Università della Svizzera italiana Faculty of Communication Sciences ./index.htm

Digital Marketing, Pricing & Marketing Methods

The research area of strategic marketing and innovation is currently divided into three fields:

Digital Marketing

How do people act within online environments? When, how, and why do they share user generated content (UGC), and what role play social interactions online? What are fruitful ways to optimize crowdsourcing approaches? This stream of research aims to provide answers to these questions and to extend the broader scientific knowledge in the field. Building on prior literature of consumer behavior, we offer novel approaches that are relevant to both business practice and the scientific community based on the analyses of large-scale datasets, lab- and field-experiments.

Representative Publications:

Shriver, S. K., Nair, H. S., & Hofstetter, R. (2013). Social ties and user-generated content: Evidence from an online social network, Management Science, 59 (6), 1425-1443.

Currently Under Revision:

Hofstetter, R., Aryobsei, S., Herrmann, A., Dahl, D., The Role of Prior Ideas in Ideation Contests.

Work in Progress:

Hofstetter, R., Yildirim, P., Zhang, J., Reward the Few or The Many? An Investigation of the Impact of Rewards in Open Innovation Contests.

Hofstetter, R., Nair, H., Misra, S., Free-Riding in Crowdsourcing Contests.


Behavioral Pricing & Product Configuration

How do different types of price and attribute presentations influence customization decisions within online configurators? Do different types of attribute presentations lead to differences in the mental accounting process, and how are consumer decisions influenced by knowledge about the price range of the customizable product? Building on literature of mental accounting and reference price theories, we strive to provide novel approaches on how to design online product configurators based on lab- and field-experiments.

Work in Progress:

Hofstetter R., Schiestel, L., How Expensive Can it Get? The influence of Different Price Presentations on Price-Related Configuration Decisions.

Schiestel, L., Hofstetter R., Spending more and being happy: The Influence of Attribute Presentation on Mental Accounting in Customization.

Externally Funded:

  • BMW Car Configurator Project: Maximization of Purchase Probability and Price through an In-depth Understanding of Consumer Behavior.


Marketing Methods

How can we boost the accuracy of data obtained via marketing research methods? This line of research focuses on the improvement of marketing methodology in mainly two ways. First, it aims to identify ways to increase accuracy of specific marketing-relevant measures such as willingness to pay (WTP), as well as surveys more generally. We here build on literature of judgment and decision-making and social influence theory and provide novel approaches that can increase reliability and validity of data. Second, we analyze consumer choice behavior by the application of econometric models such as hybrid-choice. This allows us to implement a variety of latent variables such as the consumers’ psychographics, and therefore boosts explanatory power and economic relevance of our models and their results.

Representative Publications:

Hofstetter, R., Miller, K., Krohmer, H., Zhang, J. (2013), How Do Consumer Characteristics Affect the Bias in Measuring Willingness to Pay for Innovative Products? Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30(5), 1042-53.

Miller, K., Hofstetter, R., Krohmer, H., Zhang, J. (2011), How Should We Measure Consumers’ Willingness to Pay? An Empirical Comparison of State-of-the-Art Approaches, Journal of Marketing Research, 48(1), 172-184.

Currently under Revision:

Hofstetter, R., Hildebrand, C. Herrmann, A., Huber, J., What would your Friends Say? Encouraging Painful Truths in Surveys by Evoking the Friends’ Perspective.

Work in Progress:

Hofstetter, R., Rüppell, R., Häubl, G., Does Thinking Harder Make you More Accurate? The Impact of Deliberation on the Validity of Self-Stated Preferences.

Hofstetter, R., Rüppell, R., Häubl, G., Intuitive vs. Revised Judgment: The Impact of Knowledge about Cue Validities on the Accuracy of Numerical Estimation.

Externally Funded:

  • SBB Pricing: Innovation Potential in Pricing and Product Line Design, Based on the Increasing Heterogeneity of Customers. An Empirical Analysis and Simulation of Choice Behavior.



Head of research area
Reto Hofstetter
Professor of Marketing
Email: reto.hofstetter@usi.ch