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Competitive One-to-One Promotions

Author

Listed:
  • Greg Shaffer

    () (William E. Simon Graduate School of Business, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627)

  • Z. John Zhang

    () (The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

Abstract

One-to-one promotions are possible when consumers are individually addressable and firms know something about each customer's preferences. We explore the competitive effects of one-to-one promotions in a model with two competing firms where the firms differ in size and consumers have heterogeneous brand loyalty. We find that one-to-one promotions always lead to an increase in price competition (average prices in the market decrease). However, we also find that one-to-one promotions affect market shares. This market-share effect may outweigh the effect of lower prices, benefiting the firm whose market share increases. Our results suggest that of two firms, the firm with the higher-quality product may gain from one-to-one promotions. Our model also has implications for the phenomenon of customer churn, where consumers switch to a less preferred brand due to targeted promotional incentives. We show that churning can arise optimally from firms pursuing a profit-maximizing strategy. Instead of trying to minimize it, the optimal way to manage customer churn is to engage in both offensive and defensive promotions with the relative mix depending on the marginal cost of targeting.

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Shaffer & Z. John Zhang, 2002. "Competitive One-to-One Promotions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(9), pages 1143-1160, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:9:p:1143-1160
    as

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.48.9.1143.172
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lederer, Phillip J & Hurter, Arthur P, Jr, 1986. "Competition of Firms: Discriminatory Pricing and Location," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 623-640, May.
    2. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
    3. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 2000. "Customer Poaching and Brand Switching," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 634-657.
    4. Bester, Helmut & Petrakis, Emmanuel, 1996. "Coupons and oligopolistic price discrimination," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 227-242.
    5. Ram C. Rao, 1991. "Pricing and Promotions in Asymmetric Duopolies," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 10(2), pages 131-144.
    6. Narasimhan, Chakravarthi, 1988. "Competitive Promotional Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(4), pages 427-449, October.
    7. Banks, Jeffrey & Moorthy, Sridhar, 1999. "A model of price promotions with consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 371-398, April.
    8. Greg Shaffer & Z. John Zhang, 2000. "Pay to Switch or Pay to Stay: Preference-Based Price Discrimination in Markets with Switching Costs," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 397-424, June.
    9. Shaffer, G. & Zhang, Z.J., 1994. "Competitive Coupon Targeting," Papers 94-02, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
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