Marketing event scores high
The 35th European Marketing Academy (EMAC) conference, held in Athens on May 23-26, distinguished itself because of the variety of records registered. Organized by the Department of Marketing and Communication of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), the event drew people from around the globe and submissions for more than 900 scientific projects, 528 of which were presented at this annual conference by 650 professors from all continents. The conference covered 20 different domains, concerning marketing tools, product policy, pricing policy, sales organization, advertising and supply channels and other areas. Another record was the wealth of knowledge distributed by the presentation of scientific projects, studies, research and debate. The organizing committee intends to disseminate this wealth for the entrepreneurial community’s awareness through the websites for the event (www.emac2006.org) and of the Greek Marketing Academy (www.elam.gr), both of which are available in English. Interest in the sessions peaked when they included «the latest developing fields of knowledge in the marketing science, such as social marketing, state and non-profit organizations’ marketing, social responsibility, ethics and consumer protection,» said Giorgos Avlonitis, the head of the organizing committee and an AUEB marketing professor. «Unfortunately, the Greek public keeps associating the science of marketing with advertising,» said Avlonitis, explaining that «the 528 scientific projects presented, covering 20 sections of marketing, prove the breadth of our science, which I consider as one of the most misunderstood.» He explained why he believed his science had such a broad reach. «In the subject of social responsibility, ethics and consumer protection, one of the papers presented analyzed the reactions of smokers to the anti-smoking messages of the European Union in seven countries – Finland, Sweden, the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Greece,» he said. «Northern Europeans are more open to such messages than others, leading to the conclusion that when forming these messages one must take into account the various cultures of peoples and that communication campaigns must be designed with certain flexibility.» Avlonitis added that «advertising is a very small part of the broader science of marketing, which has offered much both in business and in social life.» He cited a scientific work presented in the context of tourism marketing, referring to the «Lord of the Rings» movie, filmed in New Zealand. The project intended to measure the movie’s effect on that country’s image as a destination for tourism. The scientists discovered that the movie affected people positively on a cognitive level but did not spur them to visit New Zealand, hence doing nothing to increase the number of tourists to the country. Internet and sales In the «Sales Management and Personal Selling» entity, Avlonitis and Nikolaos Panagopoulos, an AUEB lecturer, presented their research on the impact of Internet use in the effectiveness of sales management. The project surveyed 134 sales managers working in companies from three different sectors (pharmaceuticals, food and wine, and electrical equipment) as well as sellers themselves. Its conclusion was that «the use of e-mail for internal communication has a much greater impact and lasting duration for the effectiveness of sales management.» The use of e-mail for communication within a sales unit appears positively associated with the general performance of sellers. Yet when employees in the sales unit try to collect information via the Internet, their general performance declines, as this consumes the time they could have allocated to building customer relations. Another explanation is that their competitors can also collect the same information in the same way, while personal contact allows for collecting the whole range of a customer’s social features. The survey also found that the performance of sales managers is not significantly affected by Internet use, whether it is about creating and maintaining relations with customers, or providing solutions and information about products, or direct sales. This also concerns their communication with customers through e-mail. The most important new finding of the survey was that the returns of sales made because of the use of new technologies could improve by expanding information technology to the sellers’ work and enriching the work of sales managers.