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Using Laboratory Experimental Auctions in Marketing Research: A case study of new packaging for fresh beef. Elizabeth Hoffman, Dale J. Menkahus, Dipankar Chakarvarta, Ray A. Field, Glen D. Whipple Marketing Science , 1993 Presented by Jong Min Kim. Introduction.

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Using Laboratory Experimental Auctions in Marketing Research:A case study of new packaging for fresh beef

Elizabeth Hoffman, Dale J. Menkahus, Dipankar Chakarvarta, Ray A. Field, Glen D. Whipple

Marketing Science, 1993

Presented by Jong Min Kim

  • Introduce a new tool for use in laboratory pretest markets
  • Illustrates its application in a laboratory pretest market for vacuum-packaged retail fresh beef
  • First step in research on how laboratory experimental auctions can contribute to marketing research
laboratory experimental auction in marketing research

Allow an endogenous revelation of the prices consumers are willing to pay

yield simultaneous estimates of the # of units of the product that may be sold

Data in lab. experimental auction pertain to actual purchases of the product


Bidding mechanism does not naturally mimic how consumers reveal preference

Correspondence between the theoretical incentive compatibility of an auction mechanism and actual participant behavior

Consumers engage strategic learning strategies

Laboratory Experimental Auction in Marketing Research
incentive compatible auctions
Incentive-compatible Auctions
  • First-price, sealed-bid auction
    • The highest bidder purchases the object and pays his bid price
  • Dutch auction
    • The price starts out very high and is progressively lowered until one bidder signals he will purchase
  • English auction
    • Bidder keep raising the price until only one bidder is left, that bidder pays marginally more than the second-highest bidder’s last bid
  • Vickrey auction (uniform price, first-rejected bid auction)
    • second-price, sealed-bid auction = English auction
    • incentive-compatible
  • English clock auction
incentive compatible auctions1
Incentive-compatible Auctions
  • Do bidders bid their true values in incentive-compatible auctions?
    • The order of bids may very well represent the order of true vales (Coursey & Smith, 1984)
background on the product
Background on the Product
  • The market for the fresh beef
    • Differentiation in PACKAGING
    • Vaccum-skin packaging vs. overwrapped styrofoam tray
      • VS packaged beef has not sold well in limited supermarket tests at comparable prices
    • Basic goal of the research
      • determine the impact of information pertaining to the benefits of VS packaging on the consumer values
experimental design
Experimental Design
  • 8 participants in each session
  • Auction mechanism
    • Fifth-price, sealed-bid auction, with specific instruction, to sell 4 packages of beef to four different consumers
    • 4 trials and six purchase auctions
  • 3 basic experimental treatments
    • No information about packaging
    • With information-Discussion of the benefits of new packaging was included in instruction
    • With information and Demonstration
confounding factors
Confounding factors
  • Sequence of purchase auctions
  • Monitors
  • Time of day
  • Location
  • Order of presentation
  • Laboratory experimental auctions can provide information useful to marketing professionals (particularly when incorporated in a research program with other traditional techniques)
  • The challenge is to minimize both the incidence and impact of strategic behavior of bidders

Improve the behavioral properties of theoretically incentive-compatibility auctions

  • By using terminology that deemphasizes strategic behavior
  • By providing clear and concise explanations of the incentive compatibility rationale
  • By allowing subjects the opportunity to learn
future research
Future Research
  • Direct comparison between an incentive-compatible laboratory experimental auction & the other established laboratory pretest market model
  • Use of auctions in determining efficacy of potential advertising campaigns
  • This paper focuses more on illustration of the methodology - the specific results of the experiment were dealt less important
  • Problems regarding the revelation of true value still remain
  • Opens a way for implementing new methods, while contributing to marketing research