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. Digital Marketing Strategy

    by John A. Deighton

    When the tools of marketing change, strategies change too. The focus of this course is on firms trying to navigate the transition from offline to online market-making and strategy development. Our concern is primarily with corporations that have products and services to sell, and secondarily with the challenges of developing the tools of digital marketing.

    Digital media, and in particular social media like Youtube, Facebook, Blogs, and Twitter, represent radically new tools for reaching customers, collaborating with them, building relationships, and spreading ideas virally. Paid search advertising tools like Google's Adsense make "free to consumer" a strategic option. Digital distribution channels change the relationship between manufacturers and retailers, and destabilize entire industry ecosystems, This course examines how pioneering corporations are using these tools to build digital marketing and Web branding strategies for large companies and small, and the course identifies techniques and frameworks to generalize from these pioneering practices.

    The course teaches how to use search engine marketing, social media display advertising, and mobile display advertising, with the help of a hands-on class project in which real funds are spent to achieve in-market results. Next it uses cases on viral propagation to teach some of the mechanics by which social media transmit and create persuasive content. Third, the course explores how marketing companies adopt some of the methods of digital age publishers to disintermediate traditional publishers and take content directly to their customers and prospects.

    The career focus of students taking the course is likely to include both people with an interest in Web-based entrepreneurship, but also people interested in general consumer marketing and general management careers. Given the way marketing media are evolving and patterns of consumer engagement with media are changing, our goal as a class will be to anticipate trends that, while novel and relatively unexplored today, will be mainstream in the next decade.

  2. Marketing Strategies for Profitable Growth—China

    by John A. Deighton

    Maintaining quality standards and sustaining profitable growth in China's rapidly evolving marketplace requires powerful marketing strategies that enable organizations to build and nurture long-term customer relationships. To help executives meet this challenge, this course focuses on the critical marketing components required to compete both in China and globally and explores the leading marketing practices from around the world that can be applied to create and sustain competitive advantage in Asia and beyond.