Research - 17.05.2021 - 00:00 

New Institute for Marketing and Customer Insight (IMC-HSG)

Owing to a reorientation of part of the Institute for Customer Insight (formerly ICI-HSG) in the direction of mobility research, the field of consumer behaviour was re-attached to the Institute of Marketing (formerly IfM-HSG), and the new Institute for Marketing and Customer Insight (IMC-HSG) was established on 1 April 2021.

17 May 2021. The field of marketing and consumer behaviour represents one of the three core disciplines of business administration and constitutes one of the most significant departments at almost every business school or economic faculty. Like all the other disciplines of business administration, marketing and consumer behaviour is undergoing an epoch-making social change, particularly as a consequence of digitalisation and globalisation, which is why its repositioning within the institute landscape would appear to make sense.

In 1957, the Research Center for Commerce was established at the then St.Gallen Commercial College. This was renamed Research Institute for Distribution and Commerce in 1967, which in turn was renamed the Institute of Marketing and Commerce. It was out of this institute that in 2009, the Institute of Marketing, the Institute for Customer Insight and the Institute of Retail Management emerged.

IMC-HSG combines the strong points of its predecessor institutes ICI-HSG and IfM-HSG

Most recently, part of the Institute for Customer Insight reoriented itself in the direction of mobility research. Consequently it was decided to re-attach the field of consumer behaviour to marketing and establish a joint Institute for Marketing and Customer Insight. This new institute combines the strong points of its two predecessor institutes and thus creates optimal conditions for it to be able to deliver top performance in all academic disciplines – basic research, transfer research, teaching and executive education.

The management of the new institute consists of Prof. Dr. Johanna Gollnhofer, Prof. Dr. Sven Reinecke and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Torsten Tomczak, supported by Prof. Dr. Marcus Schögel.


The vision of the Institute for Marketing and Customer Insight is:

“We are one of Europe’s leading marketing research institutes, which

  1. generates relevant knowledge in the fields of marketing management and customer insight, and
  2. distributes this knowledge to the relevant stakeholders (students in basic education and in executive education, as well as executives in practice) with the help of innovative formats.”

Guiding principles of the Institute’s work

In order to attain these objectives, the following guiding principles were defined for the Institute’s work:

  1. Customers, companies, politics and society as stakeholders: We make scientific contributions which create sustainable benefit for customers, companies, as well as for politics and society.
  2. Integrative market orientation – from insight to impact: The starting point of our research is constituted by relevant challenges in the reality of marketing and of customers. We conceive of marketing as corporate management that is market-oriented and in line with the market, combined with extensive customer orientation. We pursue an integrative orientation which focuses on issues and is suitable for the solution of problems.
  3. Innovation in knowledge transfer: We develop innovations in the communication of knowledge. This concerns teaching in both basic university education and executive education. We strive to combine learning processes of academia and practice, as well as of teachers and learners.
  4. Promotion of women: We make particular efforts to promote the academic careers of women in the discipline of marketing.
  5. Entrepreneurship: Our Institute is managed entrepreneurially: the project portfolio is intended to be productive in terms of content and commercially successful, i.e. have an impact on the markets concerned.

Synergies are also created by the fact that the Institute recently took charge of the newly oriented Master’s programme in Marketing Management in the HSG’s university teaching

Executive education

The backbone of the Institute for Marketing and Consumer Insight is a strong executive education. In the fields of marketing, communication and sales, three CAS are available at present:

  • Marketing Management (CAS)
  • Sales Management (CAS)
  • Communication & Management (CAS)

These can be combined into the two DAS: the HSG’s Marketing Executive Diploma and the HSG’s Sales Executive Diploma. Furthermore, the Institute offers numerous brief seminars (Key Account Management, Industrial Goods Marketing, the Digital Marketing Academy and Strategic Healthcare Marketing). These courses are complemented by a CAS for purchasing managers.

Besides its open seminars, the Institute of Marketing has successfully run numerous in-house executive education courses in marketing and sales with leading companies for years.

Marketing Review St.Gallen

The Marketing Review St.Gallen (formerly Thexis) has pursued the aim of promoting an exchange between theory and practice in marketing for more than three decades. The journal appears six times a year and has a circulation of approx. 3,000 – besides its regular subscribers in the German-speaking area (university libraries, companies, HSG alumni, marketing executives), the journal is also read by members of the professional association Swiss Marketing in Switzerland. All the specialist papers that are submitted are subjected to a double-blind process: each paper is anonymised to be assessed by an academic and an executive from corporate practice.

The Institute for Marketing and Customer Insight is one of the oldest institutes at the University of St.Gallen and is correspondingly steeped in tradition. In the course of the  reorientation of the research landscape, the Institute’s Executive Committee decided to earmark an amount of CHF 1.2m for the promotion of basic research at the University of St.Gallen. This money will be used to co-fund an assistant professorship at the HSG and to provide substantial research resources for a new Institute for Behavioral Science and Technology, which will be set up as a spin-off of the Institute of Marketing.

With the realignment of the Institute for Marketing & Customer Insight, the University of St.Gallen is convinced that it will be able to develop into a globally leading academic institution in the field of marketing and consumer behaviour which will enjoy the highest degree of recognition for its contributions in academia, in practice, in politics and in society in order to master the challenges of a sustainable development of companies, the economy and society.

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