Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)
Van Quaquebeke, Niels, Jan U. Becker, Niko Goretzki and Christian Barrot (In press): Perceived ethical leadership affects customer purchasing intentions beyond ethical marketing in advertising due to moral identity self-congruence concerns, Journal of Business Ethics.
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.
Dechant, Andrea, Martin Spann and Jan U. Becker (In Press): Positive Customer Churn: An Application to Online Dating, Journal of Service Research.
Meyners, Jannik, Christian Barrot, Jan U. Becker and Jakob Goldenberg (2017): The Role of Mere Closeness: How Geographic Proximity Affects Social Influence, Journal of Marketing, 81 (5): 49-66.
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.
Meyners, Jannik, Christian Barrot, Jan U. Becker and Anand Bodapati (2017): Reward-scrounging in customer referral programs, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34 (2): 382-398.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Barrot, Christian, Jan U. Becker and Michel Clement (2011): Entrepreneurial Marketing in Online-Netzwerken, Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft, 81 (6): 5-25.
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.
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.
Abstract: The success of online communities depends heavily on the providers' abilities to motivate potential users to adopt the service and to actively participate. Because research in this field of media economics is rare, especially with regard to newly established communities, this study analyzes what drives community adoption and how direct and indirect financial incentives influence user participation. Extending Ajzen's (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior, this article shows, in 2 empirical studies, that network size significantly affects adoption in newly established communities. The results of the first study indicate a strong effect of indirect financial incentives (saving money) on the intention to adopt. The second study indicates that direct financial incentives (earning money) may well help increase the network's size without altering user motivation through crowding-out effects. It is interesting to note that the presence of direct financial incentives attracts new users, but it does not increase usage.
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.
Abstract: This article discusses performance drivers of CRM projects and is particularly relevant for managers seeking to optimize their companies CRM efforts. Despite the billions of dollars that have been spent on the implementation of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, many of the adopting companies are unhappy with the results. This can be due to two reasons: first, either the CRM projects are poorly implemented and thus do not perform accordingly, or, second, companies expect too much from CRM systems. This research examines how technological and organizational implementations as well as internal support affect the objectives of CRM with regard to initiating, maintaining, and retaining customer relationships. The results indicate that internal support is an important factor for the performance of CRM implementation. Further, it helps to have a clear focus for a CRM system to specifically address diverse functions such as the acquisition, maintenance, and retention of customers and to tailor implementation effort to the needs of the major functions.
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.
Abstract: In recent years, customer relationship management (CRM) has been a topic of the utmost importance for scholars and managers. Despite the evidence provided by numerous empirical studies, many companies that have implemented CRM systems report unsatisfactory levels of improvement. This study analyzes what influence companies can expect CRM implementation to have on performance and how they can leverage its impact. The authors propose a conceptual model that investigates the link between technological and organizational implementations, as well as the implementations' interactions with management and employee support and CRM process-related performance. By measuring CRM performance in terms of the initiation, maintenance, and retention of customer relationships, the study provides a detailed picture of what CRM implementations are capable of achieving. The results of the empirical study, conducted across four industries and ten European countries, indicate that CRM implementation does not impact performance equally for different aspects of the CRM process, and that it has an impact only if adequately supported by the appropriate company stakeholders.
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.
Abstract: In recent years, a growing number of companies have adopted a corporate endorsement strategy to support their product brands. Whereas product related brand activities focus merely on the consumer, corporate brands involve multiple stakeholders causing a complex communication environment. This study analyzes what impact different communication activities have on stakeholder commitment. The authors propose a conceptual model that investigates the link between communication activities, different elements of corporate brand image, and stakeholder commitment. The results of the empirical study show substantive differences between stakeholders with regard to brand image and communication activities.
Becker, Jan U., Michel Clement and Ute Schädel (2008): Shared WiFi-communities - user generated infrastructure am Beispiel von FON, Wirtschaftsinformatik, 50 (6): 482-488.
