Bauer Marketing Professors Win Top Award for Product Feature Trends Research

Published on August 14, 2014

Bauer Marketing Professors Win Best Paper Award From AMA Advanced Research Techniques Forum

C. T. Bauer College of Business marketing professors Rex Du and Ye Hu were awarded the 2014 Best Paper Award at the Advanced Research Techniques Forum for their study on online consumer trends.

C. T. Bauer College of Business marketing professors Rex Du and Ye Hu were awarded the 2014 Best Paper Award at the Advanced Research Techniques Forum for their study on online consumer trends.

The American Marketing Association awarded marketing faculty from the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business the 2014 Best Paper Award at the Advanced Research Techniques Forum for a recent study on consumer trends online.

Bauer doctoral student Sina Damangir assisted Hu and Du in their research.

Bauer doctoral student Sina Damangir assisted Hu and Du in their research.

The team included marketing professors Rex Du and Ye Hu, and doctoral student Sina Damangir. Over 170 attendees of the forum reviewed their paper, “Monitoring Shifts in Product Feature Importance via Trends in Online Searches,” rating it the highest of the total 20 submissions.

In their research, the Bauer team identified factors beyond the control of marketers that can lead to changes in the importance of various product features that shape consumers’ purchase decisions. The changes, in turn, can lead to substantial shifts in the relative attractiveness of products with different feature levels.

“The challenge lies in finding a reliable and yet cost-effective way to track how the weights consumers place on various product features evolve over time,” Du said.

He added: “In the context of the U.S. automotive market, we explore the potential of using trends in online searches for feature-related keywords as proxies for trends in the importance of five common vehicle features.”

By examining the dynamics between feature search tools and sales, the researchers were able to demonstrate how marketers can use the trends to act more proactively in anticipating changing consumer tastes.

“Instead of using surveys, we used the relative intensity of consumer online searches for various feature-related keywords as predictors of consumer tastes, assuming product features that are becoming more important should receive increasingly more searches from consumers,” Du said.

The research’s recognition will create new opportunities in and out of the classroom.

“The award and research will enhance the reputation of Bauer among marketing research practitioners, creating opportunities for collaborative research with leading marketing research organizations,” Du said.

By Ann Lynd