Roland Rust

Roland T. Rust is Distinguished University Professor and David Bruce Smith Chair in Marketing at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where he is founder and Executive Director of two research centers: the Center for Excellence in Service and the Center for Complexity in Business.

Should the NFL Worry As Super Bowl Ad Buying Lags?

Fox was unexpectedly scrambling this week to sell the last remaining in-game commercial spots for the Feb. 5 matchup between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. Typically, 90 percent of the commercial airtime is sold by October, as advertisers look to stage a presence during one of the year's most-watched television events. This year, however, Fox didn't hit that benchmark until December. Is the lag a harbinger for the league and its broadcast partners? Three experts at the Smith School of Business offer a range of explanations. Read more...

Stunt Marketing or No, Domino’s Has Refurbished its Brand

Last week, Domino's Pizza delivered a pizza by reindeer in Japan. And before that, it started delivering pies by drone in New Zealand. Neither method is likely to become a mainstay delivery method for the Michigan-based pizza giant, but experts say that both demonstrate its willingness to adapt, to take some chances and to try a few gimmicks. The onetime target of late-night talk show jokes has stoked a comeback by focusing on its niche as a delivery innovator, with an Apple Watch app and a "Tweet a Pizza" system that lets customers order pizza by way of emoji. Read more...

No-Frills, Not Even a Carry-On: Would You Fly Basic Class?

United Airlines is the latest major U.S. airline to unveil a new price point for budget travelers – basic economy – a flight with so few perks its critics have dubbed it the "misery class." You’ll pay a reduced fare – basic economy is aimed at helping United steal back share from low-cost competitors – but, in exchange, you’ll be the last passengers to board, you’ll agree to whatever automated seat assignment you’re given at check-in (even if it means not sitting with your travel companions), and you won’t dare use the overhead storage compartments. It might be just the ticket for airlines, and for flexible travelers whose chief concern is price, says Smith School Professor Roland Rust. But what will it mean for United's brand? Read more...

Feature Fatigue Creeps As Apple Targets Fitbit

The Fitbit-led fitness wearable market has been growing worldwide by more than 65 percent a year, and Apple is looking to gain a piece of the action. It’s been highlighting the fitness functionalities in its forthcoming Series 2 Watch. But beware of “feature fatigue,” a term coined at the Smith School in a 2006 study co-authored by marketing professor Roland Rust. The concept is based on the notion that, while increasing the number of features increases a product’s appeal, too many features can make a product overwhelming. Read more...

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