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All the World’s a Smart Phone for GWSB’s new Marketing Professors

Donna Hoffman

Donna Hoffman

Tom Novak

Tom Novak

Two new GWSB faculty members – a husband-and-wife team of digital marketing experts – have launched a research center to study how consumers interact with everyday “smart” objects like watches and appliances.

The Center for the Connected Consumer (CCC), co-directed by Donna Hoffman, Louis Rosenfeld Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Marketing, and Tom Novak, Denit Trust Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Marketing, is the latest research initiative from the duo, who began studying online marketing 20 years ago when the Web browser Mosaic was released.

Back then, Web research focused on content, and how consumers were finding and utilizing it.  Next came social media, when consumers used the Internet to communicate with one another.

Now, say Hoffman and Novak, the Internet is entering the “post-social media” generation, and their research will shift focus to how consumers interact with smart objects, and how those objects interact with one another.

To further understanding of consumer behavior in post-social media environments, the CCC will sponsor conferences, workshops, seminars and student projects, and partner with corporations that support its activities.

One issue is how the emergence of the “Internet of things” will change daily life. Will it, for instance, be possible to find a kosher deli near a bike trail in an unfamiliar city by talking into a smart device, instead of by scanning multiple websites?

“We’ve been through three iterations of the Internet,” said Novak. “I think this most recent phase may turn out to be the most exciting of all, and I am happy to be at GWSB as this new era unfolds.”

Novak’s research is focused on consumer behavior in online environments and digital marketing.  In 1993, he and Hoffman founded the research center Project 2000 to study online marketing.

A decade later, the duo started the Sloan Center for Internet Retailing, a research center based at the University of California-Riverside and dedicated to improving the effectiveness of online retailing.

Hoffman’s research has focused on social media, online consumer behavior and digital marketing trends.  She has worked with major corporations, including Procter & Gamble, Intel, Microsoft, FedEx, Land’s End/Sears, and Walmart, among others, on digital marketing strategy. Hoffman is an academic trustee of the Marketing Science Institute.

“I’m very proud of the fact that my research has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Marketing Science Institute,” she said.

In addition to their research initiatives, Hoffman and Novak will teach new courses at GWSB this spring, including electronic marketing (Novak) and integrated marketing communications (Hoffman).  Both will be offered for both MBA and undergraduate students.



Posted by gwsb on October 29, 2013 | Filed under: GWSB News.

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