Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)
Meyners, Jannik, Christian Barrot, Jan U. Becker and Anand Bodapati (In press):Reward-scrounging in customer referral programs, International Journal of Research in Marketing.
Shehu, Edlira, Jan U. Becker, Ann-Christin Langmaack and Michel Clement (2016):The Brand Personality of Nonprofit Organizations and the Influence of Monetary Incentives, Journal of Business Ethics, 138(3): 589-600.
Abstract: The brand personality of nonprofit service organizations (NPO) is a focal cue for individuals engaging in pro-social behavior. However, the positive effect of brand personality on donors’ intention to engage pro-socially may be affected in cases in which NPOs provide monetary incentives to those donors. Relying on social exchange theory, the authors examine how monetary incentives and brand personality commonly affect the intention to donate and whether this effect varies based on the perceived trustworthiness of the NPO. The results of two experimental studies show that branding and incentivizing decisions should not be developed independently because monetary incentives do indeed undermine the positive effects of brand personality on the intention to donate. However, the effectiveness of incentives varies with the perceived level of trust in the NPO: highly trusted NPO services are harmed by monetary incentives, whereas less-trusted NPOs may even benefit.
Meyners, Jannik, Christian Barrot, Jan U. Becker and Jakob Goldenberg (2016):The Role of Mere Closeness: How Geographic Proximity Affects Social Influence, MSI Report, Marketing Science Institute: Cambridge, MA, 16-106.
Abstract: In the past years, two major trends have created new challenges for marketers. First, consumers have grown to rely on advice from other consumers ─ for instance, through online reviews such as on TripAdvisor, Expedia, or Yelp. Second, consumers increasingly provide marketers with personal data ─ especially geographic information ─ by using their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones or tablet PCs) for shopping purposes or product search. Despite their increasing availability and relevance, companies are uncertain to and in which way they can use geographic data to actively manage product recommendations This report provides insights into the role of geographic proximity for recommendations and online reviews. In four studies that cover both extensive field and experimental data, the authors show that geographic proximity increases social influence and demonstrate its interdependency with social closeness. The results indicate a) that the role of geographic proximity for social influence is not simply a result of the higher likelihood of social interaction and b) that the effect of geographic proximity increases with decreasing tie strength between sender and receiver of a recommendation. In three experiments, the authors demonstrate the monetary value of their findings by analyzing consumers’ willingness to pay more for products recommended by someone geographically close. Additionally, they show that the effect of geographic proximity is mediated by perceived homophily between consumers.The results imply that geographic location may well strengthen the social influence. Consequently, companies could sort reviews so that those from geographically close users are displayed first. By implementing such an individually tailored review order, consumers would receive more helpful reviews that lead to higher conversion rates and purchases of products that suit their needs. Also, companies could use the report’s insights to increase the effectiveness of social media advertising. In online social media such as Facebook, Google+, or Twitter, the users’ geographic location is typically available and can be used to target social ads, i.e., ads that show Internet users the products or services that their contacts like, follow, or use. The report’s results imply that advertising with contacts that live in geographic proximity to the user (e.g., “Bill likes Company X”) could be more influential than advertising with someone geographically distant.
Maecker, Olaf, Christian Barrot and Jan U. Becker (2016):The effect of social media interactions on customer relationship management, Business Research, 9(1): 133-155.
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.
Becker, Jan U., Michel Clement and Marcus Nöth (2016):Start-ups, incumbents, and the effects of takeover competition, Journal of Business Research, 69(12): 5925-5933.
Abstract: Recent acquisitions involving Tumblr and Instagram have demonstrated that the takeover of an unlisted start-up company can offer enormous financial benefits to its (former) stakeholders. Considering the multimillion-dollar amounts paid for start-ups with no existing and highly uncertain future revenues, we investigate the process and outcome of negotiation dynamics in the context of takeovers. In a series of experiments, we show that even with a low level of uncertainty about a start-up's value and its financial resources, start-ups can influence bidders' behavior and consequently the start-ups' valuation. The results indicate that incumbents' bidding behavior is driven by the perceived threat level with respect to the start-up's business activities as well as by the uncertainty with respect to other incumbents' bidding behavior—drivers that are subject to activities by the start-ups' management. Interestingly, the effect even exists if incumbents clearly know that initiating a bidding process will very likely lead to losses.
Becker, Jan U. and Sönke Albers (2016):The limits of analyzing service quality data in public transport, Transportation, 43(5): 823-842.
Abstract: In recent years, management and academics have increasingly focused on quality management in public transport. In particular, many public transport operators regularly monitor their service quality over time and use these data to assess quality performance (e.g., for performance-based quality contracts) and to determine managerial decisions (e.g., budget allocations for service improvements). However, despite the widespread applications of service quality data in practice, it is unclear whether cross-sectional analyses and cross-temporal comparisons of service quality data provide valid insights for quality management purposes. In this study, we investigate the usability of cross-sectional analyses and cross-temporal comparisons of service quality data by conducting an empirical study that tracked a panel’s perceptions of the service quality of public transport and its choice over the course of three consecutive years. The results demonstrate that cross-sectional analyses provide valid insights for quality management. However, cross-temporal comparisons should be interpreted carefully because the results of these comparisons are surprisingly unreliable. In fact, we find that service quality data do not provide reliable results over time and therefore conclude that cross-temporal comparisons of service quality data must be interpreted with caution for quality management in public transport.
Armelini, Guillermo, Christian Barrot and Jan U. Becker (2015):Referral programs, customer value, and the relevance of dyadic characteristics, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 32(4): 449-452.
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.
