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Master's thesis

Students who are interested in writing their master's thesis at our chair can generally choose between writing a research-oriented or an industry-related thesis.

Prerequisite for writing a master's thesis at our department is the successful completion of a seminar MKT 7X0 at one of the marketing chairs (LS Homburg MKT 710, LS Stahl MKT 720, LS Kuester MKT 730 or LS Kraus MKT 740) and the successful completion of the courses MKT 510 (or MKT 301) and MKT 520. The prerequisites for attending the seminars are listed on the respective information pages of the seminars.

We recommend that students write their Master's thesis at the chair where the seminar paper was written, thus enabling early involvement in the respective research and project work of the chair.

Moritz Tischer, M.Sc.

Moritz Tischer, M.Sc.

Contact person for master's theses

For further information please contact Moritz Tischer.

Informationen about the master's thesis


Research-oriented topics

  • Marketing Strategy

    • The Value of Customer Data – State of Research and Business Practice

      Thesis advisor: Robin-Christopher Ruhnau

      Data is the “New Oil” and companies with business models based on user and customer data are among the most valuable of all, whether it is Google, Facebook or others. In today’s reality, data are ubiquitous and available in a sheer unlimited amount. But what is the value of customer data to firms? How can businesses assign a value to individual customer data and also increase this value?

       

      With a strategic marketing perspective, this thesis reviews recent literature on the value of customer data to firms. What is more, it summarizes business practice approaches for data valuation and draws on future applications of customer data in research and practice. 

       

      This Master’s thesis may also be written in German.

    • The curse of low-involvement products in times of thrilling alternatives

      Betreuer: Stephan Mettler

      In times of social media and an increasing desire of customers to share their experiences with a product or service, many companies struggle to position low-involvement products among its target group. A promising solution to that issue might be to digitize products using IoT (Internet of Things) devices in order to provide customers with additional benefits and services.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify potential ways to increase customer involvement for low-involvement products in a digital environment, and (3) to elaborate how these insights could be used by organizations. To analyze this topic, a survey or expert interviews might be conducted. More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually.

      This master thesis may also be written in German

    • Don’t touch me! Potential thresholds for customer touchpoints considering the privacy / utility tradeoff

      Betreuer: Stephan Mettler

      The digital transformation of businesses enabled companies to interact with their customers through multiple touchpoints along the customer journey. These interactions tend to become both, more frequent and more personal due to mobile applications. Customers consciously share their data with the companies in order to get access to improved services, tailored to their needs. A prominent concept discussed in the literature is the privacy / utility tradeoff.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify potential thresholds for the privacy / utility tradeoff, and (3) to elaborate how these thresholds can be used by organizations. To analyze this topic, a survey or expert interviews might be conducted. More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Slack Time – A Development and Validation of a Measurement of Service Employee Behavior

      Betreuerin: Theresa Morguet

      Have you ever seen service employees standing around and waiting for new customers? Yes? Have you ever thought about what service employees do or should do if they have these “unused“ periods of time between their working tasks? No, but it is interesting to think about it?

      This study starts with an understanding of the so called construct slack time and investigates the development and initial validation of a measurement of the construct. This is highly relevant for both a needed contribution to research and strategic practical implications for managers of service employees nowadays.

      Concerning this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review the relevant academic literature and provide an own definition of the construct slack time, (2) to conduct a survey including a measurement of slack time and other related constructs, and (3) to analyze the results of the survey by focusing on the initial validation of the measurement of slack time.

    • The evolution of interactions in business-to-business markets

      Thesis advisor: Moritz Tischer

      In most consumer goods markets, customer experience management has long been the maxim of marketing, sales and customer service. Consumerization of business customers and change processes such as digital transformation mean that customer experience management is becoming increasingly important in B2B markets as well.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify what customer experience in business markets is about and (3) which firm capabilities are needed to manage customer experience holistically. To analyze this topic, qualitative expert interviews should be conducted. There is the possibility to use already existing research results for this master thesis.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Analyzing social networks – an investigation of invisible influences

      Thesis advisor: Theresa Morguet

      Social networks are everywhere in our everyday life. They determine our perceptions and behavior directly as well as indirectly. To what extent do they also have an influence on our work behavior and is it positive or rather negative? Are there ways to take advantage from the existing social network structure of a team or how can the structures be adapted to achieve desired management goals? These or other questions could be investigated and evaluated in order to contribute to that field of research.

