Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business, University of Missouri

MU marketing professor wins international lifetime achievement award

University of Missouri marketing Professor Murali Mantrala has received a prestigious international lifetime achievement award for his research. The focal points of Mantrala's research have been marketing resources allocation and sales force management.

Mantrala, the Sam M. Walton Distinguished Professor of Marketing at the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business, is scheduled to accept the award at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's annual meeting slated for June 21-23 in Berlin, Germany. Financed primarily by the German federal government, the Humboldt Research Award aims to encourage collaboration between internationally recognized academics from throughout the world and their German colleagues. The award includes a cash prize of 60,000 euros, or roughly $75,000.

Mantrala plans to use the prize money to further his research in Germany this summer and while on research leave next fall. "I'm honored and excited to receive an international prize that will allow me to start work almost immediately on an innovative research project with my German colleagues," Mantrala said.

Before joining the MU business college in 2003, Mantrala, who received his doctorate in marketing from Northwestern University in Illinois, worked for 12 years at the University of Florida and for another four years as a marketing and sales consultant. Mantrala was nominated for the Humboldt Research Award by University of Kiel marketing Professor Sönke Albers and University of Münster marketing Professor Manfred Krafft, both longtime German research associates with Mantrala.

Mantrala, who said his research has a practical bent that reflects his own business experience, is well known for his work on marketing resource allocation. His work brought together an array of research to conclude that marketing budgets would be better spent if company decision makers took into account data from smaller markets-called submarkets-rather than determining the budget based on overall corporate marketing information. Mantrala also has developed a methodology for setting incentive plans that improve sales force time allocation decisions and productivity.

Srinivasan Ratneshwar, chair of the Trulaske College of Business marketing department, said he is "thrilled" that Mantrala has been selected for the Humboldt award. "The Trulaske College devotes considerable resources to fostering faculty research, which is one of our strategic priorities," Ratneshwar said. "It is therefore very gratifying when a member of our faculty gets international recognition for research quality and productivity."

Mantrala hopes to convert that recognition into groundbreaking research on the impact Internet technologies have had on business-to-business sales force management. Working with Albers and other German academics, Mantrala proposes to systematically document business-to-business sales force management developments during the last decade by conducting large-scale surveys in both the United States and Germany. "We want to do something really different and impactful in shaping future research in our field," Mantrala said.