Update on Our Research Partnership with the UW Center for Sales & Marketing Strategy

In a recent post on LinkedIn’s Pulse, I announced our research partnership with the Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. I am happy to report that the study is well under way, with a half-dozen leading consumer electronics and consumer packaged goods brands participating.

While our agreement with the university and the participants prevents us from disclosing the identity of the study’s participants, we are extremely proud to say that the list includes some of the world’s most recognized brands.


Jointly led by our own Trinity Hartman and University of Washington’s Professor Rob Palmatier, this unique study will offer the participants access to some of the most advanced analytical tools available.

Research Partnership Objectives

Using a combination of field and lab experiments, along with empirical modeling, the study will set out to answer pertinent questions about the efficacy of specific content elements in content marketing strategies. We’ll hope to discover, for instance, what types of images sell the most products, and the most effective tone and optimal word counts for product descriptions, among many other factors.

In the phase that is currently under way, we are testing several versions of product pages with a large sampling of consumers to determine their preferences. Our goal is to gather data on the consumers’ reaction to a wide variety of product page elements. This initial phase should be completed over the next several weeks.

In Phase Two of the study, set to commence in the first quarter of 2016, we’ll perform A/B tests with different versions of the content on the participants’ web sites. The data we gather will be analyzed to help determine the specific content types that are optimal for increasing online sales.

“We’re not only looking to understand the general effect content inputs such as tone, content length, and product imagery has on conversion,” says Hartman, “We’re also testing several hypotheses around how content works with particular product types. For instance, what kind of content is best suited for more complex electronics versus the content that sells the most toiletries and beauty products.”

According to Professor Palmatier, “Research on the simultaneous impact of multiple online content factors is sparse,” a gap he hopes that this study will help fill.

Robert W. Palmatier, Professor of Marketing and Research Director, UW Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy

Robert W. Palmatier, Professor of Marketing and Research Director, UW Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy

“The importance of the internet as a commercial platform is ever-growing. With more and more firms selling online, success hinges not only on offering superior products, but on offering them effectively through multiple channels. Currently, research on the simultaneous impact of multiple online content factors is sparse. We’re seeking to bridge this gap by answering the questions:

  1. What are the relevant online content factors that impact firm performance?
  2. Which mediating mechanisms influence firm performance?
  3. How does the influence of factors vary across product types, sales channels, and firms?”

Want More Updates?

As the product detail page continues to gain traction in importance to companies’ digital marketing strategies, the data we gather will help our clients make smarter decisions about their marketing investments and content decisions.

We’ll continue to post as the study progresses. Our hope is that we can begin releasing preliminary results of our work in early 2016.

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Let's work together.