The Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) at Mays Business School is pleased to welcome Scott Benedict as its new director. An accomplished retail executive, he comes to Texas A&M University with more than 35 years of experience spanning traditional brick-and-mortar, eCommerce and international retailing.

Scott Benedict

Benedict most recently served as the Divisional Merchandise Manager for Health, Beauty & Grocery at eCommerce leader Groupon in Chicago. He has also held positions at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, Service Merchandise and Montgomery Ward.

Leveraging extensive experience in retail business strategy, process refinement, and multichannel eCommerce, Benedict brings a track record of helping companies seize opportunities to increase operational efficiencies, control operating costs, and optimize profits while serving customers across multiple business channels.

“We are pleased to have Scott joining us as the Director of the Center for Retailing Studies, and he comes to us with significant executive experience and an impressive record of accomplishment across retail formats,” said David Griffith, Marketing Department Head. “We are happy to welcome Scott into the Mays Business School family and look forward to his leadership of the Center for Retailing Studies.”

With a desire to help influence the next generation of retail leaders, Benedict spent time keeping an eye on various retailing programs across the country on social media, including CRS. When the opportunity came along to join one of the top retailing programs in the nation at a Tier 1 institution, he didn’t hesitate.

“I have a strong passion for retailing, developing future leaders, and working with retailing professionals to share challenges and best practices,” Benedict explained. “CRS gives me the opportunity to do all of those things. We have a wonderful foundation in place.”

At Walmart, Benedict particularly appreciated the company’s core basic beliefs of respect for the individual, service to the customer, striving for excellence, and operating with integrity. His affinity for organizations with strong cultural beliefs is something that makes the transition from the corporate world to the academic world in Aggieland a seamless one.

“I have really enjoyed being a part of organizations with strong values and cultural beliefs,” said Benedict. “Texas A&M’s Aggie Core Values align strongly with what I feel strongly about, and have been taught to believe in my entire professional career.”

Some of Benedict’s areas of expertise include the development of category strategies, supplier performance management, retail merchandising, product marketing, inventory management, omnichannel strategy, and competitive price strategy. In an ever-changing era of retail, he seeks to bring that industry experience and perspective to Mays, and to the Center for Retailing Studies.

“I was taught as a buyer the concept of ‘divine discontent’,” he explained. “In other words, never be satisfied with the status quo and always seek to improve the business and your people.”

Benedict sees the opportunity to deepen the relationships already formed between CRS and its industry partners while examining how the program can grow and change to better equip the retail leaders of the future. “We need to continuously evolve and change in order to serve the dynamic needs of the retailing community now, and in the future” he added.

For more information, please visit crs.mays.tamu.edu

Follow us on social media: @crstamu

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Staff, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Mays Business School hosted the 2nd annual Interactive Marketing Research Conference (IMRC) during March 27-29 at the CityCentre campus in Houston. Dr. Venky Shankar, Coleman Chair Professor of Marketing at Mays, chaired the event. Approximately fifty researchers from all over the world attended to showcase their research on data and market trends, featuring over twenty topics.

Keynote Presentations

The event kicked off on Wednesday, March 27, with a research poster session, followed by a reception at the nearby Hotel Sorrells with an address from Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones.

Thursday morning began with an industry keynote address from Damian Fernandez-Lamela, VP Analytics at Fossil. Fernandez-Lamela spoke on the watch market experiencing continuous negative growth from since 2015, with major disruptions in two areas, product technology and distribution/supply chain. The goal of the Fossil marketing department now is to improve the ROI and make smarter decisions using analytics. The company is also working on expanding its focus from just the U.S. to the global market. He also highlighted two marketing challenges: analyzing every touch point along the purchase journey, and determining consumer willingness to pay using surveys.

The academic keynote address came from K. Sudhir, James L. Frank Professor of Marketing at Yale University. Sudhir discussed changes associated with the big data revolution in the customer journey (marketing, engineering/CS, social science) and transparency across firm silos (cross-functional coordination). Sudhir is director of the Yale China India Insights (CIIP) Program. He leads the data-driven consulting and research collaborations with a range of Fortune 500 companies at the Yale Center for Customer Insights.

Thursday concluded with a dinner and a keynote address from Puneet Manchanda, Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Manchanda focused on the topic of how society achieves content creation and consumption through a historic analysis of online behavior with the news publishing industry as the focus. Going forward, “if you’re not willing to reward people for creating content, you won’t have it,” he explained.

