John A. Deighton

Baker Foundation Professor, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus

John Deighton is Baker Foundation 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 is currently developing course material on Big Data in Marketing, and previously initiated and  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, the Judge School of Business at Cambridge University and the Said Business School at Oxford University.

He is a 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 a 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. Personal Data in Marketing

    by John A. Deighton

    Between 10% and 20% of all marketing activity in the United States, and a smaller proportion internationally, relies on data abut individuals, whether personally identifying or pseudonomized. These data flow across a system of incumbent and emerging firms operating in a sense as an industriy whose raw material is information about people and whose output is efficient matching of sellers to buyers.  This research project is concerned with questions of public policy and private strategy. The research investigates the industry's value chain, its sub-structures, its pattern of evolution, and its future.  It considers regulation and legislation, and will examine the comparative effects of regulatory regimes.

    Keywords: data; personal data; information technology; industry structure; marketing;

  2. Anonymity and Identity

    by John A. Deighton

    In most consumer markets, consumers are accustomed to operating in relative anonymity. A complex social adjustment is occurring as people realize that anonymity is often no longer their default condition - it must be sought and in some cases bought. New conceptions of privacy are being constructed by processes of public policymaking and marketplace negotiation in settings that range from healthcare to security in air travel to email spam. This research is building a conceptual framework and empirical evidence on consumer preferences for anonymity and identity.

    Keywords: privacy; anonymity;

  3. Social Media and Their Consequences

    by John A. Deighton

    Social media have had negative consequences for entertainment industries such as music and motion pictures, but they have had positive implications too. This project is concerned with one aspect of these social media effects: changes in the process by which talented people achieve individual success. It investigates how people rise to celebrity when they cannot or chose not to rely on traditional media entertainment industry infrastructures. It explores how, and to what extent, a more populist fame-making process is enabled. It studies the balance between celebrity manufactured for us, and celebrity manufactured by us.

    Keywords: entertainment; social media;