Human beings are constantly engaging the five senses. But how does this sensory experience impact a consumer’s choice behavior?

This question was explored at the Fox School of Business’ first-ever sensory marketing conference, Understanding the Customer’s Sensory Experience. The conference was held on June 5th and 6th, at Alter Hall, home of Temple University’s Fox School of Business and School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

The conference focused on the nature of the five human senses, their role in affecting consumer behavior and emotion, and their application within a range of settings, including product and service design.

Fox School of Business marketing professor Maureen Morrin and School of Tourism and Hospitality Management professor Daniel Fesenmaier co-hosted the event.

Attendees included marketing and tourism research experts, doctoral students studying within these disciplines, executives of marketing firms, and industry professionals responsible for developing and improving the consumer experience.

“One of the main goals was to bring together both academics and practitioners who are interested in sensory marketing,” Morrin, Director of the Fox School of Business’ Consumer Sensory Innovation Lab, said. “Just getting industry professionals involved and having them see what we’re working on and researching, and to see what their problems are, I think, is helpful.”

At least one conference attendee plans to take advantage of the partnerships the conference established.

“It was extremely stimulating to bring together academics, people from [the] industry and specialists within each category,” Stephen Gould, a marketing professor at Baruch College, said. “As a professor, I plan to follow up with at least one of the industry presenters who I met at the conference.”

The conference was sponsored by the Fox School of Business, the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, and the National Laboratory for Tourism and eCommerce.

Events included a corporate panel led by executives from firms including Mane USA, Scents Marketing, ScentAir, and HCD Research. Another panel, composed of academic research laboratory directors, led discussions on how they established, operate, and fund their laboratories.  Numerous research presentations were given, with topics ranging from multisensory processing, to product and packaging development.

Conference attendees left with many new ideas, thanks to the different perspectives offered by the presenters. Adriana Madzharov, of the Stevens Institute of Technology, felt that the combination of research presentations, corporate panels, and research laboratory discussions offered a unique and fulfilling experience.

“The conference presented a perfect combination and balance between these three very different approaches to studying sensory customer experiences,” Madzharov said. “Personally, the amount of knowledge and valuable contacts that I acquired in such a short time during the conference makes it for me the best professional experience so far.”

Megan Whelan

Mike Obal, a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the Fox School of Business, recently won the 2013 Robert Robicheaux Dissertation Proposal Award from the Society for Marketing Advances (SMA).

“It’s just really exciting to win an international award,” he said. “I know that it’s the type of award that people from various countries compete for, so it’s nice to get that recognition from a reputable, external organization.”

Those who had meritorious dissertation proposals with a research focus in supply chain management or business-to-business marketing were encouraged to apply for the award from SMA. Proposals were evaluated through a blind-review format. SMA, a premier marketing association, hosts an annual conference that brings together marketing educators and professionals from throughout the United States and abroad. It currently has members from 34 countries.

Obal’s dissertation examines the adoption and acceptance of disruptive technologies within firms. Disruptive technologies are a type of technology that starts as a niche product but falls short of a primary technology. Over time, this type of technology improves to the point that it actually replaces the primary technology, therefore disrupting the market.

“However, predicting what technologies will be disruptive and which ones won’t has been a long-standing issue in marketing, management information systems and other fields,” Obal said.

He specifically studied cloud computing and how firms are deciding whether to move away from more traditional software in favor of cloud computing platforms.

Obal was drawn to this type of research because he saw an opportunity to fill gaps in academic literature and a lack of understanding of key technologies, such as cloud computing, from a practitioner’s standpoint. Companies that consider purchasing this type of technology consistently have issues in determining who to buy the products from and what to look for in cloud-computing packages.

“It’s this realistic sort of issue that firms don’t necessarily have a straight answer for,” Obal said.

In February 2013, Obal completed his dissertation proposal, titled “Analyzing the Roles of Buyers, Suppliers and Employees on the Adoption of Disruptive Technology.” As part of the SMA recognition, he won a trip to Hilton Head, S.C., where he will receive a $500 award.

Obal’s research interests also include trust development in online marketplaces, the usage of online interpersonal ties in purchasing decisions and the role of interorganizational relationships on technology adoption.

