Do to others what you want them to do to you

20 Apr 2016

Latest paper on online switching barriers and loyalty

Really delighted that our paper titled 'Constructing Online Switching Barriers: Examining the Effects of Switching Costs and Alternative Attractiveness on E-Store Loyalty in Online Pure-Play Retailers' (Yes, it is a really long title), has been published in 'Electronic Markets: - The International Journal on Networked Business'.

I co-wrote this paper with Ghazali, E., Nguyen, B. and Mohd Any, A. A.

It has been published online and should be is now out in print as well. Here is the abstract of the paper.


Developing switching barriers to retain customers has become a critical marketing strategy for online retailers. However, research on the role of switching barriers in e-retailing is still limited. Recent trends show that when competitors are just one click away, it is questionable if customer loyalty can be achieved at all in online environments. This leads to the research question on whether switching barriers have any impact on e-loyalty in pure-play retailers. The paper examines the influence of switching barriers on customer retention (i.e., e-store loyalty) and further investigates the moderating effects of switching costs and alternative attractiveness. Data were gathered via a survey of 590 shoppers of online pure-play retailers in the UK. Findings show that customer satisfaction and the two dimensions of switching barriers (perceived switching costs and perceived attractiveness of alternatives) significantly influence customer loyalty. Contrary to findings in earlier studies, it was found that switching costs did not moderate the relationships between satisfaction and loyalty nor between perceived attractiveness of alternatives and loyalty. The paper makes imperative recommendations to develop switching barriers and to foster loyalty along with suggestions for future research.

Please let me know if you would like a soft copy of the paper:

To cite:

Ghazali, E., Nguyen, B., Mutum, D. S. and Mohd Any, A. A. (2016). Constructing Online Switching Barriers: Examining the Effects of Switching Costs and Alternative Attractiveness on E-Store Loyalty in Online Pure-Play RetailersElectronic Markets: - The International Journal on Networked Business. 26(2), 157-171.
DOI: 10.1007/s12525-016-0218-1

10 Apr 2016

Power of advertising

What comes to your mind when anybody mentions Santa Claus- Father Christmas?

This image?

A jolly, portly old man with big white beard and wearing a red suit.

But Look closely at the image. What is he drinking?

"In 1931, Coca‑Cola commissioned Swedish-American artist Haddon Sundblom to paint Santa Claus for the company's Christmas adverts. Prior to this, Santa had been portrayed in a variety of ways throughout history: tall and gaunt; short and elfin; distinguished and intellectual; even downright frightening." - Source.

I always use this example to highlight the power of marketing (and advertising).

Santa was not created by Coca Cola, but the cultural icon we have come to associate with him was indeed created by Coca Cola. 

Also read: 5 Things You Never Knew About Santa Claus and Coca-Cola.

4 Mar 2016

Top Sci fi movie

I am a big sci-fi fan and among all the sci-fi movies, I think Minority Report (2002) is the best. Not Star Wars, Star Trek or even Blade Runner but Minority Report. The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg and had Tom Cruise playing the lead character. It was based on the story by famous sci-fi writer, Philip K. Dick.

Spolier alert

This is a movie which I use as an example in a number of marketing modules which I teach. It is amazing because so many of the things predicted in the story/ movie have actually come true.

1. Predicting crime before it happens

The Los Angeles and Santa Cruz police departments working along with academics (of course) and a company called PredPol used big data to predict crime. They adapted an algorithm which has been used to predict earthquakes and fed it past crime data. According to the reports, the software was able to predict where crimes are likely to occur down to 500 square feet. yes, that's right - 500 feet. The use of this software resulted in a 33% reduction in burglaries and 21% reduction in violent crimes in LA where the software was used.

2. Computers controlled by hand gestures

Though not as advanced as in the movie, the tech is already here - in fact, it is quite common and those who have a Microsoft Xbox One would be aware of the Kinect hand gesture navigation. However this feature was dropped last year with their latest update.

3. Completely automated Factories

Toyota is already building automated car factories run completely by robots.

