The marketing faculty embrace research traditions grounded in psychology and behavioral decision-making, economics and industrial organization, and statistics and management science.

These traditions support research inquiries into consumer behavior, firm behavior, the development of methods for improving the allocation of marketing resources, and understanding of how marketing works in a market setting.

A small number of students are accepted into the PhD Program in marketing each year, with a total of about 18 marketing students in residence. Student-faculty relationships are close, both professionally and socially. This permits the tailoring of the program of study to fit the background and career goals of the individual.

A marketing student’s program of study usually includes several doctoral seminars taught by marketing faculty, some doctoral seminars taught by other Stanford GSB faculty, and a considerable number of graduate-level courses in related departments outside the business school, depending on a student’s particular area of investigation.

The field is often broken down into two broad subareas: behavioral marketing and quantitative marketing.

Behavioral Marketing

Behavioral marketing is the study of how individuals behave in consumer-relevant domains. This area of marketing draws from social psychology and behavioral decision theory and includes a wide variety of topics such as:

  • Decision making
  • Attitudes and persuasion
  • Social influence
  • Motivation
  • Cognition
  • Culture
  • Nonconscious behavior influences
  • Consumer neuroscience
  • Emotions

Students in this track take classes in behaviorally oriented subjects within Stanford GSB and also in the Psychology Department. All students have the opportunity to interact with Stanford GSB faculty in every group and, indeed, across the Stanford campus.

Behavioral Interest Group

There is also a formal institutional link between the behavioral side of marketing and the micro side of organizational behavior, which is called the Behavioral Interest Group. The Stanford GSB Behavioral Lab links members of this group. This lab fosters collaborative work across field boundaries among those with behavioral interests.

Preparation and Qualifications

A background in psychology and experience with experimental methods and data analysis provide optimal preparation for students pursuing the behavioral track, though students from a variety of backgrounds have performed well in the program.

Quantitative Marketing

The quantitative marketing faculty at Stanford emphasize theoretically grounded empirical analysis of applied marketing problems. This line of inquiry draws primarily on fundamentals in applied microeconomic theory, industrial organization, and econometrics and statistics.

Questions of interest include:

  • Investigating consumer choices and purchase behavior

  • Examining product, pricing, advertising, and promotion strategies of firms

  • Analyzing competition in a wide range of domains

  • Development and application of large-scale experimentation, high-dimensional statistics, applied econometrics and big-data methods to solve marketing problems

A common theme of research is the use of rigorous quantitative methods to study important, managerially relevant marketing questions.

Cross-Campus Collaboration

Students in this track take common classes in quantitatively oriented subjects with others at Stanford GSB, as well as the Economics and Statistics Departments. All Stanford GSB students have the opportunity to interact with Stanford GSB faculty in every group and, indeed, across the Stanford campus.

Preparation and Qualifications

Solid training in economics and statistical methods, as well as programming skills, offers a distinct advantage for quantitative marketing students, but students from various backgrounds such as engineering, computer science, and physics have thrived in the program.

Recent Journal Articles in Marketing

Szu-chi Huang, Jennifer Aaker
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. October
2019, Vol. 117, Issue 4, Pages 697-720
Szu-chi Huang, Stephanie C. Lin, Ying Zhang
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. September
2019, Vol. 117, Issue 3, Pages 605-620
Daniella Kupor, Melanie S. Brucks, Szu-chi Huang
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. September
2019, Vol. 117, Issue 3, Pages 500-521

Recent Insights by Stanford Business

September 4, 2019
You know those ads that follow you around online? New research shows that they work, especially when deployed early.
A woman uses her credit card to shop on her smartphone. Credit: iStock/Nattakorn Maneerat
May 15, 2019
New research shows that people with shared goals can get lured into “pseudo competitions” that hurt all involved.
Cersei from Game of Thrones. Credit: HBO/Helen Sloan
May 9, 2019
When our values don’t align, we struggle to see others’ viewpoints.
Counter-protester Sean Mullin speaks with protester Scott Bannister, of the Liberty For All group, as Bannister demonstrates against the United States’ acceptance of Syrian refugees at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia. Credit: Reuters/David Ryder