Duncan Simester

Nanyang Technological University Professor,
Professor of Marketing, MIT Sloan School of Management


Duncan Simester Duncan Simester investigates retail pricing and how customers form inferences about competitive prices from common marketing cues such as sale signs, price endings, installment billing offers, and credit card logos. Simester also investigates how operations research techniques can be used to optimize marketing decisions. His current work explores the long-term costs of stockouts, the long-term impact of promotion decisions, dynamic catalog mailing decisions, and adaptive techniques for the optimal design of pricing and product decisions. Other work investigates the allocation of ownership in channel relationships, and the adaptive design of market research instruments. His research is often inter-disciplinary in nature, using methodologies developed in economics or operations research to make contributions to the academic literature. The research relies heavily on industry participation, and includes many large-scale field tests conducted with a variety of direct marketing companies and other retail firms.

Faculty Media

  • AMA honors MIT Sloan Executive Education faculty for "Harbingers of Failure"

    In their paper, Simester and Tucker revealed that some consumers have an unerring knack for buying “flop” products—that is, these “harbingers of failure” tend to repeatedly purchase new items that...

  • [Innovation@Work Webinar] Understanding the Customer Decision Process: Why Good Products Fail

    MIT Sloan Professor Duncan Simester discusses the customer evaluation process of products and services, as well the role of branding in the consumer decision process, and how customers make...

  • [Innovation@Work Blog] Beware the Negative Review

    A recent study by MIT Sloan Professor Duncan Simester and Eric T. Anderson of Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University, found that approximately 5% of product reviews on a large...

  • Duncan Simester on the ELLE International Fashion and Luxury Management Program

    The fashion and luxury industry is facing historic disruption as a result of big data, digitalization, and social media. Success in this industry now requires new strategies and adaptable,...

  • Credit Cards Encourage Extra Spending as the Cash Habit Fades Away

    A host of economic and social science research suggests that consumers tend to spend more using plastic than they ever would with actual cash.

  • Why Great New Products Fail

    Many innovative new products don’t succeed in the marketplace. One common reason: Companies don’t focus enough on understanding how customers evaluate products and make purchase decisions.

  • Are You a “Harbinger of Failure”?

    Study shows some consumers have an unerring knack for buying unpopular products.

  • Run Field Experiments to Make Sense of Your Big Data

    Making marketing decisions based on an analysis of Big Data can be risky if not done properly, because data seldom reveal the causal links between correlated events.

  • Duncan Simester: The Perils of Execution-Style Thinking

    “Why do managers spend so little time thinking?” asks Duncan Simester, NTU Professor of Marketing at MIT Sloan. “The problem is a relentless focus on execution."

  • Why You Should Ignore Yelp Reviews

    Article about Yelp, a website that allows users to rate and review all kinds of service businesses, from restaurants to moving companies to churches.


Contact Information

Phone: 617-258-0679
Fax: 617-258-7579
Email: simester@mit.edu
Website: http://web.mit.edu/simester/Public/
Support Staff

Understanding the Customer Decision Process: Why Good Products Fail
Learn how customers evaluate whether a product or service creates value.