Prof. Dr. Christian Barrot


Associate Professor of Marketing and Innovation

Dean of Programs


Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-017-3577-4 

Abstract: Ethical leadership has so far mainly been featured in the organizational behavior domain and, as such, treated as an intra-organizational phenomenon. The present study seeks to highlight the relevance of ethical leadership for extra-organizational phenomena by combining the organizational behavior perspective on ethical leadership with a classical marketing approach. In particular, we demonstrate that customers may use perceived ethical leadership cues as additional reference points when forming purchasing intentions. In two experimental studies (N = 601 and N = 336), we find that ethical leadership positively affects purchasing intentions because of customers’ concerns for moral self-congruence. We show this by means of both mediation and moderation analyses. Interestingly, the effect of perceived ethical leadership on purchasing intentions holds over and above the ethical advertising claims (e.g., cause-related marketing) that are commonly used in marketing. We conclude by discussing the possible ramifications of ethical leadership beyond its effects on immediate employees.

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Open reference in new window "Perceived ethical leadership affects customer purchasing intentions beyond ethical marketing in advertising due to moral identity self-congruence concerns"

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.

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

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.

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

DOI: 10.1007/s40685-016-0027-6 

Abstract: In recent years, social media have become a popular channel through which customers and companies can interact. However, companies struggle to assess whether their investments in establishing and maintaining brand pages in social media actually meet their high expectations with respect to developing and retaining customers. Based on three empirical studies, the authors explore the role of interactions through corporate social media channels, such as Facebook brand pages, in customer relationship management. The results indicate that social media interactions indeed ease the upselling efforts and reduce the risk of churn. These positive effects offset the observed increases with regard to the number of service requests and the higher overall service cost. Thus, we ultimately find customers who interact with the brand on social media to be more profitable.

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Open reference in new window "The effect of social media interactions on customer relationship management"

DOI: 10.1007/BF03396924 

Abstract: Book pricing is problematic for two main reasons. First, because legal restrictions make pricing decisions irreversible. Second, because publishers must set prices for many books every year. Therefore, a sound knowledge of consumer reaction to price is essential for good pricing decisions. Our research examines consumer reactions to prices, provides price elasticities based on a large sample of fiction books, and creates a comprehensive set of quality measures and control variables. Our results show that once price endogeneity is considered, consumers are price elastic. Moreover, we find that the price elasticity for hardcover books is substantially smaller than for paperbacks.

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Open reference in new window "Price Elasticities for Hardcover and Paperback Fiction Books"

DOI: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2015.09.004 

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"

DOI: 10.1007/BF03372908 

Abstract: Eine Vielzahl von Studien konnte zeigen, dass sich die Konversionsraten in der Neukundenan- sprache durch Targeting steigern lassen. Konkrete Aussagen über den ökonomischen Erfolg von Targeting-Kampagnen können allerdings auf dieser Basis bisher nicht getroffen werden. Der vorliegende Beitrag stellt daher eine deckungsbeitragsorientierte Sichtweise zur Bewer- tung des Targeting vor, so dass eine Einschätzung zur Profitabilität bereits vor der Durchfüh- rung von Targeting-Kampagnen möglich ist. Auf Basis dieser Überlegungen wird erläutert, wie ein deckungsbeitragsorientiertes Targeting in der Unternehmenspraxis anzuwenden ist und wann sich die gezielte gegenüber der ungezielten Kundenansprache auszahlt.

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Open reference in new window "Deckungsbeitragsorientierte Steuerung von Targeting-Kampagnen"

DOI: 10.1108/03090561311324200 

Abstract: Purpose – This study seeks to examine the effect of pricing as a marketing instrument to stimulate word‐of‐mouth (WOM) by comparing the influence of two pricing strategies (i.e. a low‐complexity vs a network‐effects tariff) on the referral behaviour. Design/methodology/approach – Using customer data from a German mobile network operator (including information on customer characteristics, referral behaviour, and service usage), the authors develop a logit model. Findings – Surprisingly, the results indicate that it is the low‐complexity tariff that increases the likelihood of referrals and leads to an overall higher referral activity. Despite the lower referral activity, however, the network‐effects tariff generates higher revenues. Research limitations/implications – The results show that companies can use pricing schemes to influence referral behaviour and strongly indicate the need of further research on manageable tools to stimulate word‐of‐mouth marketing. Practical implications – The findings show not only that pricing has an impact on customers' referral behaviour but also that it is the low‐complexity tariffs that trigger referrals. Furthermore, the results underline the importance of considering the monetary value of referrals. Originality/value – In contrast with many previously conducted studies on customer referrals, the paper explicitly analyses the impact of pricing on referral behaviour and empirically shows that firms are able to actively manage WOM among customers.

