John A. Deighton

Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration (Leave of Absence)

John Deighton is the Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is an authority on consumer behavior and marketing, with a focus on digital and direct marketing. He initiated and has led the HBS Executive Education program in digital marketing and taught the elective MBA course, Digital Marketing Strategy.

His research on marketing management and consumer behavior has been published in a variety of journals including the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Marketing, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and the Harvard Business Review. His research has also received a number of commendations, including the American Marketing Association’s Best Article Award for an article in the Journal of Marketing and an honorable mention from the Journal of interactive Marketing. He received the European Case Clearing House Award in Marketing (2012), the Edward N. Mayer, Jr. Award for Education Leadership (2011), the Direct Marketing Education Foundation Robert B. Clarke Outstanding Educator Award (2002), and the University of Chicago's Hillel J. Einhorn Excellence in Teaching Award (1995). He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Tokyo, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, and the Judge School of Business at Cambridge University.

He is the immediate past editor of the Journal of Consumer Research, a leading outlet for scholarly research on consumer behavior, and was the founding co-editor of the Journal of Interactive Marketing, which reports academic research on marketing and the Internet. He is the immediate past Executive Director of the Marketing Science Institute, a member of the Chairman’s Advisory Council of Marketing Edge, and a Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He has been with HBS since 1994 and received the Greenhill Award for outstanding service to the school.

Prior to joining HBS, he was on the faculties of the University of Chicago and the Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth College). He has a Ph.D. in Marketing from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from the University of Cape Town. He also has a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Natal. His applied research includes consulting with a number of U.S and international corporations.

  1. The Value of Data

    Professor Deighton was the lead author on a new study entitled "The Value of Data: Consequences for Insight, Innovation, and Efficiency in the U.S. Economy".  The study investigates the amount of incremental value data-driven marketing contributes to the U.S. economy and also estimates the proportion of the value that is accounted for by the flow or transfer of data among firms.  For more information or to download the study click here.
  2. New Winners & Losers in the Internet Economy

    In a stressed US economy, employment in the Internet ecosystem is growing at an impressive rate, with small companies especially benefiting, according to a new study by Professor John A. Deighton and research associate Leora D. Kornfeld.
  3. Adding Bricks to Clicks

    The authors propose a conceptual framework to explain whether and when the introduction of a new retail store channel helps or hurts sales in existing direct channels. A conceptual framework separates short- and long-term effects by analyzing the capabilities of a channel that help consumers accomplish their shopping goals. To test the theory, the authors analyze a unique data set from a high-end retailer using matching methods. The authors study the introduction of a retail store and find evidence of cross-channel cannibalization and synergy. The presence of a retail store decreases sales in the catalog but not the Internet channel in the short run but increases sales in both direct channels over time. Following the opening of the store, more first-time customers begin purchasing in the direct channels. These results suggest that adding a retail store to direct channels yields different results from adding an Internet channel to a retail store channel, as previous research has indicated.

    Journal of Marketing, May 2012, Vol. 76, No. 3: pp. 96-111
  4. United Breaks Guitars

    When social media propagate a complaint about poor customer service, an international media event ensues. How do viral videos spread and what can firms do about them? This case dissects an incident in which a disgruntled customer used YouTube and Twitter to spread a music video detailing United's mishandling of his $3,500 guitar and the company's subsequent refusal to compensate him. The song was called "United Breaks Guitars." Within one week it received 3 million views and mainstream news coverage followed, with CNN, The Wall Street Journal, BBC, the CBS Morning Show, and many other print and electronic outlets picking up on the story. The mechanics of viral propagation are uncovered and the limited opportunities for response by the firm are revealed. The case supports the notion of the Internet as an insurgent medium, better at attack than at defense.