Toby Norman, a former PhD student at Cambridge Judge Business School (2011-2015), has won the 2015 Worshipful Company of Marketors Award for outstanding performance in marketing at the postgraduate level. The award comes with a cash prize of £1,000.
Toby’s research, entitled Does empathy improve marketing performance? The role of cognitive versus emotional empathy in high autonomy sales environments investigates how behavioural skills influence the performance of salespeople. The paper argues that behavioural abilities such as empathy play a key role in driving marketing performance. Specifically, drawing on recent neuroscience research the authors propose that a salesperson’s ability to “see” the world from a customer’s perspective (cognitive empathy) versus their ability to “feel” what a customer feels (emotional empathy) differentially influences pricing, volume, and service quality outcomes. The authors test their thesis on data from a high autonomy emerging market salesforce of 190 salespeople over an 18 month period.
Toby collected his award at a celebratory event that took place on 25 July in London. Delighted with the award he said: “It’s an honour to be selected, this has been an incredibly rewarding topic of research, with exciting real-world applications.”
Jaideep Prabhu, Professor of Marketing at Cambridge Judge Business School, nominated Toby for the award. He said:
Toby’s work is outstanding for many reasons. It examines an important and understudied phenomenon (the performance of semi-autonomous salespeople) in an important and understudied context (the rural poor in Bangladesh). It tests interesting new marketing theory (around the differential effects of cognitive versus emotional empathy on sales performance) using creative data that is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. Finally, its findings have relevance to practice, both for social enterprises and for-profit businesses, in emerging and developed economies alike.
After finishing his studies Toby has been working at Simprints, an award winning venture supported by the Accelerate Cambridge programme at Cambridge Judge’s Entrepreneurship Centre. Simprints has developed a biometric scanner that allows health care workers in developing countries to access patients’ records through the touch of a finger.
This is the fifth consecutive win for Cambridge Judge Business School. Since 2011 the prize has been awarded to CJBS alumni: Magda Hassan (PhD 2010-2014), Nawaz Imam (MBA 2012), Nanna Saito Nielsen (MBA 2011) and Elena Ion (MBA 2010).
The Worshipful Company of Marketors (previously one of the old London guilds) is a modern livery company promoting excellence in marketing, research and innovation and offering scholarships and awards.