Blattberg retires, but still adds value
marketing expert will continue writing and educating younger
seed for Robert
Blattberg's interest in retail and marketing was planted
during his undergraduate years, when he worked part-time at
a grocery store to pay his tuition at Northwestern University.
His interest grew during his junior year, when, by chance,
he decided to take Professor Dirk Van Alystane's course in
was somewhat interested in marketing before that," says
Blattberg, who had made up his mind to apply to law school.
"Van Alystane was the one who took me aside, asked me
what I planned to do with my life, and then encouraged me
to apply to business school."
graduate of Carnegie Mellon's business school and marketing
professor at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of
Business since 1969, Blattberg returned to Northwestern in
1991 when he became the Polk Brothers Distinguished Professor
of Retailing and Marketing and director of the Center of Retail
Management at Kellogg, a position he has held the last 17
has been a great place for me," says Blattberg. "Coming
to Northwestern gave me a chance to move to the next level
in my career and to delve further into retail and retail behavior,
something I am extremely interested in. I've also really enjoyed
the chance to participate in the doctoral program and work
closely with the PhD students." During his Northwestern
tenure, Blattberg helped build a strong quantitative group
in the Marketing Department. He says the department has been
successful in attracting talented young faculty, "something
not so easy to do in the quantitative field," he admits.
who was still working on his doctorate in industrial administration
when he began teaching at the University of Chicago, had until
then focused on econometrics. It was his decision to teach
marketing instead of finance that began his shift into the
industry where he has played a major transformative role.
Never happy with answering questions posed by other marketing
scholars, Blattberg asked himself what questions should be
posed in the first place and soon became one of the leading
researchers in the field of quantitative marketing, including
sales promotion research, customer equity management and retailing
addition to writing four books, he has produced numerous articles
for leading academic journals, the monograph Assessing
and Capturing the Soft Benefits of Scanning and a five-part
set of monographs on category management. He also has consulted
for several major companies, including Sears, Kroger, Jewel-Osco
and Rite Aid.
is among a handful of scholars who have dominated the field
of quantitative marketing for the last four decades,"
says colleague Lakshman
Krishnamurthi, the A. Montgomery Ward Professor of Marketing.
"Throughout his career he has been at the forefront,
setting trends and writing books on topics as they just began
to emerge in the industry. While his research is sophisticated,
it is also accessible and can be applied in the real world.
He has made the field what it is today. He is a genuine superstar."
retiring after a 41-year teaching career, Blattberg is not
hanging up his hat. He is already at work on a fifth book
about the lifetime value of customers and plans to continue
to serve as director of First Horizon National Corp., Price
Chopper, and Mannatech Inc. He is also eager to spend more
time growing the investment challenge pilot program he has
started in several Colorado high schools and to serve as director
of the Center of Marketing Technology and Information at Carnegie
Mellon. Blattberg says he's enthusiastic about these opportunities,
including the chance to help younger students learn about
economics, finance and money management. "It feels good
to have the chance to give back," he says.