Marketing Science Institute

Founded in 1961, the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) is a corporate-membership-based organization dedicated to bridging the gap between marketing theory and business practice. MSI is one of the world’s leading research-based organizations with an expansive network of top 60+ leading companies.

As a nonprofit institution, MSI financially supports academic research for the development-and-practical translation of marketing knowledge on topics of importance to business performance. Every two years, MSI asks the Board of Trustees to provide input to help set priorities for the next few years. These priorities enable MSI to engage in its most important mission: moving the needle on important marketing problems. MSI supports studies by academics on these issues and disseminates the results through conferences, workshops, webinars, publications, and online content.

In the past 10 years, MSI has sponsored 70+ conferences and workshops. MSI’s Working Paper Series includes more than one thousand working papers, many of which have garnered the marketing field’s most prestigious awards. The “Relevant Knowledge” book series includes a dozen monographs on topics including marketing ROI, consumer insights, innovation, and branding.

MSI headquarters are located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The primary governing body of MSI is the Board of Trustees, which is made up of MSI’s member companies. MSI’s staff of 11 employees are responsible for membership and research programs, conferences, publications, and all other operations.


In 1961, Scott Paper Company Chairman Thomas B. McCabe founded the “Institute for Science in Marketing” with input from John Howard’s leading thinkers, Albert Wesley Frey, and Wroe Alderson . Twenty-nine companies responding to its membership appeal, establishing MSI as a nonprofit organization that would “contribute to the emergence of a definitive science of marketing ” and “increased application of scientific techniques to the understanding and solving of current marketing problems.” were established in Philadelphia near the University of Pennsylvania ‘s Wharton School, and Wendell Smith became its first president. [1]

MSI’s founding coincides with a period of booming growth in the US marketing systems, fueled by pent-up demand of war-years restrictions on production of consumer goods, and an explosion in population growth. Key marketing concepts, such as the “4 Ps” (product, price, place, promotion) of marketing were introduced. Management science theory, methods, and tools have been infused into marketing, and consumer behavior emerged as an area of ​​study within marketing. [2]

In its first decade, MSI supported the development of new tools for marketers, such as multidimensional scaling , stochastic modeling, causal modeling, and decision calculus marketing. It also provided the foundation for new product development . [3] [4] In 1968, MSI moved to Cambridge and began a 15-year association with the Harvard Business School.

In the early 1970s, MSI launched and managed the Profit Impact of Marketing Strategy project which, in conjunction with General Electric, created and analyzed a cross-sectional database that described marketing strategies and profitability across the business. The results, a well reported, demonstrated value of a scientific approach to marketing. [5]

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, MSI assembled teams at the Federal Trade Commission and the US Department of Agriculture. MSI also played an important role in introducing qualitative consumer research methods, including the Consumer Behavior Odyssey, a summer-long road trip in 1986 that laid the foundation for the field of consumer ethnography . [6]

By the 1980s, MSI research on marketing services has been developed in order to improve the quality of service delivery. In 1986, a consortium of MSI member companies contributed to the support of the research and development team in the area of SERVQUAL . During this time, the role of marketing in strategic planning. MSI research introduced key concepts such as market orientation and marketing capabilities. [7]

The conceptualization and measurement of equity originated in MSI-sponsored research in the early 1990s. The impact of marketing activities is firm performance and shareholder value (termed ROI marketing, marketing accountability, and return on investment marketing ) has-been an area of research interest MSI sustained. Through the 1990s and early 2000s, MSI’s research agenda also included product and service innovation, as well as innovation in business models and processes.

Current Research

New technologies, analytic capabilities, and social media platforms have dramatically altered the marketing landscape. Current research priorities include: quantitative models to understand causality; integrated, real-time customer experiences; changing decision processes (B2C and B2B); new data and analytic approaches; and innovation, design, and strategy in an age of disruption. [8]


The Marketing Science Institute sponsors three major marketing awards annually.

The Alden G. Clayton Essay Dissertation Proposal Competition the best doctoral dissertation proposals on important marketing subjects. Each year, MSI awards up to five awards of $ 5,000 each for the best proposals.

The MSI H. Paul Root Award is made by the members of the Journal of Marketing editorial review to a paper that has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the practice of marketing. It is cosponsored by the American Marketing Association .

The Robert D. Buzzell MSI Best Paper Award honors the authors of the MSI working papers that have made the most significant contribution to marketing practice and thought. The award serves the role of writing and marketing. Each year it is given for the best MSI paper issued during the calendar year two years previous.