Obal has published in Industrial Marketing Management, the Journal of Service Management and the International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications. He has also presented at conferences — including the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Academy of Marketing Science (AMS), and the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA) — and represented Temple at the 2012 AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium.

Before coming to the Fox School, Obal was an instructor of business and coordinator for the Community Center for Entrepreneurship at Bunker Hill Community College. He has also worked as a search-marketing specialist at iProspect, a sales manager at the Boston Beer Company and a graduate assistant at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Obal obtained an MBA in marketing from UMass Boston and a BS in marketing from Syracuse University. –Alexis Wright-Whitley

Anthony Di Benedetto, professor of marketing and supply chain management and Senior Washburn Research Fellow, has been ranked sixth globally among innovation management scholars.

Temple University was also highlighted as one of the top 10 innovation management universities in the world, ranked 10th. Temple and the University of Pennsylvania are the only universities in Greater Philadelphia to be ranked.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” Di Benedetto said. “You want to get semi-famous. You’re not going to be American Idol famous, but you are going to get known in your area.”

Researchers Pianpian Yang and Lei Tao, of Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, collected articles published in the two leading innovation management journals, one of which Di Benedetto has edited for nine years — the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM) —and the top five management journals, determining if the published articles pertained to innovation management.

A count of published articles – totaling 1,229 between 1991 and 2010 – was used to determine the ranking. Scholars were ranked according to the amount of articles they published in that set, with the scholar with the most articles being ranked the highest. Di Benedetto published 16 articles.

In addition to JPIM, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management was the other leading innovation management journal. The top five management journals included Strategic Management Journal, Management Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review and Academy of Management Journal.

When Di Benedetto was a junior professor in the early ’80s, he discovered that there was little research on new product innovation. Most of the work was done in fields such as advertising and sales force management, but there were not many studies where researchers gathered hundreds of products, both successful and unsuccessful, and distinguished the differences between them.

“My supervisor at that time said, ‘If you stick with innovation, you could really make a difference and be a leader, because there are few people and a lot of unanswered research questions,’” Di Benedetto said.

Di Benedetto followed that advice and looked for ways to tap into under-researched fields. One of his most recent publications involved researching the timing of launch, which had not been well addressed by academics. The study drew from the supply chain literature, and it found that completing a lean launch was most efficient. A lean launch would allow a company to buy an option of either releasing their product immediately or delaying it until the timing improved.

Di Benedetto has also received the Research Publication Award for 2014 from the International Association for Management of Technology. He was one of the top 50 researchers in management of technology worldwide, based on publications during the last five years. Di Benedetto also received this award in 2009.

“I’ve always felt that they’ve supported my research here,” Di Benedetto said. “So it’s always been a good place to do research in this area. I don’t want to stop contributing. I’ve got a long way to go at Temple.” –Alexis Wright-Whitley

Leading innovation management scholar Professor Anthony Di Benedetto of Temple University’s Fox School of Business has received another accolade for his research, this time being ranked as one of the Top 45 scholars globally in the Technology Innovation Management (TIM) field by the International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT).

“Through publication, the recipients of this award have undergone the most rigorous scrutiny of their work, assessment by peer-evaluators in ISI-Indexed Journals that are dedicated to research in the Management of Technology and Innovation,” John Aje, president of IAMOT, said in a letter announcing the ranking.

The ranking is based on the number of articles published by an author during the last five years in the top academic TIM journals — including the Journal of Product Innovation Management, Research Policy, Research Technology Management, Technological Forecasting and Social Change and Technovation.

Di Benedetto was ranked in the Top 45 from a pool of thousands of academics worldwide.

“The awardees are truly international,” Aje said. “Researchers from over 10 different countries have qualified this year.”

Di Benedetto was also recently ranked sixth globally among innovation management scholars in the Journal of Product Innovation Management for publishing 16 articles in the two leading innovation management journals, the Journal of Product Innovation Management — which Di Benedetto has edited for nine years — and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.

Di Benedetto is a professor of marketing and supply chain management at the Fox School as well as a Washburn Research Fellow.

“I’m delighted to receive this recognition, and to be included in this group of technology management researchers that includes some of the people who have been the biggest influence on my career,” Di Benedetto said.

—Alexis Wright-Whitley


Researchers at Temple University’s Fox School of Business are conducting a comprehensive study to assess to what extent neurophysiological responses and other measures of reactions to advertisements can predict the sales performance of TV ads.

