Associate Professor Barbara Briers

Barbara Biers
  • Name: Barbara Briers 
  • Position:Associate Professor of Marketing
  • Field of expertise: Consumer Behavior

“The Master’s program in Marketing Research combines methodological expertise in data intelligence with conceptual rigor in marketing knowledge applied to real business problems. This combination of advanced methodology courses with a solid theoretical background I consider to be the best equipment for a university Master’s degree.”


Barbara Briers' answers to the following questions:


What is your background?

I obtained my PhD in business administration at the University of Leuven (Belgium) with a PhD thesis on the marketing of cooperative behavior. My research concerns social marketing and cooperative behavior, social influences such as similarity, the influence of financial resources and fiscal redistribution on consumption behavior, and environmental influences on food consumption.

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Why does this field of expertise interest you?

Consumer behavior and decision making are ubiquitous: the food we buy, cook, and consume, the clothes we buy and express our identity with, the possessions we strive for and cherish, the friends we choose and how we communicate, our romantic lives and how we spend our leisure time …  

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What is interesting about the Master’s program?

The Master’s program in Marketing Analytics combines methodological expertise in data intelligence with conceptual rigor in marketing knowledge applied to real business problems. This combination of advanced methodology courses with a solid theoretical background I consider to be the best equipment for a university Master’s degree. 

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Which courses do you teach and what do they entail?

In the Master I teach the course Experimental Research: The main instrument of research in areas such as consumer behavior or social psychology is experimental research. An experiment enables a researcher to test a causal relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable by manipulating the independent variable. Experiments are usually performed in an environment that permits a high degree of control of nuisance variables. Such an environment rarely duplicates real-life situations but, in combination with other methods, an experiment is an important tool for obtaining knowledge. Trying to find evidence for causality distinguishes an experiment from other research strategies, which is essential to understand when you conduct business research yourself or judge research reports (even when you read the newspaper!).

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What are the future prospects for students?

Personally, I think that in marketing an even larger focus will be put on data intelligence. With the rise of the social media, the challenge will be how to investigate and interpret the enormous supply of available datasets. As a consequence, the challenge to formulate and implement meaningful strategies (in response to data analysis) will become even more difficult. The risk of putting too much emphasis on data analysis may lead to a smaller focus on conceptual rigor. Students do not always see the immediate benefits of acquiring theoretical knowledge. However, really understanding what it is that you are measuring is equally important to learning how to measure it.

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Why should a student choose a Master in marketing at Tilburg University?

Simply this: Marketing in Tilburg is leading in our field. We have been number one in Europe for a long time now and have top core researchers who are very eager to share their methodological expertise and theoretical insights with a new generation of motivated students. 

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