Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Sönke Albers

Professor of Marketing and Innovation

Publications

Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1007/s11116-015-9621-2

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.

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Abstract: How well universities prosper depends on their reputations, which in turn depend on high-level published research. I investigate German data from Handelsblatt and Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung (CHE) for university business faculties and show that publication productivity is characterized by increasing returns to scale, which stem from the number of professors a university employs, and that a higher ratio of students per professor does not usually hurt productivity. Third-party funds show only a small and weakly significant impact. My analysis of the total costs of universities indicates that publications, student education, and contract research all exhibit significant economies of scale.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1080/08853134.2015.1085807

Abstract: In the last half-century, significant advances have been made in directing sales force behavior with the use of optimization and decision models. The present paper both presents the current state-of-the art in sales force decision modeling, and also discusses key issues and trends in contemporary modeling of relevance to sales force researchers. The paper begins by exploring critical concepts regarding the estimation of the sales response function, and then discusses critical problems of endogeneity, heterogeneity, and temporal variation that are faced by modelers in this task. Modern approaches to dealing with these issues are presented. We then discuss areas of importance concerning finding model solutions, including closed form versus simulation, and optimization versus heuristic solutions. The paper next moves to areas of practical importance where models can help, including call planning, sales force size, territory allocation, and compensation design. Finally, we discuss trends that will likely impact on sales force modeling in coming years, including the use of big data and data mining, the possible breakdown of rationality, the rise of the Internet and social media, and the potential of agent-based modeling.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1007/s11573-013-0675-3

Abstract: Recent cases of unethical publication behavior have raised the question of how to address it. Because scientific misconduct (conduct inconsistent with accepted scientific standards) can occur on a continuum ranging from honest errors to outright fraud, there is a need to change editorial policies to reduce the existence of any gray areas. In the case of quantitative empirical research, misconduct begins with honorary and ghost authors, plagiarism and self-plagiarism, and extends to manipulation or even fabrication of data and the reporting of biased or false results. It is suggested that journals should retract articles, inform retraction watch more frequently, use plagiarism software, ask for better and more detailed documentation of procedures so that research can be replicated and potentially analysed as manipulation, and reveal possible affiliations that might lead to biases. These policies will also facilitate faster learning, which will be beneficial to society.

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Abstract: Marketing budget decisions are critical and should be fact based rather than intuitive. Profit can be improved by better allocating a fixed budget across products or regions. The Excel-based decision support model presented in this article makes it possible to determine near-optimal marketing budgets and represents an innovative and feasible solution to the dynamic marketing allocation budget problem for multi-product, multi-country firms. The model accounts for marketing dynamics and a product's growth potential as well as for trade-offs with respect to marketing effectiveness and profit contribution. It was successfully implemented at Bayer, one of the world's largest firms in the pharmaceuticals and chemicals business. The profit improvement potential in this company was more than 50 % and worth nearly EUR 500 million in incremental discounted cash flows.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1016/j.ijresmar.2012.03.001

Abstract: The methodological discussion on the calibration of aggregate marketing response models has shifted away from how to obtain usable input for optimization toward how to avoid biases in statistical estimation. The purpose of this article is to remind researchers that such calibration is performed either to support managers in their marketing-mix decisions or to create general knowledge that leads to a better understanding of marketing relationships and thus indirectly supports decisions. Both goals require response models that are optimizable. The models must also be implementable if actual decision support is the objective. Herein, I identify several aspects for which these requirements are not always fulfilled: First, the appropriateness of the chosen functional form of the marketing response models is rarely discussed, although different forms imply quite different optimal solutions. Second, endogeneity is taken into account by structural equations, even though we lack sufficient information on how managers reach their decisions. Third, estimation methods for response models are often evaluated based on goodness-of-fit, while an assessment of their usefulness for subsequent optimization is neglected. Therefore, I provide recommendations for improving the current practice by better specifying the response function and undertaking more simulation-based evaluations of the best estimation method for use in subsequent optimization. With respect to implementation, usability can be facilitated using spreadsheets and heuristics. Moreover, gaining generalizable and replicable knowledge requires better documentation of results, which can be achieved through providing elasticities and as many details as are necessary to replicate a study, thereby enabling faster learning.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1109/TEM.2007.893985