Temple’s Center for Neural Decision Making, based at the Fox School, earned a grant from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) to evaluate approximately 300 participants’ responses to 35 TV ads from a group of ARF member firms, including major companies in the technology, financial, pharmaceutical and consumer-goods industries. The ARF, founded in 1936, is the premier foundation in the advertising industry for creating and sharing knowledge.

The researchers will employ traditional survey responses and six neurophysiological methods: eye tracking; skin conductance response, which measures arousal; heart rate; breathing; and brain activity as recorded through fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and EEG (electroencephalographs). The research team will then compare its results with an analysis of sales data led by Russell Winer of New York University’s Stern School of Business to see which of the measures did the best job of predicting market performance.

“It’s a great opportunity to compare all these methodologies with each other, which has never been done before,” said Angelika Dimoka, director of the Center for Neural Decision Making and an associate professor of marketing and management information systems (MIS). “We’ll also be able to identify specific points in the 30-second commercials that can help us further understand what drives sales.” Dimoka is leading the study with MIS Professor Paul A. Pavlou and Vinod Venkatraman, an assistant professor of marketing and supply chain management and associate director of the Center for Neural Decision Making.

Jim Thompson, a Fox alumnus and executive-in-residence at the center, facilitated the relationship with the ARF by inviting members of the foundation and other practitioners to participate in the second annual Interdisciplinary Symposium of Decision Neuroscience, held in 2011 at Temple.

“This was a unique conference in that both academics and commercial practitioners attended and participated,” said Thompson, former global president and CEO of Ipsos ASI, a leading advertising research company. “It was the credibility of that conference that facilitated this collaboration, and it clearly established the Center for Neural Decision Making as the leader in bridging scholarly academic research with industry practice.

ARF members that are supporting the project will be able to glean insight from the comprehensiveness of the study, which would likely be cost prohibitive for just one firm to conduct, while also benefitting from the scholarly rigor of it. An advisory board constituted of top academic and industry experts is overseeing each method the center uses, to ensure protocols are designed, executed and analyzed correctly.

“This is a differentiating point for Temple and the Fox School,” Thompson said of the project and the Center for Neural Decision Making. “If companies are doing anything at all with neuroscience or biometrics, Temple could be the first school they think of as a result of this study.” –Brandon Lausch


It’s time to get in touch with the five senses.

The Fox School’s first-ever sensory marketing conference, Understanding the Customer’s Sensory Experience, will bring together researchers from marketing, tourism and related fields to share and learn on June 5-6, 2014, at Temple University’s Fox School of Business and School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

The conference will focus on the nature of senses, their role in affecting consumer behavior and emotion, and their application within a range of settings, including product and service design.

Fox School marketing Professor Maureen Morrin and School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Professor Daniel Fesenmaier will co-host the event.

Morrin, who directs the Fox School’s Consumer Sensory Innovation Lab, hopes this conference will recognize the advances she and her doctoral students are making in terms of sensory marketing research.

Sponsored by the Fox School of Business, Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management and the National Laboratory for Tourism and eCommerce, the days’ events include corporate panel presentations led by executives from firms including Mane USA, ScentAir, HCD Research, and Monell Chemical Senses. Additionally, a panel of research laboratory directors will explain how they have established, operated and funded their laboratories, and research presentations in the form of papers and posters will be given. Day one of the conference will conclude with the Mural Arts Trolley Tour throughout Philadelphia.

“We’ve invited academics and people from industry,” Morrin said. “I’m hoping that we can set up more collaborative efforts among researchers and also between researchers and industry, who may be interested in having us conduct field studies in their stores.”

To register for the conference, visit
—Alexis Wright-Whitley

Provost Hai-Lung Dai recently announced that 767 faculty at Temple will receive merit awards. One hundred-eight of that faculty comes from the Fox School of Business.

These awards recognize all of the meritorious activities of Temple’s faculty in the 2012-13 academic year. During the Fall 2013 semester, faculty were nominated or self-nominated. Departments, colleges and schools, deans and the provost conducted reviews to select the merit award winners.

The faculty will receive a record number of 2,056 units of $600 each, in terms of merit awards, this month.

