Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
CORMSIS Centre for Operational Research, Management Sciences and Information Systems

POSTPONED - "The impact of marketing automation on the schope of business decision making rules" -- talk by Simone Guercini (University of Florence) Event

15:00 - 17:00
14 May 2020
Building 2, Room 3043, Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this event, please email Konstantinos Katsikopoulos at .

Event details

“Marketing automation” means automatic support for marketing decisions in the digital task environment (Little 2001; Heimbach et al. 2015). Today the great availability of data allows the taking of decisions for marketing actions in an automatic form starting from parameters set using specific software and through the adoption of algorithms. These algorithms use the data inputs to produce decisions and behaviour, sometimes almost in real time with respect to the production of the data (for example, analytical data from social media or search engines to activate promotions to specific online customers). The adoption of this support is important to face the speed with which market data is formed and used in the digital task environment (Hirt and Willmott, 2014). The central idea of marketing automation is to use models to cope with the large amount of data produced automatically to react adaptively to customers, competitors and influencers behavior, to produce more effective proposals, and to obtain preferences (Bucklin et al. 2002). To date, the heart of marketing automation has been recognized in a automatic customization of the marketing mix activities, an element that allows strengthening areas such as direct marketing and marketing interaction (Heimbach et al. 2015: 130). The paper focuses on the impact of digitalization on marketers’ decision making rules, and in particular on heuristics’ scope. Heuristics define solutions to decision problems starting from one or a few “cues”. They can perform better than complex and “information-intensive” decision models (Gigerenzer et al., 1999). Heuristics has been related to research on artificial intelligence (Newell, 1981; Simon, 1995). Recently it has been object of attention on different perspectives in organization behavior, strategic management, business and entrepreneurial decision-making (Artinger et al., 2015; Bingham et al., 2015; Guercini et al., 2015; Katsikopoulos and Gigerenzer, 2013; Loock and Hinnen, 2015; Sheperd et al., 2015).

The “scope” of heuristic rules refers to the fit of the rule based decision-making with the context. “Scope” is (the extention of) the field in which a heuristic can be applied (with success) (Guercini, 2019). Decision-making processes include two, mutually exclusive types: rational decision-making versus rule-based decision-making (March, 1994). Looking at the scope means shifting the attention from the accuracy of the decision-making model to the borders of the context where it is effective (task environment).

With reference to this subject, this is a position paper based on evidence collected with in-depth ethnographic interviews (Van Maanen, 2011) with twentythree marketers (entrepreneurs, managers, marketing consultants). The approach is more “descriptive” than “prescriptive” (Luan et al., 2019) but there is the tentative to overcome the tales of heuristics as simple labels, defining testable models (multipliers, thresholds, calends).



Artinger, F., Petersen, M., Gigerenzer, G., & Weibler, J. (2015). Heuristics as adaptive decision strategies in management. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 36(S1).

Bingham, C. B., Heimeriks, K. H., Schijven, M., & Gates, S. (2015). Concurrent learning: How firms develop multiple dynamic capabilities in parallel. Strategic Management Journal, 36(12), 1802-1825.

Bucklin, R.E., Lattin, J. M., Ansari, A., Gupta, S., Bell, D., Coupey, E., Little, J.D., Mela, C., Montgomery, A., & Steckel, J. (2002). Choice and the Internet: From clickstream to research stream. Marketing Letters, 13(3), 245-258.

Gigerenzer, G., Todd, P. M., & ABC Research Group, T. (1999). Simple heuristics that make us smart. Oxford University Press.

Guercini, S., La Rocca, A., Runfola, A., & Snehota, I. (2015). Heuristics in customer‐supplier interaction. Industrial Marketing Management, 48, 26-37.

Guercini, S. (2019). Heuristics as tales from the field: the problem of scope. Mind & Society, 18(2), 191-205.

Heimbach, I., Kostyra, D. S., & Hinz, O. (2015). Marketing automation. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 57(2), 129-133.

Hirt, M., & Willmott, P. (2014). Strategic principles for competing in the digital age. McKinsey Quarterly, 5(1), 1-13.

Katsikopoulos, K. V., & Gigerenzer, G. (2013). Behavioral operations management: A blind spot and a research program. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 49(1), 3-7.

Little, J. D. (2001, June). Marketing automation on the Internet. In Presentation at the UC Berkeley Fifth Invitational Choice Symposium, Monterey, CA.

Loock, M., & Hinnen, G. (2015). Heuristics in organizations: A review and a research agenda. Journal of Business Research, 68(9), 2027-2036.

Luan, S., Reb, J., & Gigerenzer, G. (2019). Ecological rationality: Fast-and-frugal heuristics for managerial decision making under uncertainty. Academy of Management Journal, 62(6), 1735-1759.

March, J. G. (1994). Primer on decision making: How decisions happen. Simon and Schuster.

Newell, A. (1981). The heuristic of George Polya and its relations to artificial intelligence, Carnagie-Mellon University.

Shepherd, D. A., Williams, T. A., & Patzelt, H. (2015). Thinking about entrepreneurial decision making: Review and research agenda. Journal of Management, 41(1), 11-46.

Simon, H. A. (1995). Artificial intelligence: an empirical science. Artificial Intelligence, 77(1), 95-127.

Van Maanen, J. (2011). Tales of the field: On writing ethnography. University of Chicago Press.


Speaker information

Simone Guercini, University of Florence, has a Ph.D. Sant’Anna School of Pisa, Tags University of Sussex & is chair professor of marketing and management. He has done extensive research in the field of fashion business, with particular reference to industrial marketing and decision making in the textile-clothing supply chains. He is senior associate editor of Management Decision and member of the editorial board of other academic journals. His research was published, among the other, on Industrial Marketing and Management, Journal of Business Research, International Business Review, International Marketing Review, European Journal of Marketing, Management Decision, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, He is research associate at the CIBER - Georgia State University and visiting professor at ISEM - Universidad de Navarra..

Privacy Settings