|Areas of Study / Marketing > Stephen M. Ross School of Business PhD Program
The field of marketing focuses on the basic questions of how consumers make
choices and how the companies that compete for the business of those consumers
ought to design their marketing programs. Marketing scholars thus research hundreds
of topics, from the role of emotions in consumer decisions to the sales response
to sales promotions and pricing, the management of distribution channels, the
creation and optimization of customer satisfaction and competitive marketing
Like the field itself, the marketing program at the Ross School of Business is extraordinary in its breadth. We accept only a few students
each year, but our faculty is large and diverse.
Faculty research is both behavioral and quantitative, and neither a psychological
nor a microeconomic/modeling paradigm dominates. Indeed, much of the work done
here combines both approaches, and students are encouraged to draw on the strengths
of relevant University departments as they develop their own interests. This
ability to draw on world-leading scholarship in the basic disciplinespsychology,
economics, and statistics, for examplefrom other University of Michigan
Schools is one key differentiating factor of our program.
A sampling of faculty research projects would include work on consumer evaluation
and choice, stereotype and attitude formation, information processing, emotion
and consumer behavior, and measurement of consumer response to marketing elements
like sales promotion and advertising. The School is one of the leading world
centers for the study of consumer satisfaction. Faculty also work in the areas
of new product development and market segmentation, distribution channel management,
pricing decisions, competitive strategies and customer orientation in firms.
Its rare to find something that immediately has an impact on business.
But much of the work on customer satisfaction being done here is finding its
way pretty fast to companies. For instance, you might believe in the beginning
that companies should always maximize customer satisfaction, and yet, that need
not be true. There may be a point of diminishing returns, and to maximize profitability,
maybe you need to optimize and not maximize customer satisfaction.
Rajeev Batra, Sebastian S. Kresge Professor of Marketing