Diversify and Conquer: An Argument for Reinvigorating Marketing Science with Behavioral Science and Humanities

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[We’re pleased to welcome Gerald Zaltman of Harvard Business School and Olson Zaltman Associates. Dr. Zaltman recently published an article in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly with co-authors Jerry Olson and James Forr of Olson Zaltman Associates, entitled “Toward a New Marketing Science for Hospitality Managers.”]

In “Toward a New Marketing Science for Hospitality Managers,” published in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Jerry Olson, James Forr, and I point out that much of CQ_57_1_Cover.inddmarketing research and a great deal of marketing thought and action is influenced by the ideas and methods of an old marketing science.  We argue that a New Marketing Science is needed in which scientifically sound ideas and methods from the behavioral sciences and humanities are integrated around a coherent scientific perspective.  We feel this is especially important since life in the marketplace is experienced holistically and not in the silo like ways that companies, universities, and specific professions are organized.

Although current marketing does explore new ideas and methods, including neuro/biometric methods and big data approaches, these ideas are often treated piecemeal — used in isolation or as independent add-ons to more traditional work.  In contrast, we advocate integrating the best ideas and approaches from diverse fields to develop a new marketing science.  In “Toward a New Marketing Science” we focus on how key ideas from the mind sciences can produce a deeper and richer understanding of the minds of customers and also the minds of managers.  Other fields containing equally exciting marketing related advances include, linguistics, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, ethnomusicology, and art therapy, to name a few.

We provide four examples of applying a New Marketing Science approach to create emotionally resonant hospitality experiences.  However, the principles of a NMS can be applied to any marketing problem in any industry.  Practicing the NMS requires bold, imaginative thinking that goes beyond simple borrowing of ideas and imitation of best practices.

The abstract:

A New Marketing Science (NMS) is proposed that can dramatically improve a firm’s marketplace performance. The NMS challenges managers to dare to think and act differently. It generates deep insights into the thoughts and actions of both customers and managers and how the two mind-sets interact. As several examples illustrate, it departs from the “old” marketing science by its emphasis on imagination, knowing how and why a practice works, understanding the total customer experience, and focus on effectiveness over efficiency. The NMS is grounded in principles from the behavioral sciences and humanities such as the importance of the unconscious mind, the way mental frames serve as interpretative lenses, the centrality of emotions, the reconstructive nature of memory, and the importance of metaphor for learning about and influencing choices.

You can read “Toward a New Marketing Science for Hospitality Managers” from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Cornell Hospitality Quarterly? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


 
Gerald ZaltmanGerald Zaltman is Founding partner in Olson Zaltman Associates and the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School, where he also was co-director of The Mind of the Market Laboratory. He has authored over 20 books including: How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market and Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal about the Minds of Consumers.

Jerry OlsonJerry Olson is Founding Partner in Olson Zaltman Associates and Professor Emeritus at Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business where he was Earl P. Strong Professor of Marketing and Department Chair. He has published more than 60 papers on these topics in conference proceedings and academic journals , including Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, and Journal of Marketing.

James ForrJames Forr is a director at Olson Zaltman Associates. He has led projects for Fortune 100 clients including IBM, Bank of America, PepsiCo, and P&G along with non-profit and public sector clients such as the AFL-CIO and the Funeral Service Foundation.  He also has led two projects that have helped clients win prestigious Ogilvy Awards from the Advertising Research Foundation.

 

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