Award Winner

Mays Marketing Ph.D. student Unnati Narang was presented with the 2018 Shankar-Spiegel Award for the best dissertation research in interactive marketing. Her proposal was chosen from a large competitive pool of research proposals. Her research is on mobile marketing, in particular, retailer mobile apps

Research Presentations

The research presentations by academics covered a gamut of topics, including social media, mobile marketing, robots, digital consumer behavior, and artificial intelligence. A wide array of methodologies were on display, ranging from econometrics to field experiments to machine learning.

Panel Discussion

Friday’s events included a panel discussion on interactive marketing with Pat Coyle, Chief Revenue Office for Texas A&M Athletics, Sarah Darilmaz, Head of Audience Excellence for Annalect , and Vineeth Ram, Chief Revenue Officer for OLI Systems.

Coyle focused on identifying the anonymous customer/fan and using data to track their behavior. He explained how fans wants camaraderie, consistency, recognition, and access to sports and their team. He talked about how to engage fans who approach athletics with a lot of passion through digital marketing.

Darilmaz spoke about digital billboard marketing and using geolocation data to support marketing content for the audience. She also discussed the difficulties with digital advertising against the privacy vs. personalization trade-off.

Ram discussed his experience in Business-to-Business (B2B) eCommerce, working with artificial intelligence technologies, and collaborating with digital publication companies, to grow OLI’s social media presence. He added that comparative metrics on digital media is what governs strategy.

 

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

At Mays Business School, we step up to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,400 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and for faculty research.

Categories: Faculty, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

An agency team of 28 students in the Aggie Advertising Club and Lisa Troy’s advanced advertising class at Texas A&M University placed second in the district level American Advertising Association’s National Student Advertising Competition.  The team also won a special award for Best Media Plan.  Held in Shreveport, LA April 4 – 6, the competition involved a case study outlined by the current year’s corporate sponsor, Wienerschnitzel. Students spent two full semesters researching and building a $25 million, fully integrated marketing campaign, preparing a professional quality campaign plan book, and presenting the plan to judges at the competition.  Over 150 schools across the country participate in the event each year and the Tenth District, in which Texas A&M participates, is one of the most competitive.

The 2020 Good Bull Advertising team will form in the fall to prepare for next year’s competition.  Students will be seeking donations to help cover the costs of campaign development and travel.  For more information, contact Dr. Lisa C. Troy at LTroy@mays.tamu.edu.

2019 Advertising Competition Team Members: Faiaz Ahbab, Lakyn Allen, Andrew Barker, Sheyanne Chumchal, Tarah Cochran, Maggie Edwards, Shelby Edwards, Shelby Estep, Lindsey Evans, Siobhan Fahy, Clara Gotthardt, Rebecca Griffith, JJ Handy, Kourtney Harris, Michelle Hassler, Luke Jander, Tim Lee, Amber Malague, Lauren Mraz Sarah Pringle, Mollie Pruitt, Mary Laurel Sipe, Stephanie Sovereen, Eugenie Sutio, Kendall Thurston, Sara Turner Rico Wijaya, Haley York Faculty Advisor: Dr. Lisa Troy

Categories: Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

By Nicole Schubert ’19

Leadership and Marketing at Southwest Airlines

Ryan Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Southwest Airlines, spoke to the  Mays Business School MS-Marketing students on Feb. 28 as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series. Green is a 1999 graduate of Mays Business School and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board. Integrity, leadership, drive for excellence, and traditions are all qualities that drew him to Texas A&M University and later to Southwest Airlines.

As CMO, Green has a wide scope of responsibilities, including:

  • Go-to-market efforts
  • Digital platforms
  • Loyalty, partnerships, and products
  • Customer experience
  • Insight and analysis across all the areas listed above

Green said branding and advertising have been the newest and most challenging areas for him. He attributes this challenge to his strengths (Achiever, Analytical, Significance, and Relator as determined Clifton StrengthsFinder), which do not align as well to those areas of marketing. He balances this by enlisting people around him who are strong in this area. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

“Retail is about one simple thing: delighting customers”

Those are the words of Jim McIngvale, owner and founder of Gallery Furniture in Houston.

McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” spoke to more than 350 students, faculty, staff, and local business leaders for the 22nd annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series on Feb. 27 at Mays Business School.

Hosted by the Center for Retailing Studies, the M.B. Zale Visionary Award honors innovation and success in retail. Donald Zale, the son of the Zale Corporation founder, presented McIngvale with his award prior to his presentation.