4. Product Placement in Movies

Tom Cruise's character escapes using a futuristic Lexus car. The Lexus 2054 concept car was developed specifically for the movie on the request of Steven Spielberg. Though not a typical product placement in a movie, it is a good example.

5. Autonomous cars

These driverless/ self-driving cars are no longer science fiction and several car companies as well as Google are in the process of testing out various prototypes on the road. See Wired: Autonomous vehicles and Popular science: autonomous cars.

6. Targeted ads

The movie features retinal recognition technologies which trigger targeted and personalised ads based on the customer's preferences and past shopping history. Can you recall where this happens? Though this is not reality yet, researchers are already working on biometric retinal recognition . A number of websites including Amazon and Facebook now deliver targeted and personalized ads based on your surfing and shopping history.

Did you notice other predictions in the minority report that has come true?

What is your favourite sci-fi movie?

25 Dec 2015

Top 50 Marketing Profs who Tweet 2015

UPDATE: 2 Jan 2015: Added Dirk vom Lehn

I will not delete anyone that gets pushed down the list though it is now over 50. 

Removed few on the list who are no longer academics.

Here Marketing Profs refer to academics who teach marketing and related subjects in Universities, including some professors in Psychology & PR.

These are the opinion leaders in the field of Marketing. However, it is quite surprising that a number of the "Gurus" in Marketing academia are not really active on social media including Twitter and are not represented in this list.

The ranking is based on the number of followers as of 25 December 2015.

I am proudly representing Malaysia in the list.

