“I want to give marketing a stronger voice in the boardroom”

In April, Alexander Himme was appointed Assistant Professor of Marketing. What are his areas of expertise, why did he join us and what makes him tick?

Alexander’s research is focused on two related areas: (1) marketing performance management or marketing accountability and (2) brand valuation and brand management. “Marketing performance management seeks to objectively and quantitatively measure the return on marketing investment. Whether it’s advertising campaigns or the addition of a new marketing channel, marketeers believe these initiatives are important and they have a gut feeling that these will lead to better results. But we need hard financial metrics to fully evaluate an initiative’s success,” Alexander explains. “As for brand valuation, I try to develop measures to quantify a brand’s financial value. We all acknowledge the importance of a brand, but it’s an intangible asset, and while various approaches exist to determine its value, none so far has proven entirely satisfactory.”

Language CEOs and CFOs relate to

In marketing as well as in accounting, the value of intangible assets in general, and global brands in particular, is a hot topic indeed. At the same time, marketing has somehow lost its influence in the board room. “This is partly due to the fact that in times of economic crisis marketing budgets are among the first to come under pressure. Through my research I want to give marketing a stronger voice. If we can show that marketing has an impact on financial metrics, such as shareholder value, cost of capital or cash flow, then we’re talking a language CEOs and CFOs understand. It will then give marketeers the necessary arguments to counter, or at least discuss, budget cuts. It’s not easy for C-level executives to understand the importance of brand image, unless you can translate it into financial metrics,” he says, adding: “I hope to be able to transfer this expertise to our students, so that they in turn can ensure it gets embedded in companies.”

Research at interfaces

Alexander joined Vlerick coming from the University of Cologne. It seems our motto “Enjoy change” struck a chord: “I was looking for new opportunities and challenges,” he says, smiling. “And aside from its excellent reputation, Vlerick’s approach to teaching and research appealed to me. My research is at the interface of marketing and accounting. I love to work at cross-disciplinary interfaces and so do faculty and researchers at Vlerick. I’m looking forward to working together with colleagues from the marketing, accounting and finance areas. There are many opportunities for collaboration!”

Never give up

When asked what makes him tick, Alexander answers: “You should never give up. Obviously, as a researcher, it’s my ambition to have my work published in top-class journals. But when, for whatever reason, I get rejected, I always try to see this as a suggestion for improvement. You should try to see the positive side of the situation and learn from it, because in the end all will work out.”


  • Assistant Professor in Marketing at the University of Cologne, Germany (2011-2014)
  • Visiting Scholar at the Anderson School of Management, UCLA, California, USA (2012)
  • Visiting Scholar at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, California, USA (2011)
  • Assistant Professor in Marketing at the University of Passau, Germany (2008-2011)
  • Ph.D. in Marketing and Management Accounting at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany (2008)
  • Research Assistant, Management Accounting at the Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany (2003-2008)

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