Researchers in the marketing area of the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration have again been recognized as among the most productive in their field by the American Marketing Association (AMA).

Pitt Business’ marketing area ranks No. 14 on the recently released University Research Productivity in the Premier Marketing Journals list (2012-21) compiled by the AMA’s Doctoral Student Special Interest Group (DocSIG). Business schools worldwide were ranked based on the number of research articles their faculty members published in the top four marketing journals: Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, and Marketing Science.

Pitt Business’ marketing faculty members were the authors of 57 publications in those journals between 2012 and 2021. Contributing nine publications each were Professors J. Jeffrey Inman and Peggy J. Liu. The two professors tied for No. 42 among all marketing scholars worldwide on the companion Author Productivity in the Premier Marketing Journals list (2012-2021).

“A strong research culture is vital at a top business school, and Pitt Business faculty are examining important questions relevant to business and society. I am very proud that our marketing area faculty are being recognized for their many insights and contributions to our understanding of these questions,” says Arjang Assad, the Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean of Pitt Business.

J. Jeffrey Inman
J. Jeffrey Inman

Inman is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty, Albert Wesley Frey Chair in Marketing, and Professor of Business Administration. His research largely focuses on consumer decision-making and behavior. In a recent article, Inman and his co-authors introduce a text analysis tool that researchers can use to identify differences in language used by different groups of consumers (for example, women vs. men, experts vs. novices, Democrats vs. Republicans, users of one brand vs. another). Another of Inman’s recent research articles introduces a framework for understanding how consumers respond to threats in their daily lives. The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic disruptions have dramatically affected the lives of consumers around the world. Specifically, Inman and his co-researchers argue that the threats’ size, scope, and perceived personal relevance lead to “ontological insecurity” (the degree to which consumers feel their world and role within it are secure and predictable). This article increases understanding of the conceptual drivers and practical implications of consumers’ response to threats and lays the groundwork for additional research on this critically important topic.

“I’ve always been drawn to trying to better understand how consumers respond and adapt to the ever-changing world, particularly technology,” Inman said. “The research culture at Katz makes it one of the best places in the world to grapple with these extraordinarily important issues facing all of us.”

Inman is the recent recipient of several other major honors: the Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award in 2022, the AMA Lifetime Achievement Award for the Retailing and Pricing Special Interest Group in 2022, and Society of Consumer Psychology Fellow in 2021. He also recently served as the Editor-in-Chief of one of the top marketing journals, the Journal of Consumer Research, from 2018-2020.

Peggy Liu

Liu is the Ben L. Fryrear Chair in Marketing and Associate Professor of Business Administration. Her research focuses on consumer judgments, decisions, and behavior, with an emphasis on social well-being and health well-being. In a recent article, rather than focus on consumers’ health or financial decisions for one point in time, Liu considers consumers’ decisions about consumption over time—as it is the cumulative impact of such decisions that ultimately matter for well-being. She finds that consumers’ preferences for how to cut back on their frequent consumption indulgences varies by whether they are by themselves or with their family/friends.

In another recent article, Liu and her coauthors consider the fact that consumers live their lives alongside other people and make choices not just for themselves but also for others (e.g., family members, friends, colleagues, and classmates). They propose a novel conceptual framework that differentiates between motives and choices in four common contexts involving choosing for others (gift-giving, joint consumption, everyday favors/pick-ups, and caregiving). This article offers both theoretical implications and practical implications for marketers, consumers, and policy makers—as choices for others shape both one’s own well-being and others’ well-being.

“Katz places a strong emphasis on conducting research of relevance to marketing and society. I find it fascinating to study the factors that shape consumers’ behavior and then bringing that knowledge to my students and to public audiences,” Liu said. Liu has also been the recipient of multiple recent awards, including the Society for Consumer Psychology Early Career Award (2021), the Behavioral Science and Policy Association New Investigator Award (2021), Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar (2021), and Association for Psychological Science Rising Star (2022). She was also named one of Poets & Quants Top 50 Undergraduate Business School Professors (2020) and won the Pitt Innovation Challenge (2021) to research and develop the “Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me” Family Activity Box with Dr. Jacqueline Burgette of Pitt Dental.