      Concerning this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to create a scientific conceptual model in order to conduct a survey and (3) to analyze the results of the survey by means of the social network analysis program UCINET and discuss the findings.

      More specific research questions and the actual proceeding can be determined individually. This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Digital Marketing Capabilities

      Thesis advisor: Dominik Wielgos

      The digital transformation results in significant changes of the business landscape. Over the past decade, firms and customers have adopted digital technologies, whereby novel market behaviors, interactions and experiences emerged. Against this background, firms face the challenge to develop new marketing capabilities as social media marketing, mobile marketing or marketing analytics in order to keep pace with these dynamic developments in the marketplace.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify relevant digital marketing capabilities and (3) to elaborate how these new marketing capabilities relate to the more traditional marketing capabilities. To analyze this topic, expert interviews or a survey might be conducted. More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • The effect of digitization on buyer seller relationships in business-to-business markets

      Thesis advisor: Moritz Tischer

      The digitization is changing business relationships radically. Business customers increasingly demand a consumer-like experience, are more empowered by their access to ever-more information, and expect ongoing engagement from those they do business with. These changes also have a great impact on buyer seller relationships.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify how buyer seller relationships are impacted through digitization and (3) how firms can effectively manage these relationships nowadays.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • The digital transformation of the modern organization

      Thesis advisor: Dominik Wielgos

      The digital transformation is resulting in an ongoing change of the business landscape. Digital issues as Social Media, Big Data and the transformation of marketing communications are providing fruitful areas of discussion for practice and research. However, companies across various industries face much larger digitally induced changes. Jens Monsees, the Vice President Digital Strategy of BMW, emphasized this aspect as follows: “To digitize a company doesn’t only mean to introduce new technologies, but to evoke change in terms of organizational aspects, culture and communication”.

      Against this background the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify areas of organizational change fostered by the digital transformation and (3) to elaborate how these changes affect the organization. To analyze this topic, expert interviews or surveys might be conducted. More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

  • Product and Innovation Management

    Currently there are no topics available in this subject area.

  • Price Management

    • Human touch in a digital world

      Advisor: Aline Lanzrath

      Technological advance has placed increased importance on mobile, digitally-driven self-service experiences with face-to-face interactions being on the decline. By 2020, 85% of our interactions with brands are expected to occur through digital channels. But when do customers still seek for human interaction? And if they do: Are they willing to pay a premium for personal interaction? Despite the high theoretical and practical relevance, research examining the optimal trade-off of digital self-service and personal channels remains scarce. 

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to summarize and categorize relevant literature, (2) identify related research gaps and (3) provide a sound overview of the state of the art research. Particular interest should be dedicated to price premium determinants.  
      More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually.

      The master thesis may also be written in German.

    • The Role of Negative Emotions in Buying at the Low Price: Attributional Approach

      Thesis advisor: Kateryna Ukrainets

      A rational consumer is supposed to choose to pay less money for a particular good, as long as the saved amount is large enough to compensate any tangible costs. Thus, buying at the cheap price is expected to cause positive emotions such as joy of getting a good price deal. Nevertheless, some consumers can ascribe negative causes to low prices in discount stores. As a result, negative emotions occur and influence the purchase decision.

      Accordingly, the central aims of this master thesis are to (1) review the existing literature on the role of emotions in consumer behavior and (2) develop propositions how negative emotions affect the purchase decision in the low price context.

  • Sales Management

    • Perceptions of salespeople in society

      Advisor: Aline Lanzrath

      What comes to your mind when you think about salespeople? Is it the insurance agent trying to convince you to buy a life insurance? Is the stereotype you do have in mind male and characterized by traits like ‘pushiness´, ‘competiveness’ and ‘talkativeness’? Yes? But does this stereotype actually reflect the role of salespeople in a today’s digitized world, especially in the B2B context? Despite the high theoretical and practical relevance, research examining (mis-)perceptions of the salesperson’s role remains scarce.   
       
      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review the relevant academic literature, (2) to conduct a survey including a measurement of salesperson stereotypes (3) to analyse the results and discuss the findings.  
       
      The master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Education or Experience: How Important is an Academic Background when Applying in Sales?