Reimer, Kerstin and Jan U. Becker (2015):What customer information should companies use for customer relationship management? Practical insights from empirical research, Management Review Quarterly, 65(3): 149-182.
Abstract: For the past decade, customer relationship management (CRM) has been one of the priorities in marketing research and practice. Hence, many companies have invested heavily in CRM systems that, unfortunately, did not meet their expectations. Because such shortcomings may have resulted from unrealistic expectations as well as inappropriate data input, this study provides insights into what companies may expect from CRM and what data they should use. Across the phases of the CRM process, the authors show which CRM objectives have been considered and which customer data have proven to be applicable in the empirical CRM literature. The results indicate that despite differences with respect to influence, a variety of customer data can be used to analyze CRM objectives throughout the entire customer life cycle. Overall, the study provides researchers with a comprehensive review of the empirical research on CRM and offers practitioners insights on the scope of CRM analyses and the applicability of customer data for CRM.
Burmester, Alexa B., Jan U. Becker, Harald J. van Heerde and Michel Clement (2015):The impact of pre- and post-launch publicity and advertising on new product sales, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 32(2): 408-417.
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.
Barrot, Christian, Jan U. Becker, Michel Clement and Dominik Papies (2015):Price Elasticities for Hardcover and Paperback Fiction Books, Schmalenbach Business Review, 67(1): 73-91.
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.
Becker, Jan U., Martin Spann and Timo Schulze (2015):Implications of minimum contract durations on customer retention, Marketing Letters, 26(4): 579-592.
Abstract: Customer retention is a major driver of customer lifetime value and is thus a key performance metric in marketing management. Consequently, companies try to retain customers by offering contracts with minimum contract durations (MCD). Using behavioral, psychometric, and advertising data for a large sample of DSL customers, the authors study the impact of minimum contract durations on actual customer churn behavior. The analyses demonstrate that subscriptions with minimum contract durations do indeed help companies to successfully retain customers. The effect is impaired though, as companies typically (must) provide incentives to convince customers to commit to those contracts. We find that incentives attract customers that either cannot or should not be retained and hence require companies to carefully apply both MCD and incentives.
Fandrich, Thomas, Christian Barrot and Jan U. Becker (2014):Deckungsbeitragsorientierte Steuerung von Targeting-Kampagnen, Schmalenbachs Zeitschrift für betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung, 66(11): 602-625.
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.
Barrot, Christian, Jan U. Becker and Jannik Meyners (2013):Impact of service pricing on referral behavior, European Journal of Marketing, 47(7): 1052-1066.
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.
Hinz, Oliver, Bernd Skiera, Christian Barrot and Jan U. Becker (2011):Seeding strategies for viral marketing: An empirical comparison, Journal of Marketing, 75(6): 55-71.
Barrot, Christian, Jan U. Becker and Michel Clement (2011):Entrepreneurial Marketing in Online-Netzwerken, Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft, 81(6): 5-25.
Becker, Jan U., Michel Clement and Ute Schädel (2010):The Impact of Network Size and Financial Incentives on Adoption and Participation in New Online Communities, Journal of Media Economics, 23(3): 165-179.
Becker, Jan U., Goetz Greve and Sönke Albers (2010):Left Behind Expectations: How to prevent CRM implementations from failing, GfK Marketing Intelligence Review, 2(2): 34-41.
Becker, Jan U., Goetz Greve and Sönke Albers (2009):The impact of technological and organizational implementation of CRM on customer acquisition, maintenance, and retention, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 26(3): 207-215.
Becker, Jan U., Lars Fiedler and Manfred Kirchgeorg (2009):Unternehmens- und Stakeholderkommunikation als Einflussfaktoren des Unternehmensmarkenimages, Markteing ZFP - Journal of Research and Management, 31(3): 197-211.
Becker, Jan U., Michel Clement and Ute Schädel (2008):Shared WiFi-communities - user generated infrastructure am Beispiel von FON, Wirtschaftsinformatik, 50(6): 482-488.
Albers, Sönke, Jan U. Becker, Michel Clement, Dominik Papies and Holger Schneider (2007):Messung von Zahlungsbereitschaft und ihr Einsatz für die Preisbündelung: Eine anwendungsorientierte Darstellung am Beispiel digitaler TV-Programme, Marketing - Zeitschrift für Forschung und Praxis, 29(1): 7-22.
Becker, Jan U. and Michel Clement (2006):Dynamics of illegal participation in peer-to-peer networks—why do people illegally share media files?, Journal of Media Economics, 19(1): 7-32.
Becker, Jan U. and Michel Clement (2003):Das ökonomische Kalkül eines Anbieters von Mediendateien bei Filesharing-Diensten, Wirtschaftsinformatik, 45(3): 261-271.
Clement, Michel and Jan U. Becker (1999):Digitales Fernsehen-Strategische Umbrüche bei steigendem Interaktivitätsgrad, ZfbF Schmalenbachs Zeitschrift für betriebswirtschaftliche Forschung, 51(12): 1169-1190.
Journal Articles (Professional)
Barrot, Christian, Jan U. Becker, Oliver Hinz and Bernd Skiera (2013): Superspreader - Welche Kunden sich für Virale Marketing-Kampagnen eignen, Planung & Analyse, 30(4): 32-34.
Becker, Jan U. (2007): Sources of Innovation in Germany - How Network Effects Drive Innovative Industries, Policy Report, 28(pt. 3): 19-30.
Abstract: The precursory AICGS Policy Reports on innovation in the United States and Germany provided a detailed picture of the different facets of innovation, both on a micro and macroeconomic level. This paper aims to combine both levels on the basis of two exemplary innovative industries by analyzing different sources of innovation and deriving implications for German policymakers.