“A merit award reflects our faculty’s continued dedication and commitment to scholarship and students, and highlights the exceptional drive for excellence in teaching, innovation and performance,” Provost Dai said.

Temple recognizes faculty for outstanding performance in teaching and instruction, research, scholarship, creative activity and/or service to the university or their individual professions or disciplines, each year.

Ronald Anderson – Finance
Paul K. Asabere – Finance
Hilal Atasoy – Accounting
Craig Atwater – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Derek Avery – Human Resource Admin
Steven Balsam – Accounting
Sudipta Basu – Accounting
Gary J. Blau – Human Resource Admin
Jeffrey R. Boles – Law S.B.M
Andrea K. Brooks Lopez – Human Resource Admin
Lawrence Brown – Accounting
Dmitri Byzalov – Accounting
Alexandra D. Carides – Statistics
Stephen J. Casper – Finance
Rajeswarar S. Chaganti – Strategic Management
Hua Chen – Risk Management and Insurance
Pallavi Chitturi – Statistics
J. Jay Choi – Finance
George Chressanthis – Risk Management and Insurance
Mary Conran – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
John D. Cummins- Risk Management and Insurance
C. Anthony DiBenedetto – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Angelika Dimoka – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Yuexiao Dong – Statistics
Martin J. Doyle – Management Information Systems
R B Drennan Jr. – Risk Management and Insurance
Eric Eisenstein – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Elyas E. Elyasiani – Finance
Richard Y. Flanagan – Management Information Systems
Nathan Fong – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Mary A. Gaffney – Accounting
Deanna Geddes – Human Resource Admin
Mark E. Gershon – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Katherine W. Gerst – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Elizabeth Gordon – Accounting
Manak C. Gupta – Finance
Terry A. Halbert – Law S.B.M.
Robert D. Hamilton – Strategic Management
Xu Han – Statistics
Crystal M. Harold – Human Resource Admin
Arthur Hochner – Human Resource Admin
Samuel D. Hodge –Law S.B.M.
Brian Holtz – Human Resource Admin
Andrea Hornett – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Forrest E. Huffman – Finance
James M. Hunt – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Alan J. Izenman – Statistics
Steven Johnson – Management Information Systems
Satyajit Karnik – Finance
Howard Keen – Finance
Masaaki Kotabe – Strategic Management
A.J. Kreimer – Accounting
Jayanthi Krishnan – Accounting
Jagannathan Krishnan – Accounting
Seok-Woo Kwon – Strategic Management
James M. Lammendola – Law S.B.M.
Vanessa J. Lawrence – Law S.B.M.
Yan Li – Finance
Marco Malandra – Accounting
Barbara B. Mancano – Risk Management and Insurance
Xiangdong Mao – Finance
John A. Mccloskey – Human Resource Admin
Michael Mccloskey – Risk Management and Insurance
James P. Miller – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Neha Mittal – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
James C. Moustafellos – Management Information Systems
Susan Mudambi – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Shreeram R. Mudambi – Strategic Management
Lalitah Naveen – Finance
Katherine Nelson – Human Resource Admin
In-Sue Oh – Human Resource Admin
Arvind Parkhe – Strategic Management
Tony Petrucci – Human Resource Admin
Robert S. Pred – Statistics
Eric Press – Accounting
Steven Nevin Pyser – Human Resource Admin
Bruce B. Rader – Finance
Sheri Risler – Accounting
Edward C. Rosenthal – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
David H. Ryan – Accounting
Oleg Rytchkov – Finance
Sanat Sarkar – Statistics
Mitrabarun Sarkar – Strategic Management
David Schuff – Management Information Systems
Jonathan A. Scott – Finance
Andrew Sfekas- Risk Management and Insurance
Amir Shoham – Finance
Jagbir Singh – Statistics
Indrajit Sinha – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Michael F. Smith – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
John Soss – Finance
Michael A. Valenza – Law S.B.M.
Vinod Venkatraman – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Krupa S. Viswanathan – Risk Management Insurance
Sunil Wattal – Management Information Systems
William W. Wei – Statistics
Howard J. Weiss – Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Mary A. Weiss – Risk Management and Insurance
Guntram Werther – Strategic Management
Sheryl Winston Smith – Strategic Management
Jacqueline Wise – Risk Management and Insurance
Gary Witt – Statistics