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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, LS Kraus MKT 740 or LS Vomberg MKT 750).

We recommend that students write their master’s thesis at the same chair where they wrote their seminar paper as this allows for an early involvement in the research and project work of the respective chair.

Alin Schröder, M.Sc.

Alin Schröder, M.Sc.

Contact person for master's theses

For further information please contact Alin Schröder.

Information About the Master's Thesis


Research-Oriented Topics

Strategic Marketing

  • Startups and the Government

    Advisor: Florian Holz

    Governments are large and unique customers. Each year, public authorities purchase products and services worth billions of Euros, ranging from office supplies over software applications to the maintenance of public roads. However, while there is an enormous public procurement market, many companies are struggling to win public sector contracts. In particular, startups often find it difficult to fulfill the complex requirements of public authorities. Potential reasons include a lack of resources as well as missing experience in the field. The question arises how startups can deal with these challenges and be successful in the public market.

    Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize literature on public sales and procurement, (2) to identify challenges and success factors for startups in the public sector space, and (3) to outline recommendations for public policy makers regarding startups as public authority suppliers.

    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.

Product and Innovation Management

  • Augmented Reality in B2B organizations

    Advisor: Janina Riether

    Augmented Reality links the real with the virtual world and offers promising opportunities for B2B business operations. Especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, these types of technologies have experienced a boost. While technologies like Augmented Reality via smart glasses are still in its infancy, they already find promising applications in the B2C area. However, applications and underlying mechanisms in B2B business operations are under researched until now.

    Concerning this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify potential applications in B2B business operations, and (3) to elaborate which mechanisms and consequences can be derived for organizations. To analyze this topic, a survey and/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.

  • Automotive Health: When your car notices how you feel

    Advisor: Aline Lanzrath

    Automotive Health enables people to track their health while driving to take preventive or curative action. Given the current advances in generative artificial intelligence and health data tracking (e.g. wearables), in-car health-tracking technologies have seen an upsurge. However, despite their high practical and societal relevance, research on automotive health applications is extremely sparse and the underlying mechanisms that might deter or motivate drivers to use such applications remain underexplored and little known.

    Against this background, the aim of the Master's thesis is to (1) review and systematize the relevant scientific literature on digital health, with a particular focus on Automotive Health in marketing and sales, (2) identify motivators and barriers among both car drivers and car manufacturers for the use of these systems, and (3) identify practical implications for car companies, policymakers, health care providers and avenues for future research. If interested, a collaboration with a large consulting firm working on this topic can be pursued.

Price Management

Currently, we do not offer any topics on price management.

    Sales Management

    • The Virtualization of B2B Sales – Implications of Augmented Reality technologies for B2B sales & the customer experience

      Advisor: Janina Riether

      Augmented Reality links the real with the virtual world and offers promising opportunities for B2B business operations. Especially since the Covid-19 pandemic and the development of the ‘metaverse’, these types of technologies have experienced a boost. Until now, technologies like Augmented Reality find already promising applications in the B2C area. However, applications and underlying mechanisms in B2B business operations are under researched until now. Especially in the field of B2B sales and the B2B customer journey (buyer perspective) nearly no research on Augmented Reality can be found.

      Concerning this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify potential applications in B2B sales & purchasing, and (3) to elaborate which mechanisms and consequences can be derived for organizations. To analyse 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.

    • Negotiations Strategies in Servitization

      Advisor: Stefan Hartmann

      A large body of research on business negotiations analyzes strategies and tactics to achieve a beneficial outcome. However, most of these studies focus on negotiations around goods and a small fraction focuses on services. A rather neglected area of research are negotiations in relation to Servitization. Servitization describes the process of building revenue streams around products by offering relevant services. This form of business is getting more and more popular among manufacturers. Thereby, the relationship between seller and buyer is redefined from a one-time purchase to an ongoing relationship. 

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature, (2) to identify the differences between negotiation strategies to the type of product provided and how Servitization reshapes negotiation behavior and the strategies and (3) to determine how providers might take advantage of the new situation.

      This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • The Organization behind the Negotiator

      Advisor: Stefan Hartmann

      The successful management of negotiations in the B2B environment has gained increasing importance. For example, companies are facing higher transparency and an increasing performance pressure. Prior research mainly focused on characteristics of an individual as negotiator (e.g. demographics, personality) or teams as negotiators (e.g. team size, power relation between team members). The organization as a whole is mostly neglected. It remains unclear how firms can leverage factors on the organizational level to improve negotiation performance.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to identify and analyze the instruments used on an organizational level to support negotiators, (2) to elaborate how these instruments are perceived by sales managers and sales employees and embedded into the organizational culture, structure or strategy and (3) to assess their effectiveness on the negotiation performance.

