ISBM at the Penn State Smeal College of Business – Academic Institute supporting B2B Research. Switch to the ISBM-Corporate website.

ISBM at the Penn State Smeal College of Business – Academic Institute supporting B2B Research. Switch to 

This course is for PhD Students only who are enrolled in a PhD Program at an Institute for Higher Learning

Customer Engagement Marketing


This seminar will focus on academic research related to customer engagement marketing—a firm’s deliberate effort to motivate, empower, and measure customer contributions to marketing functions.  The objective of this seminar is to provide a foundation for doctoral students interested in examining customer engagement marketing from both a theoretical and practical perspective. This seminar will help students:

  1. Understand customer engagement theories and research methods;
  2. Identify effective research approaches for studying customer engagement;
  3. Improve conceptualization, design, and implementation of your own research ideas.


The course will begin with a discussion of the evolution in theory and practice from customer relationships management to customer engagement management. It will cover substantive research on customer engagement theories as well as introduce various methods for studying engagement related constructs and phenomena. The seminar will be broken into ten sessions covering the following areas.

  1. Customer engagement theory
  2. The changing customer-firm relationship – customers as pseudo employees
  3. Measuring customer contribution to the firm –customer value beyond purchase
  4. The dark side of customer engagement – customer agency and firm vulnerability
  5. Techniques for developing research on customer engagement
    • Identifying interesting problems
    • Determining the research design that fits the research question
    • Accessing data – what it looks like and where to find it
    • Presenting rigorous evidence – publishing


Required Materials

Huff, A.S. (1999), Writing for Scholarly Publication: SAGE Publications.

The course will be offered during the Spring Semester 2022; exact dates and times to be determined.  The course consists of eight sessions of 120 minutes each. If needed, a technology session will be scheduled before the course begins.

Download a copy of the syllabus


Colleen M. Harmeling is the Persis E. Rockwood Associate Professor of Marketingin the Department of Marketing at Florida State University’s College of Business. Harmeling has taught undergraduate, graduate and doctoral marketing courses, including marketing strategy, marketing management, consumer behavior and marketing research.

Harmeling’s research focuses on engagement marketing theory and strategy with an emphasis in relationship dynamics, transformational events, customer experience design that facilitating customer engagement, relationship recovery, and brand advocacy in business-to-business, service and retail markets. Her research has appeared in Journal of Marketing, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of International Business Studies and Marketing Science Institute Working Paper Series, and has been presented at numerous marketing conferences. She has edited a book and co-authored book chapters on relationship development and customer engagement. Harmeling serves on the editorial review board for the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, and Journal of Retailing. Her work in group marketing won the 2017 Shelby D. Hunt/Harold Maynard Award for the best theory contribution to the Journal of Marketing. Her work in online engagement strategies has been funded by the Marketing Science Institute and was nominated for the Paul Root Award for the best contribution to marketing practice in Journal of Marketing. She has provided consulting and worked on collaborative research projects with firms in various industries including Emerson Electric, Belkin, Golden Lighting, Insinkerator, Wells Fargo, SC Johnson, Schneider Electric, Nature’s Bounty and World Vision. 

Prior to joining FSU’s faculty, Harmeling was a postdoctoral research fellow for the University of Washington’s Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy. Before entering academia, she worked as the community relations manager for Barnes and Noble, where she specialized in event marketing, sales management, customer relationship development and government contracting. She has additional experience working in non-profit marketing, sponsorship management and tradeshow marketing. 

Harmeling received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Southeast Missouri State University and her MBA from the University of Tampa. Her Ph.D. in marketing is from Saint Louis University.