Laura Colm honored by the American Marketing Association

Robert Lusch Early Career Research Award

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An influential paper investigating the transformation of business-to-business suppliers into solution providers earned Laura Colm, Associate Professor of Practice di Marketing e Sales at SDA Bocconi, the 2024 Robert Lusch Early Career Research Award, presented by the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the American Marketing Association Foundation (AMAF).

 

The Robert Lusch Early Career Research Award aims to recognize a scholar who has published an article early in his/her career in an AMA Journal (Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of International Marketing, Journal of Interactive Marketing, or Journal of Public Policy & Marketing). The selected article pushes boundaries and introduces novel theories and/or conceptual frames to better understand consumers, markets, and marketing actions.

 

At SDA Bocconi, Laura Colm is Head of Core Team at the mobiUS Lab on smart and sustainable mobility, as well as a member of the Commercial Excellence Lab.

 

The award-winning article, “Dynamic Governance Matching in Solution Development,” co-authored with Andrea Ordanini (Bocconi University) and Torsten Bornemann (Goethe University Frankfurt) was published by the Journal of Marketing in 2020.

 

Harsh competition and the risk of commoditization press many business-to-business companies to add service content to their offer, thus labeling themselves as solution providers. Since solution-providing, though, entails coproduction, knowledge sharing, and interaction, with the risk of opportunistic behavior and competitive information leakage, the shift is often unsuccessful.

 

In their groundbreaking article, Laura Colm and her co-authors frame the process in three phases (experimentation, integration, and evolution) and two decision points that separate solution development phases, when both actors have to decide if there are the premises to advance or not the development process.

 

The executives of both the supplier and the customer must systematically monitor the relationship and be ready to design and put in place the right matching mechanisms. As shown in the figure, the shift from experimentation to integration is possible only if the managers develop a mutual commitment, and the passage to evolution is subordinated to the emergence of a balance of power: if one of the parties becomes significantly more powerful, the relationship can become one of quasi- or full vertical integration or revert to occasional exchanges if the weaker actor reduces its efforts.

 

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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