Gerald Zaltman

Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus

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(617) 495-6352

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*Joined Harvard Faculty: 1991
Prior Faculty Appointments: Northwestern University, 1968-75;
University of Pittsburgh, 1975-91

*Doctoral Degree in Sociology Received from: The John Hopkins University;
MBA Degree Received from: The University of Chicago; AB Degree Received from: Bates College

Gerald Zaltman is the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at the Harvard Business School and a former member of the Executive Committee of Harvard University's Mind, Brain, and Behavior Interfaculty Initiative.  He was previously Co-Director of The Mind of the Market Laboratory at HBS.  He is a co-founder and senior partner in the research based consulting firm of Olson Zaltman Associates whose clients include some of the world’s most respected firms and brands.  Professor Zaltman holds a Ph.D in sociology from The Johns Hopkins University, an M.B.A from the University of Chicago, and an A.B. in government from Bates College.  Professor Zaltman held positions at Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh before joining Harvard University in 1991.

 His research interests focus on customer behavior and marketing strategy.  His book, How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market (2003) has been translated into 15 languages.  It has received several awards and has ranked among the top five selling business books in North America and Europe. His newest book, co-authored with Lindsay Zaltman, is Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal about the Minds of Consumers (2008).  This book addresses the deep metaphors or unconscious frames people use that influence their thinking and behavior. 

 Professor Zaltman’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Forbes, US News & World Report, Time, Fast Company Magazine, American Demographics, and other major publications.  Professor Zaltman is a consultant to corporations around the globe and frequent keynote speaker at major conferences.  He holds three patents for market research tools including the patent on the use of neuroimaging in marketing.  Another patent, ZMET, is used around the world by major firms and international agencies.  It has been described by several writers as the most significant innovation in market research in more than two decades.

 Professor Zaltman has authored numerous books in the areas of social change, marketing, and the use of knowledge and has published widely in the major journals in marketing and the social sciences. He is a current or past member of the editorial boards of numerous journals in marketing and the social sciences.  He is a past President of the Association for Consumer Research. 

 His awards include the American Marketing Association's Richard D. Irwin Distinguished Marketing Educator Award in 1989, The Association for Consumer Research Distinguished Fellow Award in 1990, the Knowledge Utilization Society's Thomas J. Kiresuk Award for Excellence in Scientific Research in 1992, the JAI Press Distinguished Scholar Award from the Society for Marketing Advances in 2000, the ARF Member Recognition Award in 2007, and in 2008 he will receive the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Buck Weaver Award sponsored by General Motors for outstanding work in bringing knowledge and practice together.


Featured Work

Publications

Books

  1. Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal About the Minds of Consumers

    Why do advertising campaigns and new products often fail? Why do consumers feel that companies don't understand their needs? Because marketers themselves don't think deeply about consumers' innermost thoughts and feelings. Marketing Metaphoria is a groundbreaking book that reveals how to overcome this "deficit" and find the universal drivers of human behavior so vital to a firm's success. Marketing Metaphoria reveals the powerful unconscious viewing lenses—called "deep metaphors"—that shape what people think, hear, say, and do. Drawing on thousands of one-on-one interviews in more than thirty countries, Gerald Zaltman and Lindsay Zaltman describe how some of the world's most successful companies as well as small firms, not-for-profits, and social enterprises have successfully leveraged deep metaphors to solve a wide variety of marketing problems. Marketing Metaphoria should convince you that everything consumers think and do is influenced at unconscious levels—and it will give you access to those deeper levels of thinking.

    Keywords: Advertising Campaigns; Nonverbal Communication; Customer Satisfaction; Books; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Consumer Behavior; Failure; Nonprofit Organizations; Behavior; Emotions;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Lindsay Zaltman. Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal About the Minds of Consumers. Harvard Business School Press, 2008. View Details
  2. How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Markets

    Keywords: Customers; Cognition and Thinking; Markets;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Markets. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2003. View Details
  3. Hearing the Voice of the Market: Competitive Advantage Through Creative Use of Market Information

    Keywords: Competitive Advantage; Markets; Information;

    Citation:

    Barabba, V., and G. Zaltman. Hearing the Voice of the Market: Competitive Advantage Through Creative Use of Market Information. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1991. View Details

Journal Articles

  1. The Sure Thing That Flopped

    Citation:

    Zaltman, G., and Lindsay Zaltman. "The Sure Thing That Flopped." HBS Centennial Issue. Harvard Business Review 86, nos. 7/8 (July–August 2008). View Details
  2. Memory Change: An Intimate Measure of Persuasion

    Keywords: Change; Measurement and Metrics;

    Citation:

    Braun-Latour, Kathryn A., and Gerald Zaltman. "Memory Change: An Intimate Measure of Persuasion." Journal of Advertising Research (March 2006): 57–72. View Details
  3. A Behavioral Window on the Mind of the Market: An Application of the Response Time Paradigm

