The department of marketing management at RSM is well-known for its leading marketing research, which is among the top universities in Europe in the sheer amount and quality of publications. “We’re a relatively small department with a significantly younger and more international profile than most,” says Department Chair Prof. dr. Ale Smidts. This may explain the vigour of the department, which focuses on marketing management and strategy, marketing modelling, and on the fascinating realm of consumer behaviour.
“We have this fantastic behavioural lab that we share with the Faculty of Psychology,” says Prof. Smidts. Laboratory experiments in consumer behaviour – from watching an ad while having your eye movements tracked to understanding why people choose healthy or organically grown food products – provide business, and even government agencies, with useful insights so RSM research can be a force for positive change, helping people and organisations worldwide to thrive and prosper.
What do consumers want?
“If you understand consumers and how they make decisions, it’s a lot easier to figure out the products you need to make for them,” he says, “and how you need to present information to them.” This isn’t just about selling. “From a public policy perspective knowing how consumers function and make decisions is really important. That indicates how we can provide people the information needed to make good decisions.”
Modelling and management
Much of the department’s work is done with business, using hard science to solve practical managerial issues. Marketing modelling based on mathematical models helps marketing managers make better decisions. “For example one of our groups has done work on how to optimally schedule movies in a theatre, and that requires really complex algorithms,” says Prof. Smidts.
Mentoring new talent
Marketing is an area of business with lots of impact in daily life, and its dynamic evolution depends upon daring new ideas and high quality research. The Department seeks out and grooms the most ambitious young MPhil and PhD scholars, involving them in research from the beginning. But grooming young practitioners is also important, says Prof. Smidts: “RSM is distinguished by incredibly entrepreneurial undergrads,” he says. “We’ve got a lot of 19-year-olds starting companies, and it’s to our benefit to mentor them.”