. After his doctorate and habilitation at the CAU and research stays at Penn State University and Columbia Business School, Prof. Barrot has been at KLU since 2011, where he specializes in innovation management, marketing and entrepreneurship. 

Prof. Barrot's research interests include topics such as the diffusion of innovations, social networks, customer relationship management and electronic business. His research has been published in leading international journals such as Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Research in Marketing, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, and Journal of Business Ethics. His research has been recognized with the 2018 Sheth/Journal of Marketing Award (long-term contribution to the discipline of marketing), the 2018 VHB Best Paper Award (Finalist), the 2011 MSI/H. Paul Root Award (Finalist), and he is a Fellow of the AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium 2005. 

Together with colleagues from the universities of Hamburg, Münster, and Cologne, Prof. Barrot serves as head of DFG-FOR 1452, the first Research Group in the field of business ever to be supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Receiving a total funding of EUR 4.0m, this group investigates aspects of marketing in the context of digital social media.

As a company founder, consultant, and supervisory board member, Prof. Barrot has gained almost two decades of practical experience in the field of digital transformation. With this background, he actively supports the entrepreneurial activities of KLU students and alumni, particularly during the ideation and start-up phases.

Prof. Barrot regularly engages in research co-operations with firms from various industries on customer management topics such as referral programs, churn prevention, and targeting. A common thread of these projects is the use of advanced quantitative analysis methods to support management decision-making.

Up Close & Personal

“For me, the familiar atmosphere really sets KLU apart.”
– Prof. Dr. Christian Barrot

Selected Publications


Abstract: Geographic proximity has become increasingly relevant due to the growing number of marketing services that use consumers’ geographic locations, thus increasing the importance of gaining insights from this information. In five studies (both field and experimental), the authors analyze the effect of geographic proximity on social influence and demonstrate that not only social proximity but also perceived homophily can trigger social influence. They find that this effect holds under alternative representations of geographic distance and is confirmed for a range of different services and even for physical goods. Furthermore, the authors show that geographic proximity has a relative effect because the social influence of a closer sender is stronger than that of a more distant sender, regardless of the absolute distances. They present managerially relevant conditions under which the influence of geographic proximity not only is comparable to other types of information such as age or gender but also provides sufficient informational value for customers to offset differences among alternatives (e.g., due to higher prices) in trade-off decisions.

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Open reference in new window "The Role of Mere Closeness: How Geographic Proximity Affects Social Influence"


Abstract: Rewarding existing customers for the recruitment of new ones has become an increasingly popular acquisition tool for companies. However, when a company rewards the recruitment of a new customer, managers are unaware of whether the rewarded referral was actually necessary or whether “reward-scrounging” has occurred because the referral receiver would have converted anyway. As a consequence, companies risk overestimating the effectiveness of their referral programs, which is why gaining insights into how and when reward-scrounging occurs is crucial. In this study, we employ a large data set from the telecommunications industry to analyze the drivers of reward-scrounging. The results indicate that reward-scrounging reduces the effectiveness of referral reward programs over time and that its likelihood depends on both the referral sender's network position and the company's marketing activities. The findings are used to develop managerial means to alleviate the negative effects of reward-scrounging.

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Open reference in new window "Reward-scrounging in customer referral programs"


Abstract: Referral programs have become a popular tool to use the customer base for new customer acquisition. We replicate the work of Schmitt et al. (2011) who find that referred customers are more loyal and valuable than customers acquired through other channels. While our results confirm that rewarded referrals indeed reduce the risk of customer churn, we do not find that referred customers are necessarily more valuable. Analysis of the relationship between senders and receivers of referrals demonstrates that demographic similarity drives the referred customer value.

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Open reference in new window "Referral programs, customer value, and the relevance of dyadic characteristics"


Abstract: Seeding strategies have strong influences on the success of viral marketing campaigns, but previous studies using computer simulations and analytical models have produced conflicting recommendations about the optimal seeding strategy. This study compares four seeding strategies in two complementary small-scale field experiments, as well as in one real-life viral marketing campaign involving more than 200,000 customers of a mobile phone service provider. The empirical results show that the best seeding strategies can be up to eight times more successful than other seeding strategies. Seeding to well-connected people is the most successful approach because these attractive seeding points are more likely to participate in viral marketing campaigns. This finding contradicts a common assumption in other studies. Well-connected people also actively use their greater reach but do not have more influence on their peers than do less well-connected people.

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Open reference in new window "Seeding strategies for viral marketing: An empirical comparison"


Abstract: Knowledge of consumers' willingness-to-pay (WTP) is critical for marketing managers when designing optimal pricing policies. The large-scale applicability, reliability, and validity of Vickrey auctions as an incentive-compatible method for eliciting WTP in a real-world setting were tested empirically. The results of 6,548 sealed bids in 28 auctions of costly durables on a popular auction Web site show that regular on-line shoppers have little problem understanding and applying the Vickrey auction bidding strategy. As a result, Vickrey auctions can easily produce a reliable and valid distribution of WTP based on several thousand consumers. A comparison of Vickrey auctions with the more commonly used English or eBay auctions shows, both conceptually and empirically, that the latter formats do not fully reflect the complete range of potential customers' WTP and, therefore, lead to systematic overestimation of price-demand functions. In contrast, WTP information elicited through Vickrey auctions is undistorted by strategic behavior such as bid-sniping and incorporates the full range of WTP information, suggesting that it is better suited for estimating realistic price-demand functions for market research purposes.

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Open reference in new window "Vickrey vs. ebay: Why second-price sealed-bid auctions lead to more realistic price-demand functions"

Research Group

Academic Positions

since 11/22Acting President and Managing Director, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany
since 12/17Professor of Marketing and Innovation, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany
since 09/16Dean of Programs at Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany

Associate Professor of Marketing and Innovation, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany

2011 - 2016

Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany

2011 / 2012

Visiting Professor at the University of Hamburg


Visiting Scholar at the Columbia Business School, New York, USA

2008 - 2010

Assistant Professor of Marketing, Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel, Germany

2007 / 2009

Visiting Scholar at the Penn State University, Smeal College of Business, State College, USA



Dr. habil., Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel, Germany.
Habilitation: "Essays on the Management of Social Contagion"


Dr. sc. pol., Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel, Germany.
Dissertation: “Essays on the Diffusion of Innovation in a Digital Age."
Co-Chairs: Sönke Albers and Christian Henning


Diplom-Kaufmann (MSc. in Business Administration), Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel, Germany