    Keywords: Behavior; Markets; Standards;

    Citation:

    Mast, Fred W., and Gerald Zaltman. "A Behavioral Window on the Mind of the Market: An Application of the Response Time Paradigm." Brain Research Bulletin 67, no. 5 (November 2005): 422–427. View Details
  4. Interpreting Consumer Perceptions of Advertising: An Application of the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique

    Keywords: Customers; Perception; Advertising;

    Citation:

    Coulter, Robin A., Gerald Zaltman, and Keith S. Coulter. "Interpreting Consumer Perceptions of Advertising: An Application of the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique." Journal of Advertising (winter 2001). View Details
  5. Consumer Researchers: Take a Hike!

    Keywords: Research;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "Consumer Researchers: Take a Hike!" Journal of Consumer Research 26, no. 4 (March 2000): 423–428. View Details
  6. The Pedagogy of Executive Education in Business Markets

    Keywords: Teaching; Higher Education; Markets; Business Ventures;

    Citation:

    Rangan, V. K., Das Narayandas, and Gerald Zaltman. "The Pedagogy of Executive Education in Business Markets." Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing (fall 1998). View Details
  7. Rethinking Market Research: Putting People Back In

    Keywords: Markets; Research;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "Rethinking Market Research: Putting People Back In." Journal of Marketing Research (JMR) 34, no. 4 (November 1997). View Details
  8. Metaphorically Speaking

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "Metaphorically Speaking." Marketing Research 8, no. 2 (summer 1996). View Details
  9. Influence Strategies in Buying Centers

    Keywords: Strategy; Power and Influence;

    Citation:

    Venkatesh, R., A. J. Kohli, and Gerald Zaltman. "Influence Strategies in Buying Centers." Journal of Marketing 59, no. 4 (October 1995): 71–82. View Details
  10. Seeing the Voice of the Customer: Metaphor-based Advertising Research

    Keywords: Customers; Advertising; Research;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and R. Coulter. "Seeing the Voice of the Customer: Metaphor-based Advertising Research." Journal of Advertising Research 35, no. 4 (July–August 1995): 35–51. View Details
  11. Factors Affecting Trust in Market Research Relationships

    Keywords: Trust; Markets; Research; Relationships;

    Citation:

    Moorman, C., R. Deshpande, and G. Zaltman. "Factors Affecting Trust in Market Research Relationships." Journal of Marketing 57, no. 1 (January, 1993): 81–101. View Details
  12. Relationships between Providers and Users of Market Research: The Dynamics of Trust within and between Organizations

    Keywords: Markets; Research; Relationships; Trust; Organizations;

    Citation:

    Moorman, C., G. Zaltman, and Rohit Deshpandé. "Relationships between Providers and Users of Market Research: The Dynamics of Trust within and between Organizations." Journal of Marketing Research (JMR) 29, no. 3 (August 1992): 314–28. View Details

Book Chapters

  1. What Do 'Really Good' Managers and 'Really Good' Researchers Want of One Another?

    Keywords: Management; Research;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Lindsay H., and Gerald Zaltman. "What Do 'Really Good' Managers and 'Really Good' Researchers Want of One Another?" In The Handbook of Marketing Research: Uses, Misuses, and Future Advances, edited by Rajiv Grover and Marco Vriens. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2006. View Details
  2. Rooting Marketing Strategy in Human Universals

    Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Human Needs;

    Citation:

    Wathieu, Luc, Yu Ivory Liu, and Gerald Zaltman. "Rooting Marketing Strategy in Human Universals." Chap. 4 in The Global Market: Developing a Strategy to Manage Across Borders, edited by John A. Quelch and Rohit Deshpandé. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2004. View Details
  3. Eliciting Mental Models through Imagery

    Keywords: Perception; Cognition and Thinking;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "Eliciting Mental Models through Imagery." Chap. 22 in The Languages of the Brain, edited by Albert M. Galaburda, Stephen M. Kosslyn, and Yves Christen. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002. View Details
  4. The Power of Metaphor

    Citation:

    Zaltman, G., and Robin Coulter. "The Power of Metaphor." In The Why of Consumption: Contemporary Perspectives on Consumer Motives, Goals and Desires, edited by S. Ratneshwar, David Glen Mick, and Cynthia Huffman. London, New York: Routledge, 2001. View Details
  5. Seeing through the Customer's Eyes with Computer Imaging

    Keywords: Technology; Perception; Customers; Computer Industry;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, G., and L. J. Schuck. "Seeing through the Customer's Eyes with Computer Imaging." In Sense and Respond: Capturing Value in the Network Era, edited by Stephen P. Bradley and Richard L. Nolan. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1998. View Details
  6. Amidword: Anthropology, Metaphors, and Cognitive Peripheral Vision

