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AMS Review

pp 1–17 | Cite as

Complex systems: marketing’s new frontier

  • William Rand
  • Roland T. Rust
  • Min Kim
Theory/Conceptual

Abstract

Complex systems approaches are emerging as new methods that complement conventional analytical and statistical approaches for analyzing marketing phenomena. These methods can provide researchers with tools to understand and predict marketing outcomes that emerge at the aggregate level by modeling feedback between heterogeneous agents and agent interaction with various marketing environmental variables. While the benefits of complex systems approaches often come with a high computational cost, steady advances in access to better computational resources has allowed more researchers to adopt complex systems approaches as part of their portfolio of methods. In this paper, we will provide a description of the key concepts, benefits, and tools of complex systems. The goal of this work is to encourage marketing researchers and practitioners who are not familiar with these approaches to consider the adoption of these methods. We end with a discussion of the future research opportunities that this powerful methodology enables.

Keywords

Complex systems Agent-based models Network science System dynamics Chaos theory Machine learning 

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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Poole College of ManagementNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Center for Excellence in Service at the Robert H. Smith School of BusinessUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Robert H. Smith School of BusinessUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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