Bauer Researcher Explores Trendspotting

Published on July 14, 2017

Marketing Professor Named Finalist for Award Recognizing Significant Industry Contribution

Bauer Marketing Professor Rex Du was recently named a finalist for the 2017 William F. O’Dell Award by the Journal of Marketing Research for a study on trendspotting.

Five years ago, Bauer College Marketing Professor Rex Du threw a life jacket to market researchers drowning in a sea of data.

In a study published by the Journal of Marketing Research in 2012, Du and a co-author presented a statistical model that helps researchers distinguish between long-term trends and passing fads as they study keyword search data from Google Trends.

Since then, market researchers in fields ranging from supermarkets to lending institutions have used the findings to track evolving consumer interests. The study, “Quantitative Trendspotting,” was recently named a finalist for the 2017 William F. O’Dell Award, which honors the Journal of Marketing Research article that has made the most significant, long-term contribution to marketing theory, methodology, and/or practice.

“Modern marketers have to constantly monitor a wide range of indicators on consumer interests and behaviors and will benefit greatly from a scientific approach that allows them to distill multitudes of noisy individual signals into a few key common underlying trends,” the authors wrote in an impact statement.

“In a nutshell, by marrying a powerful new statistical tool (structural dynamic factor analysis) with a powerful new data source (Google Trends), our work on quantitative trendspotting offers marketers a new way to see the proverbial ‘Big Picture’ in the age of Big Data.”

The researchers, wanting to emphasize the practical applications of their work, went beyond traditional channels for presenting their academic work. Du and co-author Wagner Kamakura promoted the findings at the Advanced Research Techniques (ART) Forum, an annual conference organized by the American Marketing Association. Their work, which tracked trends in the U.S. automotive industry, won Best Paper Award, and the researchers later developed a tutorial for the ART Forum demonstrating how online search trends could be leveraged as a source of market intelligence. Major automakers, a mortgage lender, food and beverage companies and a major market research company are among those who have adopted the researchers’ method of quantitative trendspotting.

Du, the Marvin Hurley Professor of Marketing at Bauer, conducts research in online consumer interest tracking, brand health tracking, market response modeling, digital marketing, customer relationship management, new product diffusion and sales forecasting.

By Julie Bonnin