For more than three decades, Gallery Furniture has been a staple of the Houston community. From their years of excellent customer service to McIngvale’s television catch-phrase “Gallery Furniture saves you money!” to the furniture retailer’s involvement in the local community – Jim McIngvale is a retail icon. …Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Americans will spend a record $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Beyond significant others, consumers are purchasing more on gifts for children, parents, friends, coworkers, and even their pets.

Cheryl Bridges, a noted expert in retailing and interim director of the Center for Retailing Studies, said, “Although fewer Americans are celebrating the event, spending is up due to more experiential gifting,”

…Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

By Leonard Berry

Published in The Conversation

“Cancer survivor” has become a catch-all phrase to refer to living individuals diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer clinics and clinicians, patient advocacy organizations and media reports commonly use the term.

Using cancer survivor as a descriptor is certainly an act with good intentions. After all, people diagnosed with cancer have a diverse array of physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs – and the language of survival can be empowering to many of them. For this reason, institutions that focus on cancer have framed the term broadly. For example, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship has defined cancer survivor as “any person diagnosed with cancer from the time of initial diagnosis until his or her death.”

Nevertheless, as marketing professors who study how to better serve patients, we were struck by the notion of applying the term “cancer survivor” so broadly that it would even include people who ultimately die of cancer.

Should the same term be used for the entire spectrum of living people who have experienced cancer, which represents more than 100 distinct diseases affecting approximately 14 million people in the United States?

A complex issue

Indeed, the published research on this question reflects its complexity. An analysis of 23 studies of how people diagnosed with cancer view the term “cancer survivor” shows that although many embrace it, others see it as inappropriate. Some of them fear not surviving if cancer recurs; others think the term itself is disrespectful to people who die of cancer or believe the term better fits people with cancers more serious than their own.

Still others simply don’t want to live with the “survivor label” or don’t think the term reflects who they are. In studies that ask patients to make a discrete yes–no choice about whether they identify as a cancer survivor, the percentage who say “yes” ranges from about 31 percent to 78 percent, depending on the type of cancer and other individual factors, with breast cancer patients generally showing greater affinity for the term than patients with other types of cancer.

Recognizing that forcing a yes–no choice on this delicate question is not ideal, we partnered with Dr. Katie Deming, a radiation oncologist at Kaiser Permanente, and Dr. Jeffrey Landercasper, clinical adjunct professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, to conduct our own study of how current and former patients perceive the term “cancer survivor.” We measured reactions to the term in three ways: a seven-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree, a 100-point allocation exercise from 0 (negative) to 100 (positive) on a continuous scale, and an open-ended question, “What is your personal opinion about the phrase ‘cancer survivor’ and why do you feel as you do?” We analyzed more than 1,400 surveys completed by patients, primarily with breast cancer, who belong to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Army of Women, an organization that connects researchers with people who want to participate in breast cancer research. About three-quarters of our respondents were currently undergoing cancer treatment.

Our findings reinforce the concern that motivated our study. Respondents’ average scores for the two quantitative questions were slightly above the scale midpoints, indicating many people are negatively disposed to the term. The open-ended question was especially revealing in documenting not only how respondents regarded the term but also why. Overall, about 60 percent of comments were negative, 29 percent positive, and 11 percent neutral.

Among the negative responses to the term “cancer survivor,” the most common theme had to do with its disregarding the patient’s fear of recurrence. One woman’s response captures the essence of this concern: “I feel like I’m tempting fate when I say I’ve survived it.”

Other women who felt negatively about the phrase made statements such as “I don’t deserve to carry the title proudly because I didn’t ‘suffer’ enough to earn [it]”; “I prefer not to define myself by my cancer diagnosis or status”; and “it erases the experience of those who [still] have or will die of the disease.”

Patients who felt positively about being called a cancer survivor often said they took pride in the accomplishment of surviving cancer – as one woman put it, “of winning the battle against this life-threatening disease.” Another said the term made her feel “empowered, instead of victimized.” Others cited the sense of community conferred by the phrase, specifically a “personal connection to other cancer patients.”

Our statistical analysis comparing respondents with negative perceptions versus positive perceptions of the term indicates that undergoing active cancer treatment, advanced cancer stage, and older age at diagnosis or study participation are associated with less positive perceptions.

