Why Retailers Must (But Won’t) Succeed In Introducing Mobile Payment Systems — Catherine Tucker

MIT Sloan Professor Catherine Tucker

MIT Sloan Professor Catherine Tucker

From TechCrunch 

In the digital age, it’s critical for retailers to collect and manage customer data. This information is the key to providing personalization for any kind of shopping experience, as it allows retailers to understand customer preferences and analyze shopping histories.

Smartphone payment systems like Apple Pay are an important method of obtaining this data since they allow data collection across different retailers for the same individual. However, when the data is collected and controlled by a third party like Apple, it is risky for retailers. Read More »

How branding 101 can make leaders more mindful of diversity — Renée Richardson Gosline

MIT Sloan Prof. Renée Richardson Gosline

From The Conversation

A few years ago, I overheard two of my MBA students talking after class about their “personal brands.”

At the time, I was amused. But then I kept hearing more about this notion of “my brand.” I noticed it was the subject of articles in Forbes and Harvard Business Review. Suddenly, I saw book upon book devoted to the topic. The conversation centered around bolstering your personal brand by tweeting the right things, highlighting certain attributes in your LinkedIn profile and ingratiating yourself with other powerful personal brands.

Frankly, I bristle at the phrase “personal brand.” We are not products, we are people. The way we present ourselves should be authentic, not part of a sales pitch or advertising campaign. But then I got to thinking: is there a way to apply branding’s best practices to develop greater leadership?

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Increasing click-through rates with ad morphing — Glen Urban and John Hauser

MIT Sloan Professor Glen Urban

MIT Sloan Professor Glen Urban

MIT Sloan Professor John Hauser

MIT Sloan Professor John Hauser

From Fortune China

Everyone is trying to make their banner ads and new media more effective. In the banner area, 90% of the effort is spent on targeting. If you click on a link, you’ll get a particular ad. A whole industry has emerged focused on collecting click stream data and making recommendations.

But that is only half the picture. Equally important is the question of how you should talk to consumers once they are targeted. This is what ad morphing is all about.

For example, a car company may target a consumer whose click history indicates he is interested in buying a car. However, instead of just randomly sending him car ads, it can track the consumer’s online behavior to determine his preferred communication style. We also call this his cognitive or thinking style. Does the consumer want a picture of the car at a NASCAR race? Or would the consumer prefer to look at the technical aspects of the engine? Or does the consumer want a fashion shot of a driver pulling up to a country club? What will the consumer best respond to?

This is a multi-arm bandit problem because it’s like a slot machine with many arms. The advertiser needs to choose the ideal lever to pull to match the ad to the consumer’s thinking style. However, it’s more difficult with ads because there is uncertainty as to the consumer’s thinking style.

Our algorithm addresses this issue by monitoring click stream data to determine how a consumer makes decisions on the web. After enough information is gathered, the algorithm determines the consumer’s likely thinking styles and matches the optimal ad to our estimates of thinking styles – all in real time.

Partnering with companies like General Motors to test our algorithm, we found that morphing has tremendous potential to increase banner ads’ productivity. Companies work hard just to get a 1-2% improvement in click-throughs, but we found that morphing ads based on thinking styles can improve that rate up to 83%. We also found that morphing can lead to 30% better brand recognition. These are very significant effects.

While our algorithms (see our paper for the algorithms) can be implemented by any good programmer skilled in the art, morphing can challenge the budget. To use this tool, companies have to design more ads – ads that appeal to each of the various thinking styles of customers. There also may be cross-organizational issues, as the people who create those ads must coordinate with the analysts doing the targeting.

However, this is the only algorithm that we’re aware of that integrates thinking styles and morphing in real time. It’s very cutting edge, but it can help move the market to the next wave of action in banner advertising.

Also see the post in Chinese at Fortune China.

Glen Urban is the David Austin Professor in Management, Emeritus, Professor of Marketing, Emeritus, Dean Emeritus, and Chair of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

John Hauser is the Kirin Professor of Marketing and a Professor of Marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

The dialogue party — William Isaacs

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer William Isaacs

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer William Isaacs

From The Hill

Two hundred years ago (August 24, 1814), the British burned the U.S. Capitol and White House to the ground. This took place at a time of an intensely divided American government — where rancor, bitterness, and profane curses were commonplace in Congressional debates between Federalists and Republicans.  Yet, these same Members of Congress stood together to turn back the British and rebuild Washington.

Polarization and intense difference hold sway today too. Shall we come together or let the house burn down?

One of the inspiring lights of that earlier era was Dolley Madison, remembered as the country’s  first “first lady.”  She took it upon herself to provide a context for engagement that cut through the animosity of the time. She redesigned the White House, carving out grand social spaces, to make it possible for people to meet together.

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How to use LinkedIn for career success — Bryn Panee Burkhart

Associate Director of Alumni Career Development Bryn Panee Burkhart

Associate Director of Alumni Career Development Bryn Panee Burkhart

From Financial Times

Do companies really use LinkedIn to hire MBA talent?

Absolutely! The world’s largest professional networking site has become integral in the recruiting strategy of all types of companies, from start-ups to multinationals. Most of LinkedIn’s revenue comes from their corporate talent solutions, which are paid-for services, offering recruiters and companies sophisticated search tools to find highly qualified professionals.

According to LinkedIn, 89 of the Fortune 100 companies currently use those services. Smaller companies purchase premium subscriptions or might even have employees sift through their personal connections to find potential candidates.

The bottom line is by creating a LinkedIn profile, you are putting yourself into a global resume database and there is a chance you could be tapped for job opportunities.

Read More »