Liye Ma

Liye Ma teaches the undergraduate Marketing Research Methods class and the Data Science class in the MS Marketing Analytics program. His research focuses on the dynamic interactions of firms and consumers on Internet, social media, and mobile platforms. His work has been published in various journals including Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, and Information Systems Research. He joined the Marketing Department in Fall 2011 after obtaining the Ph.D. degree from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.

Getting You To Pay in a Freemium World

You’ve seen the promotional offers. “Try before you buy.” Your first week, your first month or first audiobook is free.

The companies who offer these trial freebies, embracing the so-called freemium business model, do so with the hope that they will convert you into a full-fledged paying customer. And in the digital economy, there are a lot of companies embracing free – Spotify, Dropbox, Hulu and The New York Times are examples.

The Freemium Economy: How Companies Can Get You To Pay Up

What could be better than free? For companies with a freemium business model – Spotify, Dropbox, Hulu and The New York Times are notable examples – it’s a key question. Can a company increase its number of paying customers while offering free version of its products? And if so, how? Researchers at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business say they have mapped a strategy. Working with the National Academies Press, an online bookseller, the researchers conducted a field experiment to determine how companies might improve their sales of premium products, even while offering free ones. "If the free version OK, how do you get the customer to justify paying for more?" asks Smith School marketing professor P.K. Kannan. That’s where the price strategy comes into play. Read more...

How to Deal With That Irate Tweeting Customer

Twitter can be a brutal world for customer-service workers, since complaints get aired not just with great vitriol but also very publicly. All companies take virtual punches to the gut, and they have to decide how to respond.  "I am so sick of @ATT not working!" "Sitting on the Tarmac at DFW waiting for a gate! Late again #americanairlines." New research from Smith School professor Liye Ma finds that intervening to help people who complain on Twitter is a double-edged sword. It improves the relationship with the firm but also makes that person more likely to complain in the future. Read more...

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