In addition, the biennial Young Scholars Program brings together young marketing academics in a four-day forum to discuss their research, to encourage future collaboration, and to foster their interest in real-world marketing problems.


Cheryl Cramer Toto, present
Marni Zea Clippinger, 2016-2017
Office of the President: Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Executive Director, 2002-2016
William H. Moult, 2000-2002
William A. Ghormley, 1998-2000
H. Paul Root, 1990-1998
F. Kent Mitchel, 1987-1990
Alden G. Clayton, 1977-1986
Thomas B. McCabe, Jr., 1972-1977
Edwin L. Morris, 1969-1972
Wendell R. Smith, 1962-1969

Executive Directors

Carl F. Mela, Duke University, 2017-present
Katherine N. Lemon, Boston College, 2015-2017
Kevin Lane Keller , Dartmouth College, 2013-2015
John A. Deighton, Harvard Business School, 2011-2013
Ruth N. Bolton, Marketing Science Institute, 2009-2011
Russell S. Winer, New York University, 2007-2009
Dominique Hanssens, UCLA, 2005-2007
Leigh McAlister , University of Texas at Austin, 2003-2005
Donald R. Lehmann, Columbia University, 1993-95, 2001-2003
David J. Reibstein, University of Pennsylvania, 1999-2001
Rohit Deshpandé, Harvard Business School, 1997-1999
David B. Montgomery, Stanford University, 1995-1997
Richard Staelin, Duke University, 1991-1993
George S. Day , University of Pennsylvania, 1989-1991
Frederick E. Webster, Jr., Dartmouth College, 1987-1989
John U. Farley, Dartmouth College, 1985-1987
Louis W. Stern, Northwestern University, 1983-1985
E. Raymond Corey, Harvard Business School, 1981-1983
Stephen A. Grayser, Harvard Business School, 1972-1980
Robert D. Buzzell, Harvard Business School, 1968-1972

Executive Committee (November 2017)

Robert Alt, AstraZeneca PLC
Sean Bruich, Nike, Inc.
Edwin J. Buckley, Jr., UPS
Martyn J. Crook, The Coca-Cola Company
Pamela Forbus, Walt Disney Studios
Kevin Lane Keller, Dartmouth College
Katherine N. Lemon, Boston College
Conor McGovern, Accenture
Carl F. Mela, Marketing Science Institute and Duke University
Pam Moy, Allstate Insurance Company
David F. Poltrack, CBS Corporation and CBS Vision
Daniel Slotwiner, Facebook, Inc.
Cheryl Cramer Toto, Marketing Science Institute
Linda Vytlacil, Walmart

Academic Trustees (November 2017)

Kusum Ailadwadi, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
David Bell, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Alex Chernev, Kellogg School of Northwestern University
Jean-Pierre H. Dube, University of Chicago
Peter Fader , Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Gavan Fitzsimons , Fuqua School of Duke University
Robert Kozinets, Marshall School of University of Southern California
Peter Golder, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
Wendy Moe , Smith School ofUniversity of Maryland
Michael Norton, Harvard Business School
Sharon Shavitt, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Catherine E. Tucker, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Peter Verhoef, University of Groningen


  1. Jump up^ Bloom, Paul (1987). Knowledge Development in Marketing: The MSI Experience . DC Heath and Company. ISBN  0-669-12581-4 .
  2. Jump up^ Wilkie, William L .; Elizabeth S. Moore (Fall 2003). ” ” Scholarly Research in Marketing: Exploring the “4 Eras” of Thought Development. “ Journal of Public Policy & Marketing . 22 (2):. 116-146 doi : 10.1509 / jppm. .
  3. Jump up^ Bloom, Paul (1987). Knowledge Development in Marketing: The MSI Experience . DC Heath and Company. ISBN  0-669-12581-4 .
  4. Jump up^ Bolton, Ruth (Summer 2011). “MSI 50: Years Ahead”. Marketing Management : 44-47.
  5. Jump up^ Bolton, Ruth (Summer 2011). “MSI 50: Years Ahead”. Marketing Management : 44-47.
  6. Jump up^ Bloom, Paul (1987). Knowledge Development in Marketing: The MSI Experience . DC Heath and Company. ISBN  0-669-12581-4 .
  7. Jump up^ Bloom, Paul (1987). Knowledge Development in Marketing: The MSI Experience . DC Heath and Company. ISBN  0-669-12581-4 .
  8. Jump up^ Marketing Science Institute (2016). 2016-18 Research Priorities . Cambridge, Mass .: Marketing Science Institute.