Marketing Papers

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Book Chapter

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The Profit Impact of Marketing Strategy Project: Retrospect and Prospects

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More than twenty years ago Farris and Reibstein (1979) published research that demonstrated a strong cross-sectional correlation between relative advertising expenditures and relative prices charged by manufacturers of non-durable consumer goods. Data for that research were taken from the PIMS database. The correlation was demonstrated to survive a number of controls for relative quality and market share. The correlation was also shown to be stronger for later stages in the product life-cycle and for products purchased in relatively small dollar amounts. The research made no claims about the direction of causality from advertising to prices or vice versa. Instead, the paper argued that from the management perspective “consistency” between advertising and pricing was important. In other words, businesses with high (or low) relative prices should generally also have high (or low) levels of relative advertising. The claim for the importance of consistency was buttressed by evidence in the paper that businesses with inconsistent pricing and advertising strategies earned lower ROIs.

In this chapter we first review and then extend the earlier Farris and Reibstein (1979) study with new analyses based on the PIMS data. The review is placed in the context of a broader managerial (not necessarily a public policy) concern with the relationship between total marketing costs (not just advertising) and prices. The expanded view of marketing costs includes salesforce and other marketing expenses – budget items with collective dollar values that are typically three to four times advertising budgets.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This material has been published in The Profit Impact of Marketing Strategy Project: Retrospect and Prospects edited by Farris, P.W. & Moore, M.J. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © 2004 Cambridge University Press.



Date Posted: 15 June 2018