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Faculty Spotlight on marketing’s Colleen Harmeling

Jun 30, 2017

Colleen HarmelingName:  Colleen Harmeling

Title:  Assistant Professor of Marketing and Dean’s Emerging Scholar

Degrees:  Ph.D. in Marketing and International Business, Saint Louis University; MBA, University of Tampa; B.A. in Mass Communication, Southeast Missouri State University

Industry experience:  I have eight years of practical experience in marketing. Prior to entering academia, I was the community relations manager for Barnes and Noble, where I specialized in customer engagement, event marketing, customer relationship development, business-to-business sales and government contracting. I also worked in nonprofit marketing, sponsorship management and tradeshow marketing. I consulted for and worked on collaborative research projects with firms in various industries including Emerson Electric, Belkin, Wells Fargo, SC Johnson, Schneider Electric, Nature’s Bounty and World Vision.

Leadership service: Director of research partnerships for the Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy at the University of Washington, which is a bridge between Florida State University and firms and academic researchers. Serves on the editorial board for Journal of Academy of Marketing Science and as an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Service Research, International Journal of Marketing Research and International Marketing Review. Faculty mentor for the FSU College of Business Consulting Group, a student organization.

Award/recognitions: Recently named a Dean’s Emerging Scholar; awarded funding from Marketing Science Institute for work on online engagement strategies; and received the Center for Service Leadership Leading Edge Service Research Award for work on relationship development.

Academic specialty: Teaching marketing research and marketing strategy at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Areas of expertise:  Engagement marketing theory and strategy with an emphasis on customer engagement, relationship dynamics, transformational events and relationship recovery in business-to-business, service, nonprofit and retail markets.

This area interests me because: I am passionate about using the deep theories and cutting-edge analysis techniques developed in academia to address real business problems through collaboration with firms. Engagement marketing is the study of customer behaviors outside the core transaction (e.g., blog posts, comments, likes, shares and reviews) that contribute to a firm’s marketing functions (e.g., customer acquisition, retention, expansion, product innovation). It represents a fundamental shift in the way we view customers and is paralleled by unprecedented access to data that provides visibility to these non-transactional behaviors like never before. This shift requires new theories, new analysis techniques and new managerial tools for capturing and motivating these contributions. This area is interesting to me because by properly motivating, empowering and measuring customer engagement, firms can increase their financial performance, donations and even customer well-being.

Most recently published: “Group Marketing: Theory, Mechanisms and Dynamics,” Journal of Marketing (July 2017); with Eric Fang, Robert W. Palmatie, and Dianwen Wang.

The practical implications of my research: Most of my research is in collaboration with firms with each project addressing a core business problem. My research on customer engagement primarily focuses on identifying tools and techniques for effectively incentivizing and empowering customers to contribute their knowledge, creativity and connections to other customers to support the firm and/or other customers. This requires designing new rewards programs that acknowledge the value of these nontransactional behaviors, developing tools like customer forums or like and share buttons to empower customers, and effectively designing marketing communication to recruit customers to connect with other customers and contribute to the firm.

Why students should consider entering the field of marketing: Marketing research, specifically, is an exploding new domain with increasing job opportunities, especially in roles such as consumer insights specialists, data scientists and engagement marketing managers. As data becomes increasingly more accessible, and markets more competitive, the need for marketing and marketing research will also grow suggesting these jobs will continue to be relevant. No matter what career students choose, understanding core marketing techniques can enhance their ability not only to market products, but also to market their ideas and ultimately themselves.

I appreciate alumni involvement because: I see alumni as essential to the very existence of a business school in that their impact is intertwined with our teaching and research. Alumni are often guest speakers in my courses, providing an example to my students on life beyond FSU and how much they can accomplish. They are our collaborative research partners and help to ensure that our research remains relevant and connected to the current challenges firms are facing. Finally, our alumni are a huge source of support that is essential to improving our standing as a preeminent university.





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