Meet Professor Martin Wetzels, a world-class scholar in Marketing
With more than 110 articles published, 140 contributions to conferences, 30 000 citations (1) and 30+ years of pushing the boundaries of marketing research, Professor Martin Wetzels is still as excited by the perspectives of his field as he was when he started back in the mid-1990s. One needs to be strongly driven by a thirst for new frontiers to maintain such a pace, but for Professor Wetzels, the idea of generating impact has always been the fuel to his research engine. And that’s certainly why he joined EDHEC Business School, with its ambitious strategic plan, as a Professor of Marketing in 2021.
Being included in the 2% top scientists worldwide by citation impact (2) does not come by chance. For Martin Wetzels, this is only the tip of an iceberg three decades in the making: a dedication to make marketing research a powerful force for change. When he started studying International Management at Maastricht University in the early 1990s, he was almost immediately drawn not to the topic itself but also to the method. The now-renowned institution had just launched this novel and innovative program and was determined to bring in a different approach to learning from what was done by other schools at that time. Problem-based learning was fairly new then: no lectures, only tutorials and interactions, a very attractive way of addressing real-world challenges for young adults intent on making their mark. This program attracted new kinds of people, with fresh ideas, groundbreaking ways to go about things, keen on testing new methods, failing, then testing again. This got the attention of young Martin, and with his first marketing research class, he was hooked.
His PhD presented him with the first real opportunity to make a difference in a field desperately in need of new ideas, and at a university willing to take a chance on shaking things up. Focusing on “service quality in B2B services” (3), at a time when most research and marketing focused on goods, was his ticket to developing a new approach and to enjoying the freedom to chart new paths, merging with other fields and areas of interest. At the crossroads of marketing and organizations, services were only starting to get the traction and the attention of researchers. They have since surpassed goods in boosting customer engagement and ushered the era of narrative-driven marketing and customer experiences we live in today. An explicit example of the leading role Martin has been playing since then in this file is his current key position as Co-Editor of the Journal of Service Research, in which he published his first article based on his dissertation in 1999.
Marketing is a completely different playground than it was when Professor Wetzels started and, in his own words, “this makes it very interesting and still exciting”. He cites the rise of data, ethics, corporate social responsibility, diversity and inclusivity, and sustainability as some of the factors influencing evolutions (or paradigm shift in marketing). But after thirty years, how does he keep his interest intact? It’s the impact that does it for him, he says, and the variety of subjects he’s juggling with. The idea that through his research, collaboration with peers, exchange with students, or supervision of PhDs, he can still find ways to shake the sandbox and broaden the perspectives of a field in constant movement. Always looking ahead, one of his latest publications deals with how AI-enabled voice assistants impact the customer journey (4), a study in which he builds bridges between marketing and linguistics. Another recent study deals with the impact of omnichannel experience on customer satisfaction and loyalty (5). Both articles are available as Open Access. Leveraging a shift towards evidence-based marketing, his research interests are always widening, recently diving into unstructured data to the measurement of omnichannel experience, text mining, visual narratives, robotics or virtual agents.
How does this free spirit fits into EDHEC then? He credits his move in part to the strong commitment of the school towards making a difference, supporting academic research, an entrepreneurial spirit and a focus on “all the right things”. He’s very excited to have joined what he calls a family and to help build a collective vision of what leadership should look like. “There’s something of my early days at Maastricht University,“ he says, “an ambition deeply rooted in reality, a learning-by-doing mentality which has always been my way of doing things.”
1994-1998: PhD, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University
1998-2001: Assistant then Associate Professor, Maastricht University
2001-2006: Full Professor in Marketing, Eindhoven University of Technology
2006-2021: Full Professor in Marketing and Supply Chain Research, Maastricht University
2011-2015: Head of Department, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University
2018-2021: Director MSc Programmes and Scientific Director of the Education Institute, Maastricht University
Since 2021: Professor of Marketing, EDHEC Business School
(1) Google Scholar, https://scholar.google.nl/citations?user=x3L7H_wAAAAJ&hl=en
(2) Scopus Top 100k Scientists https://elsevier.digitalcommonsdata.com/datasets/btchxktzyw/4 ; AD Scientific Index https://www.adscientificindex.com; PLOS Biology (Ioannidis et al. 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022)
(3) Wetzels, M.G.M. (1998), Service Quality in Customer-Employee Relationships: An Empirical Study in the After-Sales Services Context, Dissertation, Maastricht University, Maastricht (July 6th, 1998; Awarded with European Foundation of Quality Management (EFQM) Doctoral Thesis Award and “SNS bank-Limburgprijs” for Best Doctoral Thesis Maastricht University (Rijksuniversiteit Limburg)).
(4) Schweiger, E., Breßgott, T., Guha, A., Grewal, D., Wetzels, M. & Mahr, D. (2022), “A Framework for Designing Voice Assistant Technology: Improving Evaluations by Reducing Artificiality and Enhancing Intelligence,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-022-00874-7.
(5) Rahman, S., Carlson, J., Gudergan, S., Grewal, D. & Wetzels, M. (2022), “Perceived Omnichannel Customer Experience (OCX): Concept, Measurement, and Impact,” Journal of Retailing, 98 (4), 611-632. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretai.2022.03.003