Professor Hugh Wilson
Professor of Marketing
(Marketing Group)

Hugh Wilson is Professor of Marketing at Warwick Business School. After degrees in mathematics at Oxford and computer science at Cambridge, Hugh spent some years in management roles with IBM, Xerox and NCR. He now teaches and researches on sustainable customer behaviour, purpose-led business, sustainability-oriented innovation and customer experience management, and works on these issues with companies such as Unilever and Neste.

Hugh has published in Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Retailing, Journal of Service Research and Journal of the American Statistical Society among other journals. He writes equally for practitioners, such as several articles for Harvard Business Review. His latest book is Marketing Plans (9e 2024, with M McDonald & D Chaffey). His work is influential, with over 15,000 Google Scholar citations (references to his research in the publications of other academics).

Hugh is co-chair of WBS's Sustainability Working Group, working to embed sustainability across the school's teaching, research and operations. In his previous role, Hugh initiated Cranfield University's carbon programme which has reduced the university's carbon emissions by 32% so far. Hugh is listed in the Chartered Institute of Marketing's "Guru Gallery" of "50 leading marketing thinkers alive in the world today", alongside such names as Jack Welch and Bill Gates. He has also been honoured by Tim Berners-Lee as one of the hundred "Internet Decade" individuals who had most influenced the development of e-commerce.

Research Interests

Hugh is passionate about leveraging marketing theory to achieve sustainability in business and society. He currently has four main strands to this endeavour, in collaboration with colleagues in WBS and further afield:

1. Marketing practice in purpose-led organisations. Many firms are defining a higher purpose incorporating social and environmental goals. Making that purpose a reality is hard. This theme explores what marketing practice should look like in a purpose-led organisation.

2. Changing consumer behaviour at scale. Businesses often need the help of consumers in achieving their sustainability goals. This theme explores what techniques work best for this. For example, see our Harvard Business Review article "Why our customers' social identities matter" (Champniss, Wilson & Macdonald, 2015).

3. Developing policy for sustainable lifestyles. Policy-makers need help with prioritising between multiple ideas for achieving sustainable lifestyles, from solar cells on roofs to electric cars, and with forming effective policy for high-impact ideas. This theme aims to provide frameworks for policy-makers .

4. Education in sustainable business. What works in sustainability education is a critical topic for business schools. Evaluation is required for example of a Sustainable Futures Game developed with colleagues in Cranfield and Strathclyde.

Hugh welcomes approaches from prospective PhD students who are interested in these topics. These topics suit a variety of methods: experimental research, analysis of large datasets, and qualitative research. He is also open to other research topic suggestions. Hugh also welcomes contact from people in business, government and other sectors working on these and similar sustainability challenges.