As part of the American Marketing Association's (AMA) efforts to support quality research by doctoral students, the Marketing Strategy Special Interest Group (SIG) announced five winners of their 2023 Ph.D. Student Research Awards, two of whom are doctoral students in the Area of Marketing at the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business.
Manaswini Acharya won the award for her proposal “Developing Marketing Strategies for the Metaverse: Exploring the Potential of a New Digital Frontier,” and Abhishek Nirjar won the award for his proposal “Internal Marketing as the Key Enabler of Digital Transformation of Firms.”
“This award serves as a catalyst for continued research, innovation and shaping of the future of the metaverse,” said Acharya. “I firmly believe that the Marketing Strategy SIG award provided an excellent opportunity to present my research and receive feedback from esteemed professionals in the marketing community.”
Acharya's research interests are focused on artificial intelligence and brand strategy, both aspects which are clearly reflected in her proposal.
“I am deeply passionate about exploring emerging trends and their impact on marketing practices,” she said. “The metaverse has emerged as a captivating digital frontier, with vast potential for businesses to engage with customers in new and immersive ways.”
Acharya's research comes at an almost ideal time as Apple has recently announced its augmented reality device, Vision Pro. Her research looks to study the metaverse ecosystem and help managers create strategies to target and engage an audience that exists within the metaverse.
Acharya wants to explore how the metaverse can transform various aspects of people's lives, including entertainment, education and social interactions.
“By exploring this new frontier, I hope to contribute valuable insights to the field of marketing strategy and guide businesses in harnessing the metaverse's potential for competitive advantage.”
Abhishek's research interest is rooted in marketing strategy, specifically how firms adapt and thrive in the digital age.
“Digital transformation can be a significant source of competitive advantage for a firm,” he said. “By delving into this topic, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the strategies and practices that enable organizations to navigate digital disruptions, foster employee engagement, and ultimately achieve long-term success.”
Abhishek's award has helped solidify his passion for research.
“Winning an award for research is a significant recognition of one's hard work, dedication and contribution to the field,” said Abhishek. “For me, it is a source of pride, motivation and encouragement to continue my scholarly pursuits.”
And while winning the award and gaining the recognition of their peers is a good start, both Acharya and Abhishek are already onto the next stage of their projects.
For Acharya, a big part of the next step is continuing work in the emerging space of the metaverse to establish herself as an expert in the subject. In February, Acharya had a research paper accepted in the Journal of Advertising Research and hopes to collaborate with other researchers and professionals who are studying the metaverse through a marketing lens.
Abhishek has completed collecting and is now analyzing his data. He has begun organizing and structuring the data in the hopes of drawing meaningful conclusions to his findings soon. Abhishek hopes to explore opportunities to contribute to academic journals or conferences in order to gain more feedback for his research.