    Keywords: Cognition and Thinking; Perception;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, G. "Amidword: Anthropology, Metaphors, and Cognitive Peripheral Vision." In Contemporary Marketing and Consumer Behavior: An Anthropological Sourcebook, edited by J. F. Sherry Jr.. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1995. View Details
  7. Using the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique to Understand Brand Images

    Keywords: Brands and Branding; Research;

    Citation:

    Higie, R., and G. Zaltman. "Using the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique to Understand Brand Images." In Advances in Consumer Research. Vol. 20, edited by L. McAlister and M. Rothschild. Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research, 1993. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. The Heinz Endowments: Bringing the Arts to Life

    Keywords: Arts; Business and Community Relations; Giving and Philanthropy;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "The Heinz Endowments: Bringing the Arts to Life." Simulation and Teaching Note. Multimedia. (Multimedia Producer: Melissa Dailey; Original case copy by Grant Oliphant.) View Details
  2. Going to the Dentist: Futuredontics

    Keywords: Health Care and Treatment;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "Going to the Dentist: Futuredontics." Simulation and Teaching Note. Multimedia. (Multimedia Producer: Melissa Dailey.) View Details
  3. Privacy

    Keywords: Rights;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, Debbie Gordon, and Yoshi Fujikawa. "Privacy." Simulation and Teaching Note. Multimedia. View Details
  4. Implicit Predictors of Consumer Behavior

    An important distinction is drawn in psychology between explicit and implicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge refers to consciously held beliefs about an individual or object that often draws on the remembering of experiences in the past. In contrast, implicit knowledge refers to the cognitive associations a consumer holds between two constructs that exist outside his or her conscious awareness. Although it is possible that explicit and implicit knowledge correspond, the exciting opportunity for marketers is that often there is a discrepancy; that is, what a consumer believes explicitly may have no bearing on his or her actual behavior.

    Keywords: Forecasting and Prediction; Values and Beliefs; Knowledge Sharing; Consumer Behavior; Opportunities; Cognition and Thinking;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, Nancy Puccinelli, Kathryn A. Braun, and Fred W Mast PHD. "Implicit Predictors of Consumer Behavior." Harvard Business School Background Note 502-043, October 2001. (Revised March 2002.) View Details
  5. Strategic Use of Music in Marketing, The: A Selective Review

    Summarizes selected research on music and its impact on mood and shopping behavior, and its impact on the communication of ideas.

    Keywords: Communication Intention and Meaning; Music Entertainment; Marketing Strategy; Consumer Behavior; Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Nancy Puccinelli. "Strategic Use of Music in Marketing, The: A Selective Review." Harvard Business School Background Note 501-056, December 2000. (Revised March 2001.) View Details
  6. Dimensions of Brand Equity for Nestle Crunch Bar, The: A Research Case

    An in-depth study of consumer thoughts and feelings about a branded candy bar.

    Keywords: Customer Satisfaction; Brands and Branding; Consumer Behavior; Mathematical Methods; Food and Beverage Industry;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "Dimensions of Brand Equity for Nestle Crunch Bar, The: A Research Case." Harvard Business School Case 500-083, January 2000. View Details
  7. Mind of the Market: Introduction to Neuroscience, Primer One

    Keywords: Markets; Research; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: Introduction to Neuroscience, Primer One." Harvard Business School Case 599-001, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  8. Mind of the Market: The Tools of Cognitive Neuroscience, Primer Two

    Keywords: Marketing; Research; Cognition and Thinking;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: The Tools of Cognitive Neuroscience, Primer Two." Harvard Business School Case 599-002, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  9. Mind of the Market: Anatomical View of the Human Brain, Primer Three

    Keywords: Markets; Research; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: Anatomical View of the Human Brain, Primer Three." Harvard Business School Case 599-003, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  10. Mind of the Market: The Objectivity of Experience, Primer Four

    Keywords: Markets;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: The Objectivity of Experience, Primer Four." Harvard Business School Case 599-004, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  11. Mind of the Market: Genetics and Behavior, Primer Five

    Keywords: Markets; Research; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: Genetics and Behavior, Primer Five." Harvard Business School Case 599-005, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  12. Mind of the Market: Top Down Cognitive Processes, Primer Six

    Keywords: Markets; Research; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: Top Down Cognitive Processes, Primer Six." Harvard Business School Case 599-006, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  13. Mind of the Market: Is the Human Brain a Computer? Primer Seven

    Keywords: Markets; Research; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: Is the Human Brain a Computer? Primer Seven." Harvard Business School Case 599-007, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  14. Mind of the Market: The Emotional Brain, Primer Eight

    Keywords: Markets; Research; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: The Emotional Brain, Primer Eight." Harvard Business School Case 599-008, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  15. Mind of the Market: Constructive Memory Processes, Primer Nine

    Keywords: Markets; Research; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: Constructive Memory Processes, Primer Nine." Harvard Business School Case 599-009, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  16. Mind of the Market: Eliciting Hidden Knowledge, Primer Ten

    Keywords: Marketing; Research;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald, and Kathryn A. Braun. "Mind of the Market: Eliciting Hidden Knowledge, Primer Ten." Harvard Business School Case 599-010, December 1998. (Revised April 1999.) View Details
  17. ZMET Research Process, The

    The steps in the ZMET interview are listed and defined as well as information on using the data.

