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  • Writer's pictureChristina Spetzler Gregersen

Looking at the Big Picture in marketing research - An interview with EMAC president

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Tammo Bijmolt is the President of EMAC, an Associate Editor of IJRM, member of the editorial board of multiple journals and Chairman of the Department of Marketing at the University of Groningen. During this interview, Tammo shares his advice for emerging academics, insights into current research projects and his thoughts for the future of EMAC.

The Return on Product returns

Much of Tammo’s research explores online customer loyalty, online returns, and online advertising which he finds both relevant and exciting. Many of his projects are collaborations with businesses where he gets to see the real-life results of his research unfold.

Online activity is a real-life topic; you know you can explain it to your friends and family at a dinner party

A topic of interest for Tammo is the implications of online returns. In his work, he goes beyond implications for businesses and consumers and also considers the environment - especially in light of the high volume of product returns Europe is experiencing at the moment. Most European online shops offer free deliveries and returns, which is starting to affect the bottom lines for companies. For example, a company might have a promotion which leads to more sales, but more sales might also lead to more returns which are costly for the company. This might end up canceling out the financial benefit of the promotion. We also discussed interesting implications of online customer reviews. Tammo talked about how research has shown that overly positive reviews can actually be bad for business as consumers’ expectations become too high, which increases return rates, as the product cannot live up the standards expected by the consumers. There is a balance point to be reached between avoiding bad reviews and getting authentic reviews that consumers trust, such as reviews featuring real consumers trying on clothes and showcasing this on the website instead of models. Tammo is not afraid to admit that he works long hours. “That’s what it takes when you got so many good projects on your desk at once”. Currently, he says, he has around 20 projects onboard, of which around 10 are papers he will look at within the next two months.

A delegation of EMAC visits the conference host to discuss and help with numerous things that need to be arranged when organizing a conference. Typically, such a visit takes place about one year before the actual conference, here in Budapest.

EMAC conference to help emerging academics

In addition to his academic activity, Tammo is the president of EMAC (The European Marketing Academy). Tammo spoke of how he is hoping to shape the conference. “It is a strong, well-established conference” he said, with an amazing Doctoral Colloquium. He sees the conference as an umbrella for building sub-communities, through special interest groups. Such interest groups include B2B Marketing, Branding, Customer Relationship Management, Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Innovation, Quantitative Marketing, Retailing, and Service Marketing.

An important goal of the conference is to train and support doctoral students. The EMAC DC, which hosts around 60 students and is referred by Tammo as “one of the crown jewels of EMAC”. “Our doctoral consortium is all about the students. For three days, participants present their research to a team of senior researchers and receive candid and professional feedback.”

Tammo is hoping to improve the workshops at the conference both for the line bred community and for seniors. You can join some of these groups today on LinkedIn.

If you are interested in attending the EMAC, then have a look at The conference will be held in Denmark (this author’s home country) 23-26 May 2023 at Syddansk University.

“On international trips, I always bring my running shoes and go for a run in a park, in the fields, along a river, .... Here; after the Doctoral colloquium of the Italian Marketing Association, I went for a run in Southern Italy (November 2021)”


Meet Tammo Bijmolt

Tammo is a Professor of Marketing Research at the Department of Marketing, chairman of the department, and Director of the Groningen Digital Business Center. He has been Director of the research institute SOM, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. He is associate editor of the International Journal of Research in Marketing and member of the editorial board of Journal of Marketing, Journal of Retailing, and International Journal of Electronic Commerce. Tammo Bijmolt is vice-president conferences and President-elect of EMAC and lectures in the EDEN programs of EIASM and the ProDok series of the VHB in Germany.


This article was written by

Christina Spetzler Gregersen

Ph.D. candidate at Deakin University, Melbourne.



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