Funded PhD - Data / Digital Transformation of Marketing

Cranfield University

Start Date: ASAP
Duration of award: 4 years (full time)
Supervisors: Professor Stan Maklan – lead supervisor, Dr Donna Champion and Dr Benedetta Crisafulli – supervisory team
Award: Scholarship includes fees plus stipend of £14,296 per annum paid monthly

Companies are awash with data that is potentially of enormous value and now are faced with the challenges of making sense of that data and rebuilding their customer offers in consideration of this enhanced knowledge.

New business models are emerging but more importantly, marketing’s core practices are being transformed (Erevelles et al. 2016; Xu et al. 2015; Brinkler & McLellan 2014; Davenport 2006). This effect is called the datafication of marketing (business), digital transformation and big data interchangeably and talks to the need for marketing to transform its activities in light of pervasive nature of modern technology.

The research undertaken as part of a full-time PhD will focus on the emerging area of digital strategy and benefits realisation from IT (Maklan et al. 2015; Maklan et al. 2011; Maklan et al. 2005). As part of the doctoral studies, the candidate will explore what new strategies for benefits realisation are needed for successful digital transformation. The research will be transdisciplinary and it will employ quantitative and qualitative research methods, thus increasing the publishing opportunities as well as the opportunity to identify future research directions of interest to stakeholders. Due to the emerging nature of this field, the exact focus of the PhD will be determined during the first year of study and after preliminary discussions with business stakeholders.

The first year of the PhD focuses on research training at Cranfield campus.

Expected Outcomes

The results of the PhD and publication should have significant impact upon practice as well as theory and we will be looking for outputs targeted at both audiences.

Cranfield allows PhD by publication (three completed manuscripts plus synthesis thereof) and given the topical nature of the context, we urge potential researchers to consider this option rather than producing one thesis at the very end and subsequent publication.

Entry requirements

A relevant first or good second UK honours degree. Applicants should be articulate, confident and fluent in English. Evidence of excellent conceptual and writing skills is required.

There are no restrictions as to nationality.

How to apply

If you wish to apply for this research studentship, please contact (Debbie Bramwell) quoting the reference number of your scholarship (above) and you will be sent an application by e-mail. Further information please see our how to apply web pages.

The online application asks for a research proposal that addresses the current state of debate in the field, proposed research questions and research methodologies that might address these questions. As this is exploratory research in an emerging field, I am looking more at your ability to identify and map theoretical and managerial discussions in the literature and identify contributions that will have impact mostly. A detailed discussion of methodology and time frames is probably premature unless you have a very well defined question and contribution. Feel free to discuss in advance with Professor Stan Maklan at

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South East England