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Darla Moore School of Business

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The power of AI

Associate professor and colleagues examine artificial intelligence’s impact on marketing

Moore School marketing associate professor Abhijit Guha explores in his research the impact artificial intelligence will have on marketing and retailing, due to AI’s ability to deliver real-time and personalized recommendations, both significant drivers for retailing.

Published research: “How artificial intelligence will change the future of marketing” — Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, January 2020

Why it matters:

  • One major factor marketers and companies have to consider with increased AI adoption is data privacy, and more generally, the ethics of using AI.
  • Since AI can create deep insights from existing data — like when an organization uses a customer’s transaction data to generate specific recommendations — these uses heighten privacy concerns because customers may not realize AI can extract potentially sensitive information to make these recommendations.

Research design:

  • Focusing on three areas, their research examined how AI may impact marketing strategies:
    • First, AI will impact online sales. For example, e-commerce websites use AI to segment prospective customers in specific ways to determine which group of prospective customers should be the focus of future marketing efforts.
    • Next, AI will also impact in-store sales. Stores can use AI to identify customers and also decide which customers should receive in-store promotions.
    • Finally, AI will impact marketing operations. Some stores use AI-powered in-store robots to ensure there is enough of a product on a shelf and that products are on the correct shelf.

Learn more about their research.

“On the one hand, AI will open up possibilities for better products. On the other hand, it may also have negative consequences, with firms able to probe deep into customers’ lives — in ways customers may not seek,” Guha said.

About Abhijit Guha:

  • Guha joined the Moore School’s marketing department in January 2015 as an assistant professor.
  • His research encompasses technology, behavioral pricing and numeric cognition.
  • Guha teaches consumer behavior at both the undergraduate and the Ph.D. level.
  • Guha earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Delhi University in India, an MBA from INSEAD (Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires) and a doctorate from Duke University.

Guha’s co-authors include Thomas Davenport, President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College; Dhruv Grewal, Toyota Professor of Commerce and Electronic Business at Babson College; and Timna Bressgott, a Ph.D. candidate at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Guha, Davenport, Grewal and Bressgott’s paper was the runner-up in 2020 for the Sheth award, which is given to the best paper published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.

Ongoing research:
Guha and his colleagues published follow-up papers in 2021 in Harvard  Business ReviewHow to design an AI marketing strategy”, in the Journal of Retailing: “How artificial intelligence will impact the future of retailing” and in the Journal of Business ResearchArtificial Intelligence: The light and the darkness”.

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