      Advisor: Robin Wagner-Fabisch
      In the past, organizations were primarily on the outlook for sales reps with pronounced selling skills such as persuasion or eloquence. Even if these capabilities still play some notable role in their daily work, more analytical and strategic requirements dominate the remit of today’s sales employees.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature on sales academization, (2) to identify the antecedents as well as consequences for better-educated sales employees, and (3) to discuss how firms can effectively respond to the requirements that are demanded by today’s academized sales reps. 

      To analyze this topic, a survey or expert interviews might be conducted. More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually. This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Pricing Authority for the Sales Force: Still Possible in Today’s Transparent World?

      Advisor: Robin Wagner-Fabisch
      Setting optimal prices is complex in B2B relationships; prices typically vary from one customer account to another, and are therefore highly confidential. Since the individual sales employees know best about their customers, they usually play the major role in the negotiation processes. However, due to digitalization in general and the resulting transparency in particular, sensitive price information no longer remain behind closed doors and question the continuation of flexible pricing.    

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature on pricing authority, (2) to identify the consequences of digitalization on the delegation of pricing authority to the sales force, and (3) to outline possible countermeasures to defend the salespeople’s freedom to decide about prices.

      To analyze this topic, expert interviews might be conducted. More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually. This master thesis may also be written in German.

  • Communication and Customer Relationship Management

    • Multiplex Business Networks: The Many-Faced Relationship

      Thesis advisor: Boas Bamberger

      Inter-firm relationships can occur simultaneously through multiple types of ties. For example, at the same time two firms might be supplier and customer, collaborate on R&D, have intertwined managerial and supervisory boards and compete for the same customers. The goals of this thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature on multiplex business relationships, (2) identify sources to collect data on multiplex business networks, and (3) elaborate on which types of ties are more or less relevant for long-term inter-firm relationships.

      Creativity and motivation to do empirical research are expected. More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually.

    • Customer retention and win-back in times of digital customer relationships

      Betreuer: Robin-Christopher Ruhnau

      The digitalization has changed the direct and level of interaction between firms and consumers, offering broad opportunities and challenges for customer relationship management. The integration of customer data introduces new ways to measure value from the customer (e.g., in the form of customer engagement value) and also to track customer behavior, including customer churn.

      The intention of this thesis is to summarize and categorize customer retention and reacquisition literature to provide a sound overview of state of the art research. Particular interest should be dedicated to the influence of digitalization on the topic, as well as to referencing theory to the reality of business practice.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Customer valuation – a confrontation of research state of the art and business practice

      Betreuer: Robin-Christopher Ruhnau

      Customer valuation tries to capture the total value that a firm derives from a customer. Since the emergence of the topic, mainly in the 1980s, customer valuation has come a long way. A variety of value-determining factors can now be included in these models, e.g., churn, brand switching, cross-buying behavior, and even non-financial value contributions. Major applications of the idea include the well-known concept of customer lifetime value (CLV) and customer segmentation.

      The purpose of this thesis is to provide a sound overview of the state of the art in customer valuation research. Particularly, the goal is to investigate in how far business practice deviates from theory and in how far it has adopted applications of customer valuations, including current trends such as customer engagement valuation.  

  • Other research areas

    • Data Mining: Automatic Topic Detection in Marketing Research

      Advisor: Boas Bamberger

      Scientists and managers are constantly on the outlook for current and emerging trends in marketing research topics. Advances in machine learning and data mining methods may help to accelerate the detection of such topics. The goals of this seminar paper are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature on automatic topic detection, (2) propose a framework for automatic detection of current and emerging topics in marketing, and (3) automatically detect current and emerging topics in the top marketing journals.

      To analyze this topic, an automatic content analysis of articles in marketing journals might be conducted. More specific research questions and the way of inquiry can be determined individually.

    • Consumer’s Susceptibility to Social Influence: Cross-cultural Differences

      Thesis advisor: Kateryna Ukrainets

      The impact of social groups on individual behavior has been investigated extensively in the consumer research literature. Some individuals tend to be more susceptible to public opinion and social influence than others. As a result, social influence can alter an individual’s purchase decision. However, research is scarce with regard to how the susceptibility to social influence depends on the cultural background of a decision-maker.

      Therefore, the goal of this master thesis is to (1) provide a comprehensive state-of-the-art literature overview on cross-cultural consumer research in general and (2) develop a conceptual framework on the susceptibility to social influence on the cross-cultural level.

