Amresh Kumar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor | Marketing
Did you ever wonder what supermarkets and other stores do with the information they collect whenever you swipe your loyalty card while making purchases? I originally was a computer science software programmer, and I now use that experience and my math background to quantitatively analyze consumer behavior.
Most companies use such data for supply-chain accounting. But a lot of them surprisingly don’t use it to drive marketing decisions. If you stock 40,000 items and want to make room for some new products, it’s not as simple as removing some of your lowest sellers. That’s because the people buying them actually might be your most profitable customers. So I’ve developed marketing dashboard metrics that both indicate how each product influences the sales of all other products and identify a business’s best customers. You can then conduct psychological analysis to understand why they come to your store and determine how to get them to become brand advocates who bring in more people like themselves. The results can lead to a very effective marketing strategy.
I also regularly write a journal and online blog—and require my students to do something similar by writing a brief, weekly journal entry about their observations of marketing and human behavior. My students who work as sales clerks in retail clothing stores have noted, for example, that the more confidence they exude when they make clothing recommendations, the more clothes their customers buy. Another realized that despite the many soda brands and flavors available in supermarkets, she had only tried less than six—an accurate reflection of the fact that only a handful of sodas account for the overwhelming majority of sales. You never know how getting in the habit of thinking this way might in the future lead to a worthwhile business idea.
Finally, I tell my students marketing isn’t just advertising, sales and celebrity endorsements. Even if you are not in a marketing-related job, you will always have to market yourself.
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