    Keywords: Research;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "ZMET Research Process, The." Harvard Business School Background Note 599-056, September 1998. View Details
  18. Human Element in Marketing Strategy,The: A Look at the Creative and Subjective Side

    Explores the human element in formulating marketing strategy. A rewritten version of an earlier note. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Employees; Marketing Strategy; Creativity; Perspective;

    Citation:

    Narayandas, Das, and Gerald Zaltman. "Human Element in Marketing Strategy,The: A Look at the Creative and Subjective Side." Harvard Business School Case 598-105, February 1998. View Details
  19. Note on Customer Behavior

    A review of selected key concepts that are useful for understanding customers. The importance of understanding customers is also discussed, along with a short description of new frontiers in the study of customer behavior.

    Keywords: Knowledge; Marketing; Consumer Behavior;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "Note on Customer Behavior." Harvard Business School Background Note 597-057, March 1997. View Details

Presentations

  1. Breaking Out of the Box: Meaning and Means

    Keywords: Attitudes; Research;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, G. "Breaking Out of the Box: Meaning and Means." Paper presented at the Association for Consumer Research Annual North American Conference, Tucson, AZ, October 01, 1996. View Details
  2. One Mega and Seven Basic Principles for Consumer Research

    Keywords: Research; Demand and Consumers;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, G. "One Mega and Seven Basic Principles for Consumer Research." In Association for Consumer Research Fellows' Award Speech. New York, October 1, 1990. View Details

Other Publications and Materials

  1. Assessing Process on Meeting MSI Priorities

    Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Research; Knowledge;

    Citation:

    Zaltman, Gerald. "Assessing Process on Meeting MSI Priorities." View Details
  2. These Caterpillars Foreshadow Great Butterflies

    Citation:

    Wathieu, Luc, and Gerald Zaltman. "These Caterpillars Foreshadow Great Butterflies." April 2002. View Details
  3. Relationships Between Providers and Users of Market Research: The Role of Personal Trust

    Keywords: Marketing; Research; Trust; Relationships;

    Citation:

    Deshpandé, Rohit, G. Zaltman, and C Moorman. "Relationships Between Providers and Users of Market Research: The Role of Personal Trust." Report, Marketing Science Institute, January 1993. View Details

    Research Summary

  1. Background

    A major theme underlying most of Gerald Zaltman's research concerns the representation of thought. This includes how managers and customers represent their thinking to others and how they represent ideas and knowledge given to them. This theme finds expression in a number of projects. A major underlying methodology for many of these projects involves the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique a unique, multidisciplinary based research tool now being used by major firms and leading academic researchers. (See ZMET Home Page).
  2. How Executives and Artists Approach Ill-Structured Problems

    An ill-structured problem is one which is not routine, has no obvious best answer, and even the nature of the problem may be unclear. Ill-structured problems tend to be particularly significant when they arise. Using ZMET, this research investigates how experienced executives and novices approach this important task. A companion study concerns how artists visualize approaches to their work which also tends to be ill-structured. It is expected that accomplished visual artists may address ill-structured tasks in ways that provide useful insights for managers.
  3. Seeing Thought

    This program of research combines the results from ZMET studies to create marketing stimuli such as advertising, retail store designs, product concepts, product design, and so forth, which are then presented to a sample of consumers whose reactions are observed using various brain imaging technologies. These techniques for measuring brain activity in response to marketing stimuli based on deep understanding of the consumer have great promise in detecting significant responses that go undetected and/or are misrepresented by existing market research methods. Gerald Zaltman is working with Professor Stephen M. Kosslyn, The Department of Psychology, Harvard University and the Mass. General Hospital.
  4. The Ownership of Deep Metaphors

    Deep metaphors are basic orienting structures of human thought. They guide in subtle and overt ways how customers and managers process information about any product, service, or activity and event. It is essential for a firm to understand deep metaphors as they are experienced in particular product markets and to know how to gain ownership of them. Gaining ownership refers to the process whereby consumers or other stakeholders automatically associate a particular deep metaphor with a brand and do so in such a way that any competitor invoking this deep metaphor unavoidably makes the 'owning' firm's brand salient.