Abstract: Although there is a growing amount of theoretical literature, only limited attention has been allocated to empirically determine the relative influence of a broad set of strategic success factors of e-business companies across several industries. We concentrate on the impact of marketing strategies and chosen business models and differentiate between direct and indirect drivers on revenue and profitability in order to estimate the total effect of a certain strategy or business model. Based on a survey of 147 e-businesses from different industries we empirically test, with the help of seemingly unrelated regression models, the relative importance of the various strategy elements. Our estimation results show that business models where the firm profits from transactions (e.g., via fixed access or usage fees) and is able to sell pricy products and services are well suited to reach profitability. The by far most important element of the marketing strategy is the achieved customer satisfaction, which has a significant and strong effect on revenue, but only a moderate direct effect on profitability. Due to our modeling approach we find that the total elasticity of this element of the marketing strategy is driven by the indirect effect from revenue on profitability

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1007/s11573-007-0040-5

Abstract: Previous empirical research on order of entry effects shows strong evidence for the existence of a first-mover advantage. Conventional strategic recommendations are therefore based on the assumption that pioneering is preferable in order to create competitive advantages. However, theoretical work has argued that there are also considerable potential advantages for early movers. But this hypothesis lacks empirical evidence, which is due to the limitations of previous empirical research designs. On the one hand, early movers have not been precisely separated from pioneers and late movers. On the other hand, previous research designs often specified a monotone relationship between order of entry and a success variable. As a consequence, it was not possible to find an inverted u-shaped relationship supporting the early mover advantage hypothesis. In this study, authors propose ways to overcome these limitations. An empirical application to 12 pharmaceutical markets finds a surprising early mover advantage that contrasts with the conventional wisdom in this industry.

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Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1016/S0167-8116(97)00038-4

Abstract: Marketing controllers traditionally analyze the profit contribution variance between actual and plan by decomposing it into a quantity and a price variance. This, however, enables them only to identify areas where problems exist rather than to diagnose their causes. In order to get more insights, this paper proposes making the planning assumptions for achieving a certain profit contribution explicit beforehand by specifying appropriate response functions. This information can be used after the fact to calculate the amount of profit contribution variance associated with different sources. In particular, the paper offers a novel decomposition principle of total variance into partial variances associated with possible sources such as incorrect market response assumptions (planning variance), deviations of actual marketing actions from planned ones (execution variance) and misanticipation of competitive reactions (reaction variance). Each of these variances can be decomposed further into the separate effects of single marketing instruments. By distinguishing between a response function for market share and one for market size, controllers can also estimate for which part of the variance the product manager may be responsible.

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Abstract: Der optimale Entlohnungsplan fuer Verkaufsaussendienstmitarbeiter laesst sich im Rahmen typischer Prinzipal-Agenten-Modelle bestimmen.Empirische Untersuchungen haben jedoch gezeigt, dass die Ergebnisse der theoretischen Analyse nicht mit den in der Praxis zu beobachtenden Entlohungsplaenen uebereinstimmen.

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Abstract: In dieser Arbeit wird das von mir in der ZfB 6/1989 vorgestellte, aber auf die Auswirkungen der Preispolitik beschraenkte System zur Ursachenanalyse von IST-SOLL-Erloesabweichungen erweitert. Am Beispiel der Werbung und der Distribution wird gezeigt, wie die von einzelnen Marketing-Instrumenten ausgehenden Erloesabweichungen isoliert werden koennen. Da der Einsatz der Marketing-Instrumente Kosten verursachen wird, wird die Analyse ausserdem auf die Ebene der Deckungsbeitragsabweichungen gehoben.

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Journal Articles (Professional)

Books

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Abstract: „Vertriebsmanagement“ vermittelt anspruchsvoll und zugleich praxisnah, wie Außendienste professionell geführt und gesteuert werden können. Dabei greifen Sönke Albers und Manfred Krafft auf aktuellste Ergebnisse der internationalen Forschung zurück, verwenden Beispiele und Fallstudien aus dem europäischen bzw. deutschsprachigen Raum und belegen ihre Hinweise mit umfassenden eigenen Studien. Kurzum: ein Buch von Vertriebsexperten für Vertriebsexperten. Die Autoren schaffen ein deutschsprachiges Standardwerk, das sowohl als Grundlage der Ausbildung im BWL-Bachelor- und Masterstudium oder an Fortbildungsinstitutionen Verbreitung finden wird als auch akademisch interessierten Vertriebsmanagern kompetente Hinweise zum professionellen Management von Verkaufsaußendiensten bietet.

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Conference Proceedings

Book Chapters