      To analyze this topic, a survey or expert interviews might be conducted. This master thesis may also be written in German.

    • Women in B2B Sales and the Workplace

      Advisor: Aline Lanzrath

      Gender diversity has been shown to have a positive impact not only on corporate culture but also on the company's profit line. Similarly, research has shown that companies with a higher level of gender diversity in their sales force significantly exceed their sales targets compared to single gender sales teams.  These results contrast with the continuing under-representation of women in B2B sales, with the sales function facing the second largest gender equality gap of all corporate functions. Among others, the persistence of gender stereotypes in sales has been shown to contribute to this phenomenon. However, despite the high practical and societal relevance, research on gender stereotypes in sales is extremely sparse.

      Against this background, the aim of the master thesis is (1) to review and systematize relevant academic literature on gender stereotypes in marketing and sales and (2) identify barriers that prevent women to choose a career in B2B Sales. To analyze this issue, a survey or expert interviews may be conducted.

    • Navigating the Digital Landscape: Unraveling the Nexus of Digital Sales Competencies, Psychological Climate, and Sales Performance

      Advisor: Aline Lanzrath

      In the rapidly evolving field of digital sales, the interplay between salespeople’s digital sales skills and a supportive psychological sales climate is emerging as a critical factor in sales performance. However, despite the pervasive influence of digitalization, academic attention to the interactions between digital competencies and the psychological climate within teams remains limited, particularly in the context of marketing and sales performance. For example, managers still do not know which salespeople’s competencies are most likely to thrive in which sales team climate (e.g., depending on whether it is competitive or collaborative, short-term or long-term goal-oriented, and extrinsic or intrinsic motivation-focused).

      This Master’s thesis aims to fill this gap by systematically analyzing the relationship between digital sales competencies, psychological climate, and sales performance. The main objectives are (1) to review and systematize the relevant scientific literature on digital sales competencies and psychological climate in sales, (2) to identify interactions between competencies and climate that predict sales performance, and (3) to develop practical implications for HR and sales managers to help them manage the performance of their sales teams in the digital age. A survey or expert interviews may be used to analyse this topic.

    • Compensating today’s key account management teams: Is fixed salary really king?

      Advisor: Sebastian Junker

      In sales, there is a shift towards agile, cross-functional teams – “pods”, among others, concentrating expertise from different areas. Despite the tendencies toward agility and flexibility, especially KAM requires long-term planning and customer relationship management that focuses on growth over a long time rather than servicing existing customers (Gartner 2019). New, changing team structures call for a structural review of how to manage KAM teams considering all organizational success factors, amidst which incentivization and compensation have not been the focus so far.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature on team compensation, (2) to identify the antecedents as well as consequences of fixed versus variable pay on key account management teams, and (3) to discuss how firms can effectively adapt, optimize and customize their compensation structure as demanded by today’s team skills and role variety.

      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.

    • Never change a winning team! Corporate unwillingness for new sales team structures

      Advisor: Sebastian Junker

      Many multinational companies face team structures that have been effective when started in an earlier setting but have become unsuccessful after substantial growth: Siloed structures and processes. In comparison, an agile, “pod”-driven set-up may boost sales performance shown by a small number of brave “early adopters”. However, changing team structures triggers questions that need an answer: What is the optimal compensation structure? How should teams work together? How should reporting lines be designed? Today’s companies that consider time critical most likely avoid these fundamental issues.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize current, relevant academic literature on B2B, sales, and key account management teams, (2) to identify the different success factors for team transformation incorporating flexible and agile approaches, and (3) to discuss barriers and chances that firms have to overcome when altering their traditional way of managing internal (sales) teams.

      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.

    Communication and Customer Relationship Management

    • Let’s make it last forever: An empirical comparison of different selling approaches for long-term performance effects

      Advisor: Sebastian Junker

      In a world driven by evolving market dynamics and fierce competition, achieving sustainable success has become the goal for businesses. The key to sustained profitability lies not just in securing initial sales, but in establishing long-term customer relationships that endure over time. By delving into the intricacies of relationship selling, consultative selling, transactional selling, and more, this thesis aims to uncover the strategies that can make sales success last forever.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to conduct an empirical comparison of long-term selling approaches by reviewing and systemizing the relevant academic literature, (2) to identify the antecedents as well as consequences of long-term orientation in the sales and key account management context, and (3) to discuss barriers and chances that firms have to stand the test of time and drive long-term business performance.

      To analyze this topic, a survey (e.g., conjoint analysis) 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.

