This winter, Professor of Marketing Luc Wathieu received the Best Paper Award in marketing, well-being, and health care at the 2018 American Marketing Association Winter Academic Conference. Wathieu was recognized for his research on “Demand for Medical and Genetic Testing: The Role of Anticipated Emotions and Probability Distortion,” which he conducted with Jeeva Somasundaram from the National University of Singapore.

The conference took place in New Orleans from February 23 to 25 and focused on new domains where marketing is becoming more critical.

“Well-being and health care are important concerns in people’s lives,” said Wathieu. “Consumer empowerment and marketing are increasingly relevant for organizations that address these needs.”

In response to the rise of direct-to-consumer medical and genetic testing companies such as 23andMe, Ancestrydna.com, and Helix.com, Wathieu’s paper explores reasons why patients might want to undertake testing without their doctor’s prescription. He argues that patients are prone to seek out testing for worrisome diseases that are too improbable and hard to treat to cause a doctor’s investigation. Then, accounting for reassurance as a driver of the demand for testing, Wathieu’s research identifies key marketing decisions that should boost demand for direct-to-consumer testing offerings.