    • Cross-Cultural Differences in Consumers’ Responses to Social Identity Threat

      Thesis advisor: Kateryna Ukrainets

      According to social identity theory and self-categorization theory, individuals see themselves in terms of their memberships in different social groups. When an individual exhibits consumer behavior that is not consistent with his or her social identity, and an in-group member observes this inconsistency, an individual experiences social identity threat.

      To mitigate the negative consequences of this threat, individuals apply different coping strategies. Some people tend to avoid products/ services threatening their social identities, while others demonstrate more positive preferences for identity-linked products when that aspect of identity is threatened.

      Research has shown that this difference is explained by an individual’s culture. The goal of this master thesis is to provide additional empirical support to this existing finding with the help of cross- cultural study.

    • Protecting Consumer’s Social Identity: Firms’ Strategies for Mitigation of Social Identity Threat

      Thesis advisor: Kateryna Ukrainets

      To thoroughly research this topic, a student has to conduct a literature review and an empirical study (e.g. scenario-based experiment), which would show how companies can protect their consumers when their social identities are at risk. Social identity threat occurs when an individual exhibits consumer behavior that is not consistent with his or her social identity, and an in-group member observes this inconsistency. For instance, empirical evidence exists that men see the consumption of “green” bio-products as threatening their social identity (i.e. gender identity). Other examples of identity-threatening products are electric vehicles or beauty products for men. The goal of this master thesis is, therefore, to figure out with the help of empirical study, which strategies companies can apply to mitigate the possible social identity threat.

    • Mail-Order Pharmacies: An Examination of Consumer’s Online Purchasing Behavior of Pharmaceuticals

      Betreuerin: Kim Riede

      The digital transformation is resulting in an ongoing change of the business landscape and also affects the pharmaceutical industry. The number of Online Pharmacies entering the market is constantly growing and so does their customer base. Given these changes, end-consumers are turning into an increasingly important target-audience. Thus, pharmaceutical companies urgently need a more comprehensive understanding of their end-consumers in order to successfully market their products.

      What factors drive consumers to purchase drugs online? Which particular drugs do consumers usually buy online? Under which circumstances and how often do they purchase drugs online? These or other questions could be investigated and evaluated in order to contribute to that field of research.

      More specific research questions and the actual proceeding can be determined individually. Creativity and motivation to do empirical research are expected.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Consumer’s Susceptibility to External Advises prior to the Purchase of Non-Prescription Medicines

      Betreuerin: Kim Riede

      Nowadays consumers are more empowered to participate in their own health care than ever before and their knowledge on pharmaceutical products enhanced. These developments have not only resulted in a new and challenging environment for pharmaceutical marketers but also fostered consumers to turn into evermore stand-alone decision makers for their medications. However, not all of consumer’s medication purchases are based on autonomous decisions.  Consequently, marketers need to develop a more thorough understanding on how the purchasing decisions of consumers are externally influenced.

      More precisely, they need to assess under which circumstances consumers are receptive to external advises and which external advisors they prefer depending on the respective circumstances.

      These or other questions could be investigated and evaluated in order to contribute to that field of research.

      More specific research questions and the actual proceeding can be determined individually. Creativity and motivation to do empirical research are expected.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Consumer Involvement in FMCG-Purchases

      Betreuerin: Kim Riede

      The concept of involvement has received considerable attention from consumer researchers because it is a helpful tool to explain how consumers respond to marketing stimuli. Thereby researchers distinguish high from low involvement. Depending on the degree of involvement in a purchase decision, the extent of information-seeking behavior and the degree of awareness about purchase alternatives significantly differ.

      Even though being intensively studied, researchers to date apply inconsistent approaches to measure the involvement of consumers.  Due to these inconsistencies, it is the goal of this thesis to provide a systematic literature overview of articles in marketing, which use the concept of involvement to analyze consumer’s behavior in purchasing FMCG products. Besides, the thesis suppose to shed light on the methodological approaches applied in extant research that investigates the involvement of consumers in their purchase of FMCG products.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

If you are interested in any of the topics listed above please contact the listed thesis advisor directly.

In case you would like to propose your own topic, please contact Moritz Tischer.


Industry-related topics

Below you may find industry-related topics that either are focused on current issues in specific industries or offered for research in cooperation with a particular company.

 

If you have any questions concerning industry-related topics, please contact the respective thesis advisor directly. In case of inquiries about topics in cooperation with a company, please contact Moritz Tischer.

Provided that you want to contact a company concering your master's thesis yourself, please get in touch with the staff at our chair beforehand.