Essays on marketing information disclosure

Date of Award

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Scott Fay

Subject Categories



This dissertation consists of two chapters regarding marketing information disclosure. The first chapter empirically examines firms' voluntary disclosure of marketing information in their communications to the public, namely, in the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) section of their 10-K filings. Although there are clear standards for what financial information public firms must disclose, marketing information disclosure is voluntary, in that each firm's management team decides not only whether to disclose marketing-related information but also how much and which particular information to disclose. However, little is known about the value of voluntary marketing information disclosure. Indeed, the incentive for firms to strategically disclose marketing information in an effort to attain a more positive assessment of their future prospects leads to a series of managerially relevant but unanswered questions. To address these questions, I assemble a custom data set containing structured (i.e., numerical) and unstructured (i.e., textual) data from different sources. The sample is sufficiently large and comprehensive in that it includes 26,572 MD&A sections disclosed by 4,999 public firms between fiscal years 2004 and 2013. I find that marketing information disclosure is fairly prevalent across industries. More importantly, I find a highly significant and positive relationship between marketing information and firm value. In addition, I find that firm size moderates the impact of marketing information on firm value, with this impact increasing in accordance with firm size. Somewhat surprisingly, I find a large, positive effect from “hidden” marketing information, suggesting that the marketing information not explicitly revealed in the MD&A section (e.g., proprietary information) can be even more important than what is revealed. Overall, this study provides important new insights for policy makers, firms, and individuals (e.g., analysts, investors).

The second chapter explores the relationship between managers’ perceived competition and advertising investment. Using an innovative measure that is based on firms’ discussions of competition in their 10-K filings to proxy for managers’ perceived competition, I find a J-shaped relationship between managers’ perception of the intensity of market competition and the firms’ advertising investment in the next year. Further, I show that this curvilinear relationship is moderated by macroeconomic conditions. In particular, economic contractions reinforce the J-shaped relationship. Overall, this research contributes to the marketing-finance literature by identifying a new determinant of advertising investment (namely, managers’ perception of competition), providing a more nuanced perspective on the competition-investment relationship, and highlighting the moderating role played by business cycles. Moreover, my study illustrates that unstructured information disclosed by public firms can be translated into valuable insights.


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