Date of Conferral


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Dr. Ruth Maurer


Efforts in the marketing sciences can be distinguished between the analysis of individual customers and the examination of portfolios of customers, giving scarce theoretical guidance concerning the strategic allocation of promotional investments. Yet, strategic asset allocation is considered in financial economics theory to be the most important set of investment decisions. The problem addressed in this study was the application of strategic asset allocation theory from financial economics to marketing science with the aim of improving the financial results of investment in direct marketing promotions. This research investigated the components of efficient marketing portfolio construction which include multiattribute numerical optimization, stochastic Brownian motion, peer index tracking schemes, and data mining methods to formulate unique investable asset classes. Three outcomes resulted from this study on optimal diversification: (a) reduced saturative promotional activities balancing inefficient advertising cost and enterprise revenue objectives to achieve an investment equilibrium state; (b) the use of utility theory to assist in the lexicographic ordering of goal priorities; and (c) the solution approach to a multiperiod linear goal program with stochastic extensions. A performance test using a large archival set of customer data illustrated the benefits of efficient portfolio construction. The test asset allocation resulted in significantly more reward than that of the benchmark case. The results of this grounded theory study may be of interest to marketing researchers, operations research practitioners, and functional marketing executives. The social change implication is increased efficiency in allocation of large advertising budgets resulting in improved corporate performance.