Note: Please let me know if you want to be added to/ removed from the list. 
  1. Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) - Rutgers University - 121K
  2. Dan Ariely (@danariely) - Duke University - 104K
  3. Travis Langley (@Superherologist) - Henderson State University - 94.7K 
  4. Gary R. Schirr (@ProfessorGary) - Radford University - 74.9K
  5. Nancy Richmond (@NancyRichmond) - Florida International University - 73.4K 
  6. Patrick Strother (@PatrickStrother) - University of Minnesota - 35.2K
  7. Jennifer Aaker (@aaker) - Stanford University - 24.4K
  8. David Gerzof Richard (@davidgerzof) - Emerson College - 22.7K
  9. Bang Nguyen (@ProfBangNguyen) - East China Univ. of Science and Technology - 15K
  10. Mike Johansson (@mikejny) - Rochester Institute of Technology - 14.6K
  11. Ron Strand (@stickyslogans) - Mount Royal University - 13.7K
  12. Carol Phillips (@carol_phillips) - University of Notre Dame - 12.6K
  13. David Aaker (@DavidAaker) - University of California - 11.6K
  14. Simon Chadwick (@Prof_Chadwick) - Salford University - 9609
  15. Lauri Harrison (@lharrison) - Columbia University - 9003
  16. Tracy Tuten (@brandacity) - East Carolina University - 8500
  17. Dilip Mutum (@admutum) - The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus - 8295
  18. Jim Joseph (@JimJosephExp) - New York University - 8053
  19. Kimberly Whitler (@KimWhitler) - University of Virginia - 7215
  20. Christophe Benavent (@Benavent) - Paris Ouest University - 5920
  21. Denny McCorkle (@DennyMcCorkle) - University of Northern Colorado - 5808
  22. John Deighton (@HBSmktg) - Harvard University - 5674
  23. Karen Russell (@KarenRussell) - University of Georgia - 5142
  24. Richard Ladwein (@rladwein) - Université de Lille - 5079
  25. Byron Sharp (@ProfByron) - University of South Australia - 4864
  26. Markus Giesler (@DrGiesler) - York University - 3924
  27. Barbara Kahn (@barbarakahn) - University of Pennsylvania - 3144
  28. Robert Kozinets (@Kozinets) - York University - 3049
  29. Eric Vernette (@VernetteE) -  Toulouse University - 3001
  30. Jaideep Prabhu (@JaideepPrabhu) - University of Cambridge - 2833
  31. Philip Kotler (@kotl) - Northwestern University - 2429
  32. Miguel Guinalíu (@GUINALIU) - University of Zaragoza - 2242
  33. Steven H. Seggie (@Seggitorial) - Özyeğin University - 1974
  34. Dirk vom Lehn (@dirkvl) - King’s College London - 1882
  35. Sue Bridgewater (@SueBridgewater) - University of Liverpool - 1666
  36. Marie Taillard (@marietaillard) - ESCP Europe - 1594
  37. T. Bettina Cornwell (@BettinaCornwell) - University of Oregon - 1526
  38. Tom van Laer (@tvanlaer) - City University London - 1504
  39. Gemma Calvert (@DrGemmaCalvert) - Nanyang Technological University - 1451
  40. Janet Ward (@DrJanet_A_Ward) - University of Sunderland - 1286
  41. Michelle Weinberger (@consumerlife) - Northwestern University - 1235
  42. Steve Vargo (@SteveVargo) - The University of Hawai’i at Manoa - 1210
  43. Aric Rindfleisch (@aricrindfleisch) - The Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - 1158 
  44. Joan Ball (@joanpball) - St. John's University - 1123
  45. Stephen Dann (@stephendann)- Australian National University - 1095
  46. Spencer M Ross (@srossmktg) - McGill University - 1055
  47. Ana Isabel Canhoto (@canhoto) - Oxford Brookes University - 1034
  48. Vincent Balusseau (@vbalusseau) - Audencia Business School - 999
  49. Finola Kerrigan (@FinolaK) - University of Birmingham - 998
  50. Laurence Dessart (@laurencedessart) - Kedge Business School - 970
  51. Hope Jensen Schau (@HopeJensenSchau) - University of Arizona - 935
  52. Anthony Patterson (@TonyPatterson) - The University of Liverpool - 922
  53. Alexa Fox (@AlexaKaye3) - Ohio University - 896
  54. Robert Lusch (@RobertLusch) - University of Arizona - 863
  55. Ekant Veer (@VeerOffTrack) - University of Canterbury - 847
  56. Linda Tuncay Zayer (@dr_tea) - Loyola Univ. Chicago - 838
  57. Tracy Harwood (@tgharwood) -  De Montfort Univ. - 812
  58. Andrew Smith (@anksmith) - Merrimack College - 797 
  59. Joonas Rokka (@jccnas) - EMLYON Business School - 775
  60. Emma K. Macdonald (@DrEmmaMacdonald) - Cranfield University - 732
  61. Joachim Scholz (@joachimscholz)  - California Polytechnic State University - 721
  62. Raymond Fisk (@RayFiskTX) - Texas State University - 699
  63. Christine Ennew (@ChrisEnnew) - The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus - 696

Update History:

  • 29 Dec. 2015 : Added Aric Rindfleisch
  • 28 Dec. 2015 : Added Vincent Balusseau, Eric Vernette, Barbara Kahn, Richard Ladwein, Spencer M Ross, Linda Tuncay Zayer, Michelle Weinberger and Joan Ball. The list now has 60 Marketing Professors. Maybe I should rename the list.
  • 27 Dec. 2015 : I have added Tom van Laer, Simon Chadwick, Andrew Smith and Markus Giesler. 

      10 Dec 2015

      Virtual worlds, social media gaming, celebrity branding and personal branding

      I recently attended the ANZMAC (The Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy) 2015 conference which was hosted by the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. It ran from the 30th of November to the 2nd of December.

      I presented a paper titled "Lady Gaga goes virtual: Social network gaming communities’ response towards virtual branding efforts" which I co-wrote with Dr. Ezlika Ghazali, The University of Malaya and Dr. Bang Nguyen, East China University of Science and Technology.