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Open reference in new window "Impact of service pricing on referral behavior"

DOI: 10.1142/S021987701340021X 

Abstract: Adoption processes are often heavily influenced by interpersonal communication. Marketing managers are increasingly trying to use these relationships to foster the market penetration of their products. In an empirical study of the US market for an innovative medical device, we survey the social network of (mostly chief) anesthetists from 151 hospitals. We confirm the influences from personal communication on individual adoption decisions through hazard regressions. We then use a multi-agent modeling framework trying to identify what seeding strategies would have been optimal to achieve a fast market penetration, i.e. which and how many anesthetists should be selected to initiate personal communication processes.

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Open reference in new window "Influence of Personal Communication Networks on Innovation Adoption – Using Multi-Agent-Simulations to Optimize the Roll-Out of an Innovative Medical Device"

DOI: 10.2753/JEC1086-4415180102 

Abstract: Using an agent-based model to study the success of product-sampling campaigns that rely on information about social networks, this paper investigates the essential decisions of which consumers and how many of them to target with free product samples. With an unweighted and a weighted real-world personal communication network, we show that the decision of which consumers to target is more important than that of how many consumers to target. Use of social network information increases profits by at least 32 percent. Companies should use a high-degree targeting heuristic to identify the most influential consumers. Use of social network information increases profit for single-purchase products mainly because it supports targeting more influential consumers and therefore speeds up diffusion throughout the network. For repeat-purchase products, social network information decreases the optimal number of samples and thus the cost of the campaign.

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Open reference in new window "Optimal Product-Sampling Strategies in Social Networks: How Many and Whom to Target?"

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.

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

DOI: 10.1007/s11573-011-0512-5 

Abstract: Online-Netzwerke (z. B. Xing oder LinkedIn) werden zunehmend aus geschäftlichen Motiven genutzt, mitunter zur gezielten „Vermarktung“ der eigenen Person. So versuchen Führungskräfte und Entrepreneure mit gezielten Informationen in Online-Business-Netzwerken ein Markenimage aufzubauen und nutzen ihr Profil als Marketing-Instrument, um Geschäftskontakte zu managen. Auf der theoretischen Basis des Customer-based-brand-equity-Modells nach Keller (1993) wird das Nutzungsverhalten von Entrepreneuren in geschäftlichen Online-Netzwerken untersucht. Auf der Grundlage eines großzahligen repräsentativen Samples von Mitgliedern einer führenden kommerziellen Online-Plattform untersuchen wir empirisch, inwiefern Entrepreneure erfolgreich in Online-Netzwerken agieren und ob sich ihre Strategien von denen anderer Nutzer unterscheiden. Mit Hilfe von Seemingly-Unrelated-Regression-Schätzungen werden die Treiber der Seitenaufrufe bzw. der bestätigten Kontakte von Entrepreneuren ermittelt. Entrepreneure konzentrieren sich auf die Präsentation ihrer Nutzungsintention und Kompetenzen und sind wesentlich aktiver in der Community. Als zentrale Erfolgstreiber werden Gruppenmoderationen und Event-Teilnahmen identifiziert.

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Open reference in new window "Entrepreneurial Marketing in Online-Netzwerken"

DOI: 10.2753/JEC1086-4415140401 

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"

Journal Articles (Professional)

Conference Proceedings

Abstract: In recent years, many industries have experienced the rise of digital platforms (e.g., eBay, Uber, or A common characteristic of these concepts is that they focus on fragmented markets populated by many small firms, which often show a high fluctuation. However, established diffusion models based on Bass (1969) do not account for fluctuation in the market potential, although the exit of adopters and the entry of new firms could change the diffusion curve significantly. Thus, we propose an extension of the Bass Model to account for the exit and entry of (potential) adopters and empirically test this framework in a real-world setting. Using two decades of adopter data of leading digital platforms and information on the complete market potential, we employ agent-based models to analyze the effects of fluctuation on the platform diffusion. Initial results confirm the existence of high fluctuation and indicate relevant impacts on the diffusion curve.

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Open reference in new window "The Long-term Diffusion of Digital Platforms — An Agent-based Model"

Abstract: This paper critically examines the prevailing practice in empirical studies of social networks to define edges in communication networks as undirected. This approach is based on the assumption that communication is inherently reciprocal and, thus, directionality can be ignored. In contrast, we argue that this assumption of reciprocity does not hold true for regular communication channels, such as telephone or instant massaging. The present study uses large-scale observational data on communication in networks across four distinct channels to investigate the (im-)balance of dyads and its causes. We show that dyads with a dominant direction can make up to 73 % of all edges in a communication network. When analyzing potential causes for imbalanced communication patterns, we find that gender is a key driver for observed asymmetric relationships as females reveal significantly higher outbound shares, whereas high degrees of clustering counteract the phenomenon of imbalance.

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Open reference in new window "Call Me Maybe: Imbalanced Dyads in Networks Across Four Communication Channels"

Book Chapters