Re­search pro­file of the Chair of Mar­ket­ing and Di­git­al Trans­form­a­tion

The Chair of Marketing and Digital Transformation, conducts research into relationship marketing. Relationship marketing has become a standard in marketing research and practice over the last few decades and deals with the activities of companies that serve to establish, develop and maintain successful relationships with customers and other stakeholders. Our overarching research interest is to better understand the effects of relationship marketing instruments and to derive recommendations for their optimal use. In terms of a comprehensive perspective, we systematically analyse why and under what conditions both intended positive and unintended negative relationship marketing effects occur. Our research focuses on the many opportunities and challenges of digital transformation for customer relationships.

In terms of a holistic approach, we analyse customer relationships from three different perspectives in our research projects:

  • Research projects that focus on the micro level essentially look at the dyadic relationship between a customer and a company.
  • Research projects that adopt a meso perspective take into account the fact that companies maintain customer relationships with numerous customers, who in turn are also networked with each other and also evaluate their own customer relationships against the background of the observed customer relationships of others.
  • Research projects that take a macro perspective look at the totality of customer relationships in a market and how they are linked to and influenced by stakeholders.

Our research has four characteristic features: it is theory-based, quantitative-empirical, practice-orientated and takes place within a strong international network:

  • Theoretically, a behavioural science frame of reference is applied in the research projects.
  • We have strong methodological expertise in the investigation of causal relationships using experimental designs in laboratory and field environments; we also focus on matching methods.
  • Our research projects focus on the management relevance of the problem under consideration and the development of concrete recommendations for action for companies and their decision-makers.
  • We also have a broad network of national and international research partners. For example, Prof Dr Lena Steinhoff is a Research Fellow of the Sales & Marketing Strategy (SAMS) Institute, which promotes networking and cooperation between marketing research and practice.

Se­lec­ted pub­lic­a­tions


  • Eggert, A.; Steinhoff, L.; Witte, C. (2019). Gift Purchases as Catalysts for Strengthening Customer-Brand Relationships, Journal of Marketing, 83 (5), 115-132 [Link].


  • Steinhoff, L.; Martin, K. D. (2023). Putting Data Privacy Regulation into Action: The Differential Capabilities of Service Frontline Interfaces, Journal of Service Research, 26 (3), 330-350. [Link]
  • Henderson, C. M.; Steinhoff, L.; Harmeling, C. M.; Palmatier, R. W. (2021). Customer Inertia Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 49 (2), 350-373 [Link].
  • Kim, J. J.; Steinhoff, L.; Palmatier, R. W. (2021). An Emerging Theory of Loyalty Programme Dynamics, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 49 (1), 71-95 [Finalist 2021 JAMS Best Paper Award] [Link]
  • Martin, K. D.; Kim, J. J.; Palmatier, R. W.; Steinhoff, L.; Stewart, D. W.; Walker, B. A.; Wang, Y.; Weaven, S. K. (2020). Data Privacy in Retail, Journal of Retailing, 96 (4), 474-489 [Winner 2021 Davidson Award] [Link]
  • Steinhoff, L.; Arli, D.; Weaven, S.; Kozlenkova, I. V. (2019). Online Relationship Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 47 (3), 369-393. [Finalist 2019 JAMS Best Paper Award] [Link]
  • Steinhoff, L.; Palmatier, R. W. (2016). Understanding Loyalty Programme Effectiveness: Managing Target and Bystander Effects, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44 (1), 88-107 [Link].
  • Eggert, A.; Steinhoff, L.; Garnefeld, I. (2015). Managing the Bright and Dark Sides of Status Endowment in Hierarchical Loyalty Programmes, Journal of Service Research, 18 (2), 210-228 [Link].