      Here is the abstract of the paper:
      "This study examines community members' response towards a one-off online personal branding campaign of Lady Gaga. Using a qualitative content analysis approach, the study critically examines forum messages from the official Zynga forums of the social game, Farmville. The findings reveal that in the context of social network games, the marketers' role is, to some extent, reduced, while the roles of consumers, especially opinion leaders, become paramount. Theoretical and managerial implications are also discussed."
      The background of how I thought about doing a research on this topic is quite interesting (at least to me). While doing my PhD a few years back, I was introduced to Farmville, a game on Facebook. I think that this game as well as other social games helped me through some of the most stressful times during my PhD journey. It was around the time I was writing up my thesis that American
      singer and songwriter Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, who brands herself as Lady Gaga, partnered with Zynga, the creators of Farmville to launch and promote her album 'Born this way'. As far as I know, she was the first artist to ever launch an album on a social media game.

      I did a bit of preliminary research and realised that this campaign presented several research opportunities to examine the response of members of an online community towards a branding campaign.

      Most studies on virtual worlds have focused on Would of Warcraft and Second Life and no one have actually looked at looked on games on Facebook. The gaming communities are different from the Brand communities on Facebook and present a totally different context. I also discovered that studies on celebrity branding mostly examined their role as a brand ambassador and specifically how the brand image fits with the personality of the celebrity. There was a lack of studies on the celebrity as a brand - which I feel is linked to concept of personal branding. To my surprise, when I looked at pesonal branding literature and how I could link to celebrity branding, I discovered that most of the papers were in human resource journals and linked to personal development.

      There is of course the question of methodology. I could have used the increasingly popular Netnographic techniques made popular by Robert Kozinets. However, in the end I used content analysis method for this research.

      I would love to hear from and to collaborate with other researchers who are researching in any of the areas listed here.

      19 Oct 2015

      Academics and the dark side

      Many of us grew up watching Star Wars and the various films has had an impact on a number of us. Anyway, one of my papers is titled  "Customer relationship management: advances, dark sides, exploitation and unfairness." My friend Bang Nguyen (my co-author) came up with the name. He is a big sci-fi fan and though I have not confirmed it with him, you can probably guess where the phrase "dark sides" come from. In fact, he has written a few other papers with the phrase "dark side" in the title.

      Today while going through some academic papers, I came across one with "dark side" in the title. This made me wonder and a quick search on Google Scholar reveals that there are around  3,920,000 paper with the phrase "dark side" in the title. When I restrict the search results to publications which came out this year (2015),   there were an astounding 50,100 results including books, chapters and journal papers.

      I further narrowed down the search to the keywords "dark side marketing" and restricted to publications this year, gave me 8,770 results.

      The Force is definitely with us.

      12 Oct 2015

      Malaysia is top market for luxury car brands in South East Asia

      updated: 15/10/2015; 13/10/2015

      The biggest car market in ASEAN is Indonesia (sales of 830096 units in 2014) followed by Thailand (with 579273 units sold) and Malaysia (444551 units sold) (ASEAN automative federation, 2014).

      However, when it comes to luxury car brands, my research shows that Malaysia is the leading country in ASEAN.

      For example, take the BMW group. 2014 was a fantastic year for them with record breaking sales through out the World (including the 3 countries listed above) with 2,117,965 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles sold. Let us compare the sales in these 3 countries:

      1. Indonesia: 9,046 vehicles, comprising 7,808 BMWs, 655 MINIs and 583 BMW Motorrads
      2. Thailand; 8,386 vehicles of both BMW and MINI brands
      3. Malaysia: 9,419 vehicles with monthly sales upwards of 900 units.

      Mercedes-Benz, which is the leading premium car brand in all the three countries also shows a similar trend.

      Mercedes-Benz Thailand sold more vehicles with 11,524 units sold as compared to Malaysia (a record-breaking 9,419 vehicles) in 2014. In the first five months of this year, Mercedes-Benz Thailand took the lead in the premium car segment in the country with sales record of 4108 units. However, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia recorded their all-time sales record in the first quarter of 2015 with 5163 units passenger cars sold. This is also higher than in Indonesia which saw sales of 1800 cars between January and July 2015.

      Though I cannot generalise based on sales figures of only two luxury car makers, preliminary results from other luxury companies also show that Malaysia is one of the top markets for their cars as well in the ASEAN region.

      This thus leads to some interesting questions. Besides population and income, what do marketers also need to take into account when it comes to luxury products?