Abstract: Shared WiFi-Communities emerge when users share their private Wireless Fidelity with others and in return get free internet access via community members’ internet connection. Supply of wireless capacity and demand for WLAN usually are coordinated by a central authority therewith users can find specific hosts within the community.Initial players that conduct commercial WiFi-Communities established their position in the market. The international market leader with 170,000 hotspots worldwide is FON. The commercial success of shared WiFi-communities (e.g. FON) depends on the adoption of a special router or modifications of the existing WLAN-infrastructure. More importantly it is essential that users permanently offer broadband capacity to the community. Only then net effects can durably generate enhanced usage benefits.A survey of 268 German FON users reveals that the community shows a high level of cohesion. Users barely vary from the default setting concerning shared bandwidth of the router. Additionally most interviewees offer their WLAN 24 hours a day. Despite the possibility of earning money with the wireless capacity most users do not offer bandwidth with a purely economic ambition. Although the market potential of shared WiFi communities appears tremendous legal obstructions and technical restraints exacerbate penetration.
Albers, Sönke, Jan U. Becker, Michel Clement, Dominik Papies and Holger Schneider (2007): Messung von Zahlungsbereitschaften und ihr Einsatz für die Preisbündelung: Eine anwendungsorientierte Darstellung am Beispiel digitaler TV-Programme, Marketing - Zeitschrift für Forschung und Praxis, 29 (1): 7-22.
Abstract: Managers facing the introduction of usage innovations have to cope with three interrelated problems: Which products are suitable for which segments, how to determine the characteristics of the segments for targeting them, and how to optimize the prices of bundles. We show that this can be achieved by applying a latent class analysis based on data obtained with the help of choice-based conjoint experiments. Using survey data on services in digital TV as an example, the authors show how strategic implications for product configuration, targeting, and bundle pricing can be derived. A comparison with real market data indicate that the results obtained by this procedure are highly plausible.
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.
Abstract: The rise of peer-to-peer networks starting with Napster in 1999 and later KaZaA and eMule had a substantial impact on the online distribution of media content. Millions of users at any given point of time illegally offer copyright protected files and internalize the cost of their behavior. Whereas it is easy to explain why users download files, it remains an open question as to why they provide data, because it is not necessary to get access to files. This article addresses the issue of why users take the risk and illegally provide files. In a theoretical analysis relying on game theoretical assumptions, this article shows in a dynamic context that users actually do follow a rational strategy by providing files. This article underlines the theoretical assumptions with two empirical studies. The first study researches the individual motives for file sharing by using a structural equation model. Reciprocity is one of the key drivers to offer files. The second study segments users based on their motives into three groups using mixture regressions. The results imply that there is a large segment free riding on their peers. The research also finds a heavy sharer segment that is motivated to share, even at the risk of being sued. This article follows a dynamic perspective in the user's willingness to share that allows researchers to provide implications on the stability of the networks in the long term, because the users' behavior may lead to the collapse of illegal networks.
Becker, Jan U. and Michel Clement (2003): Das ökonomische Kalkül eines Anbieters von Mediendateien bei Filesharing-Diensten, Wirtschaftsinformatik, 45 (3): 261-271.
Abstract: Filesharing has recently proved to be one of the most controversial applications in the Internet. Millions of users enjoy downloads of billions of media files such as songs or movies. But where do these files come from? While the economic rationale to download files is obvious, the rationale of individuals to actually share and therefore internalize the costs (i.e. the risk of being sued for copyright infringement) is not obvious. Consequently empirical studies have shown a large proportion of users not offering any but demanding files and therefore freeride on their peers.Nevertheless sharing can be rational. This article offers a theoretical base to explain sharing and proves that the users’ utility considerations depend heavily on the networks life cycle. The user’s utility of sharing decreases over time. In order to prevent the (theoretically) inevitable break-down of the filesharing network, the authors present strategies for filesharing networks to enhance the user’s willingness to share.