Prof. Dr. Jan Becker

Professor of Marketing and Service Management

Prof. Dr. Jan Becker

Professor of Marketing and Service Management

Jan Becker is Professor of Marketing and Service Management at Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. He studied Business Administration in Kiel and Bayreuth and holds a doctorate and habilitation in Marketing from the Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel. Before joining KLU in 2011, he taught at the universities of Kiel, Passau, and Rostock. His teaching portfolio comprises several Marketing courses in the bachelor, master, and doctoral programs as well as in the Executive Education.

Prof. Becker’s research focuses on topics such as Customer Relationship Management, Strategic Marketing, as well as Service Management and Electronic Commerce. His research has been published in prestigious international journals such as Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Service Research, Marketing Letters, and Journal of Business Ethics. He is co-editor of Journal of Media Economics. His research has won the 2018 Sheth/Journal of Marketing Award for the long-term contribution to the discipline of marketing, and the 2015 IJRM Best Paper Award. Furthermore, he was finalist for the 2011 MSI/H. Paul Root Award as well as for the 2018 VHB Best Paper Award. Jan Becker is a regular visiting scholar at the Anderson Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

With more than 15 years of industry and consulting experience in the field of digital transformation, Prof. Becker 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 analytical methods to support management in decision-making.

Up Close & Personal

“For me, it’s the students that set KLU apart. I have the feeling that KLU students form a very close community – inside the classroom, and outside.”
– Prof. Dr. Jan Becker

Selected Publications

DOI: 10.1177/1094670518795054 

Abstract: In the service literature, churn is primarily attributed to customers who are dissatisfied with a service. However, in several industries, such as health care, weight loss services, and online dating, satisfied customers also churn because the service delivers on its promise, for example, by providing a cure, facilitating weight loss, or creating the circumstances that allow a person to meet their partner. Considering these dual churn pathways, it is necessary for companies in these markets to create awareness of what drives positive and negative churn to address the corresponding challenges for managing customer relationships. This study defines and theoretically discusses the concept of positive churn and outlines its consequences for companies in the short- and long term. Based on an analysis of combined observational and survey data from 1,369 customers, we empirically demonstrate the necessity of accounting for positive and negative churn by analyzing this phenomenon in online dating. Furthermore, this article discusses opportunities for future research on positive churn.

Export record:CitaviEndnoteRISISIBibTeXWordXML

Open reference in new window "Positive Customer Churn: An Application to Online Dating"

DOI: 10.1509/jm.16.0057 

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.

Export record:CitaviEndnoteRISISIBibTeXWordXML

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

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2016.11.005 

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.

Export record:CitaviEndnoteRISISIBibTeXWordXML

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

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2015.05.005 

Abstract: When companies launch new products, they need to understand the impact of publicity and advertising on sales. What is their relative effectiveness? Do they strengthen each other (have a positive interaction effect) or weaken each other (have a negative interaction effect)? Further, does the timing of these activities (before or after launch) affect their impact on sales? This paper develops hypotheses regarding the elasticities of pre- and post-launch publicity and advertising on sales. The hypotheses are tested on a large-scale empirical data set that tracks sales, publicity, and advertising for 3336 video games across 52 weeks covering the pre- and post-launch phases. The results demonstrate that pre-launch publicity is more effective than pre-launch advertising but that the reverse is true post-launch. Surprisingly, the analysis reveals a negative interaction effect between pre-launch advertising and publicity, which means that publicity becomes less effective when it is accompanied by higher levels of advertising for the same product. Simulations indicate that companies can gain most sales by focusing on publicity pre-launch, and that there is little benefit from increasing publicity and advertising during the same phase, which is consistent with negative (pre-launch) and zero (post-launch) interaction effects.

Export record:CitaviEndnoteRISISIBibTeXWordXML

Open reference in new window "The impact of pre- and post-launch publicity and advertising on new product sales"

DOI: 10.1509/jm.10.0088 

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.

Export record:CitaviEndnoteRISISIBibTeXWordXML

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

Research Projects

No content available yet.

Academic Positions

Since 2018Professor of Marketing and Service Management, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany
2016-2017Dean of Research at Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany

Associate Professor of Marketing and Service Management, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany

2010 - 2011

Assistant Professor of Marketing and Service Management, Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, Germany

2008 - 2009

Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, USA

2007 - 2010

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



Dr. habil., Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel, Germany.
Habilitation: "Essays on Issues in Marketing and Innovation Management"


Dr. sc. pol., Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel, Germany.
Dissertation: "Economic Analysis of User Motivation in File-Sharing Networks"
Co-Chairs: Sönke Albers and Joachim Wolf


MSc. in Business Administration (Marketing, Controlling), Christian-Albrechts-University at Kiel, Germany


BSc. in Business Administration, University of Bayreuth, Germany