On March 24, Mays Business School hosted the 2017 Mays Marketing Research Camp, chaired by the Center for Retailing Studies Research Director and Coleman Professor of Marketing Venky Shankar.

In its 11th year, the event presents faculty the opportunity to share, hear and collaborate with some of the top scholars in marketing on the latest empirical, analytical and behavioral research.

Together, the four papers presented by faculty experts from Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, University of Madison-Wisconsin’s School of Business, University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and Mays Business School demonstrated how relevant research can advance the world’s prosperity.

Around the world, America and other nations are debating how to provide quality, affordable and accessible health care. Sachin Gupta, Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Marketing at Cornell, presented research that examined nine years’ worth of surgeries at India’s Aravind Eye Care System.

The eye center, which operates 2,500 camps in southern India, offers cataract corrective surgery to both paying and indigent customers, while still turning a profit as a business.

By studying service productivity methods from McDonald’s, Aravind can now deliver efficient, low cost medical care. While 75 percent of patients pay out of pocket, the hospital successfully achieves its mission to “eliminate needless blindness” by serving the other 25 percent, who are poverty stricken, with streamlined care made possible by sponsors like Rotary Clubs. With that support, individual patient costs can be as low as $12.

According to Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, Regents Professor and M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership, many U.S. hospitals are challenged to provide similar community benefits to those without insurance. Gupta’s research proves that “mission activities of highly subsidized care can generate revenue too.”

Current Mays Ph.D. students were also invited to participate in the event.

Second-year student Unnati Narang said the “two-way interactions and in-depth discussions [with faculty] helped broaden [her] understanding of important marketing questions and research methods.”

“It was particularly useful to also get the speakers’ early thoughts on some of my own research,” she said.

The remaining talks from the day covered:

  • “Managing Channel Relationships through Selective Entry and Costly Exit”
  • “Why Customer Service Frustrates Consumers: Exploiting Hassle Costs by a Tiered Customer Service Organization”
  • “Budgeting and Consumer Financial Decision Making”

According to Christina Kan, assistant professor of marketing at Mays, “budgeting is a very important tool for consumers to achieve positive financial well-being.”

Using Black Friday as a test environment, participants were asked to set their gift-buying goals in advance. Those who pre-planned firm spending limits spent less compared to those with ambiguous budget goals, thus proving that consumers can mitigate overspending by setting clear limits and keeping a specific financial goal in mind. Kahn commented that “part of the joy of shopping is spending freely.” Not surprisingly, those who stuck to their budgets reported less spending enjoyment.

Kahn’s research gives actionable tips for money-wise budgeting, saving and prudent spending, however, it’s not an easy process for most consumers. As one survey participant commented, “I HATE budgeting my money because it tells me I’m always broke.”