    • Are you value-selling me? An investigation of the key success factors for value selling from a purchasing perspective

      Advisor: Sebastian Junker

      In the realm of sales, value selling has emerged as a powerful approach to winning over customers and forging lasting partnerships. But what truly drives success in value selling from a purchasing perspective? This research proposal embarks on a quest to unravel the key success factors behind being value sold changing the perspective to the buying side. By uncovering the secrets to mastering value selling, businesses can unlock untapped potential, forge enduring customer relationships, and achieve unparalleled success in today's competitive market.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize literature on value selling with a particular focus on the purchasing perspective, (2) to identify the factors and barriers for value selling in the sales and key account management context, and (3) to elaborate on the consequences for firms giving an actionable recommendation for implementation.

      To analyze this topic, a survey (e.g., conjoint analysis) 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.

    • The value-added trap: How agile key account teams strive for long-term growth

      Advisor: Sebastian Junker

      Agility, i.e., the ability to adapt to rapid changes and govern complex, networked inter-organizational forms, is a critical capability within the next decade and, therefore, a key priority in current sales research – not only in today’s post-crisis world but also due to increasing uncertainty and rapid change. So far, academics have not solved the question of how to break down functional silos within marketing and sales and the remaining organization, much less the potential benefits from this transformation. Especially, this question becomes pressing as KAM requires holistic and long-term relations­hip management with key customers and partners with a clear focus on long-term growth.

      Against this background, the superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review and systemize relevant academic literature on sales (team) agility, (2) to identify the antecedents as well as consequences of agility on key account management teams, and (3) to discuss how firms can implement team- and corporation-wide agility to help their key account management to apply long-term growth-oriented behavior without forfeiting financial performance.

      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.

    • Corporate Influencers: Employees as brand ambassadors

      Advisor: Aline Lanzrath

      Lately, more and more companies have been harnessing the power of influencing as part of their marketing and communication strategies. Defined as employees who use their personal digital platforms to communicate about company-related issues, corporate influencers play a crucial role in representing the organization to the public and communicating its core values. By sharing insights into their work and the company, they bridge the gap between the organization and the public, providing insights into products, services, and corporate values. As a result, companies expect to see tangible benefits in areas such as employer branding and employee engagement, as well as improvements in brand awareness, corporate image, and, ultimately, sales and profits.

      However, the effectiveness of Corporate Influencers in achieving these ambitious goals remains a subject of debate. This Master’s thesis aims to delve into the nuances of Corporate Influencer Marketing by addressing the following research questions: (1) To what extent do Corporate Influencers contribute to achieving organizational goals? (2) Is the investment in corporate influencers justified, and if so, how should companies structure their relationships with these influencers to maximize benefits?

      Against this background, the aims of this thesis are (1) to review and systematize the relevant academic literature on (corporate) influencer marketing and sales, (2) to identify the opportunities and risks of using corporate influencers, and (3) to elaborate on the contingencies that determine the overall success of influencers. To analyze this issue, a survey or expert interviews may be conducted.

    Other Research Areas

    • Fades and Fashions in Marketing Research

      Advisor: Aline Lanzrath

      The world of marketing and sales is constantly changing due to constant organizational, scientific, technological and economic changes. To remain relevant, academic researchers must incorporate these trends into their research. But is this actually the case in today's academic research world, or do researchers lag behind the actual developments in the business world?  The goal of this research is to identify trends in the scientific discourse in marketing and sales by examining temporal changes in the occurrence of words or expressions in research articles, identifying latent research topics and thus identifying trending issues. For this purpose, abstracts and articles published in the field of marketing in the years 2000 to 2020 might be analyzed with the help of tidytext in R.

       

    • An Exploration of the Adoption and Usage of Digital Health Technologies

      Advisor: Florian Holz

      In healthcare, the growing field of digital health has the potential to substantially change health-related outcomes. Consequently, investors have heavily invested in digital health startups. Today, some listed digital health applications even get reimbursed in Germany. However, while innovative health technologies appear promising, people often do not start using available tools and services or stop using it after a short period of time. Many applications show especially low retention rates. Ultimately, this raises the question which factors affect the adoption and usage of digital health technologies and how these factors can be influenced to increase their utilization.

      The superordinate goals of this master thesis are (1) to review relevant literature on digital health, (2) to examine the factors that influence the adoption and usage of digital health technologies and (3) how these can be managed by healthcare stakeholders.

      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.

    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 Alin Schröder.


    Industry-Related Topics

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

    Topics Focused on a Specific Industry

    Currently, there are no topics available that have a specific industry focus.

    Topics in Cooperation With a Company

    Currently, there are no topics available that are based on a cooperation with a 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 Alin Schröder.

    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.