Marketing

Corporations utilize multi-person buying committees to be sure that high-ticket decisions are based on broad input and merit. But new research about customer satisfaction that draws on social identity theory shows that members of buying groups may align their opinions with those of the group, especially if the individual members are strongly connected. W. P. Carey marketing Professor Ruth Bolton says managers should consider this issue when forming buying groups and setting up their processes. Other measures to protect the process include building a measure of anonymity into reports, providing information well in advance of discussions, and fostering a culture where it is OK to disagree.

Arizona Cardinals Stadium, a $355 million, multi-purpose, high tech athletic entertainment facility, is considered among the top ten in the world. When it officially opened on September 10 it sported all the bells and whistles, except one: a corporate name and a lucrative naming rights contract. Naming rights are key to the success of a franchise, say ASU experts, because they provide critical cash, good will and branding opportunities. Observers are wondering: are the Cardinals asking too much money (an undisclosed amount) for naming rights; are negotiations stuck on the Cardinals negative image; is the Glendale stadium too remote; or are the Cardinals just too distracted with operational issues?

When Dell Computer Corp. announced in May that it is opening two retail stores, retail industry observers took note. Dell, with $56 billion in revenue this year, was a pioneer in developing the online model of retailing. Brick-and-mortar retailers have followed, creating their own online stores. So why is Dell increasingly interested in the mall? It's an experiment to see if the company can reach a less tech-savvy segment of the market. Marketing experts at the W. P. Carey School of Business comment that Dell's move into a traditional retail setting, like the online ventures of the storefront retailers, is an example of a company experimenting with sales channels. Adding channels helps companies target groups of consumers. What's not clear is whether more channels increase sales.

Clashing cultural cues – rather than discriminatory doctors – could cause at least part of the medical care gap between black and white Americans, according to a recent study of patient adherence by Jonathan D. Ketcham, a professor of health management and policy at the W. P. Carey School of Business, and Karen E. Lutfey of the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts. Ketcham said that his results indicated "no evidence of a negative stereotype against black patients. In fact, it seemed to be only about communication - the physicians and patients disagreed about how adherent they were."

Service is the next frontier in the Chinese economy. As China's biggest cities begin their transformation from manufacturing to service centers, Chinese corporations must relax and adapt their management style if they are to compete in the global service sector, according to panelists at the recent Third Annual Executive Forum in Shanghai hosted by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Shanghai National Accounting Institute. The requirements of a successful service sector include flexibility, the ability to move and invest ahead of the growth curve, and careful human resources management — all new concepts for Chinese managers accustomed to the mindset of a command economy.