Health care language should do no harm

The key takeaway from our study, and from other published research on the topic, is that using a single label to describe a diverse population of cancer patients in blanket fashion inevitably leaves a substantial percentage of them feeling unrepresented, perhaps even alienated, by the term – even though many others derive positive benefits from using and hearing it. In short, because the group of people typically described by the term is far from a monolith, a single phrase that is subjective rather than factual is unlikely to be up to the task. The label “cancer survivor” is not based on any specific fact related to a person’s particular treatment or diagnosis; it is plainly subjective.

Language used with and about patients is important and can cause needless distress when used without care. Why not let patients choose the language of their cancer-related identity so that it best reflects their own individual experiences and preferences? Existing research, including our own, suggests that the question is worth considering.

Categories: Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Students from the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School traveled to New York City in January to receive scholarships and awards from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) and National Retail Federation (NRF) Student Program.

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund
As the premier educational fashion non-profit in the U.S, FSF seeks to identify and create career opportunities for students worldwide. It offers hands-on experience via internships with the world’s top fashion companies and most influential leaders. FSF grants the largest sum of money and total number of scholarships in the entire fashion community.

“The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund case study competition this year focused on the Globalization of Fashion. Students were required to select a fashion retailer to expand globally into another country where they had no current brick-and-mortar presence,” explained Cheryl Bridges, Interim Director of the Center for Retailing Studies and Executive Professor. “Our students had to create a marketing and financial plan for their choice, and support their project with primary and secondary research.“

The FSF scholarship winners from Mays (pictured above)
Jacquelyn Armstrong `19 for her project: Anthropologie to Paris, France
Avery Heldenfels `19 for her project: Restoration Hardware into China
Samantha Hunt `19 for her project: Academy Sports+Outdoors to Mexico
Manu Garikipati `20 for her project: Nordstrom to Dubai

Garikipati also received $10,000 in scholarships and finished as a top 5 finalist for the NRF Next Generation Scholarship.

FSF winner Heldenfels remarked “During my time in NYC with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, I was given networking opportunities I never thought could happen. I was able to meet many influential executives and students in the fashion industry that are changing retail’s future. YMA FSF granted me an open door to their network of Alumni and Sponsors, which has already been incredibly valuable as I start my career.” Heldenfels was also selected as the NRF Texas A&M student ambassador for the 2018-2019 academic year.

NRF 2019
Addison Maynard `21 received the Rising Star scholarship for NRF 2019. “One of the most impactful aspects of the NRF Student Program was the mentor round table discussions,” she explained. “Being able to engage with presidents, CEOs, and founders, of leading retail companies such as Nordstrom, Pet Smart, and Brooks Brothers, was amazing. Being nominated as the 2019 Rising Star allowed me to grow my knowledge of the retail industry, meet impressive people that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting, and exposed me to what my future could become.”

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL
At Mays Business School, we step up to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,400 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and for faculty research.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Marketing, News, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Marketing Professor Paul S. Busch got the surprise and honor of his career when Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young showed up in his classroom to present the Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award.

Busch was caught speechless momentarily as he looked around at the group assembled in his Advertising and Creative Marketing Communications class: Young, Dean of Faculties John August, Mays Dean Eli Jones, Marketing Department Head David Griffith, and members of Texas A&M’s Division of Marketing and Communications.

Once he regained his composure, he said, “What a wonderful surprise and honor. I tell my students, ‘I hope you are as fortunate as I have been – to do something you love to do.’ It will be 33 years in June that I have been teaching at Texas A&M, and then to get recognized like this. It doesn’t get any better.” …Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, Texas A&M

Many hospitality, retail, repair, and other businesses offer their customers service guarantees. If the service is substandard, the customer doesn’t pay.

In his article “Service Guarantees Have a Place in Healthcare,” appearing in the Jan. 15 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, Marketing Professor Leonard Berry proposes that healthcare organizations should consider guaranteeing the quality of services they provide that are important to patients and controllable to the organization.

Well-designed and executed service guarantees will strengthen the organization’s culture of service excellence while bolstering its reputation with patients and other stakeholders. Healthcare organizations can—and should—commit to being good enough to guarantee the quality of its services.

This is the first time the concept of service guarantees will be featured in a top medical journal. Annals of Internal Medicine is ranked in the top five of all general medical journals in the world.

Berry is University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, a Regents Professor, the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership, Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence, and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He has been at Texas A&M since 1982, is a guest lecturer internationally, and has written 10 books, including Management Lessons from Mayo ClinicDiscovering the Soul of ServiceOn Great ServiceMarketing Services: Competing Through Quality; and Delivering Quality Service. He is a pioneer in the field of services marketing and is making a significant mark on the healthcare industry.

Categories: Featured Stories, Health Care, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M