Call for Research Proposals on
"Innovative Approaches to Measuring Advertising Effectiveness"
Sponsored by the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative and the SEI Center's Future of Advertising Program
Probably the most famous quote in the field of marketing is the apocryphal line attributed to John Wanamaker about the difficulty of assessing the impact of advertising spending. Here we are, roughly 100 years since that phrase was first popularized, and Wanamaker's words continue to resonate with today's marketing executives just as much as ever before. The development of customer tracking technologies, measurable media, sophisticated attribution models, and platforms that facilitate controlled experiments all promise great advances in our ability to make more precise statements about the effectiveness of advertising spending, but many lingering questions remain.
With this vexing backdrop in mind, the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative and the Future of Advertising Program are joining forces to commission leading-edge research projects to develop state-of-the-art methods and insights in this important area. Specifically, we are looking to support high-quality, data-oriented research that will demonstrate just how far we've come since Wanamaker first expressed his frustrations with measuring advertising impact. We have in mind three broad sub-categories of research:
(1) New modeling approaches that leverage customer-level data on behavioral responses to advertising
(2) Advances in experimental methods that can isolate and quantify different advertising effects
(3) Other innovative approaches that represent a significant step beyond traditional advertising effectiveness measurement methods
Each of these categories is admittedly quite broad, and we hope to see some truly creative, paradigm-changing contributions arising within and across them. We anticipate selecting 8-15 teams to receive grants of $2,000-$10,000 to pursue their research. Winners will also be invited to share their work at a practice-oriented conference to be held at the Wharton School in early 2013, where leading marketing executives will be invited to offer their perspectives of how these (and other) new methods can reshape the art and science of advertising measurement.
Evaluation. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee with representatives of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, the Future of Advertising Project and several major advertising practitioner organizations. Proposals will be evaluated both on academic contribution and potential to significantly improve marketing practice.
Key Dates. Research proposals are due by Monday, April 23, 2012, and funding decisions will be made and announced several weeks afterwards.
Proposals should be emailed to
Submissions should include the following sections (in this order):
1. Title page: Please include a descriptive title for your proposal, as well as the name, title, affiliation and e-mail address for each member of the research team.
2. Abstract: In 100 words summarize the project.
3. Introduction: In 1 page lay out the expected contribution(s), covering both the academic and practical aspects.
4. Background and related literature: In 1 page briefly describe the relevant literature and frame the proposed research advances and contribution over prior academic work.
5. Detailed project proposal: in 1-2 pages, give a detailed description of the proposed research. Please include enough detail that we can assess the merit of the proposed approach. For example, projects involving field experiments should describe sampling plans, proposed treatments and measurement techniques. Modeling projects should include at least a sketch of the model.
6. Budget: Give an itemized budget describing funding needs directly related to the research (travel, data collection, computing cycles, etc.). Typical grants are around $2,000 and may be as high as $10,000 as the needs of the project dictate. Please note that these grants may not be used for salary support or student funding. Please include in your budget funds to cover travel to the conference for at least one presenter.
7. Biographies: Provide up to a paragraph-long bio highlighting relevant details about each member of the research team.
Note that there is some flexibility in the length/nature of each of these sections, but proposals should be no more than 10 pages in total.