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Dr ir ing. Frans J.H.M. Verhees
Dr Verhees’ goal is to help firms create, deliver, communicate and appropriate customer value.
The mission of agriculture and the food industry is to feed the world in a sustainable way. This is possible only when food and agribusiness offers good prospects for the brightest and most ambitious employees and entrepreneurs. However, the share of food and agribusiness in economies is constantly declining. Consequently it is hard for some parts of the food and agribusiness complex to be profitable, attract resources (including employees) and invest in sustainability.
Dr Verhees is a strong proponent of a market orientation, which holds that “the key to achieving organizational goals is being more effective than competitors in creating, delivering, and communicating superior customer value to your target markets” However, appropriating value also is crucial, because it is the incentive to invest.
Frans Verhees grew-up on his parent’s farm and was educated first as an agronomist. During his education he tried to find alternatives to raise the prospects for his parent’s farm. Second he was educated as an agricultural economist, specializing in agricultural marketing. Third, he completed his PhD on ‘market oriented product innovation is small firms’ with a special interest in Dutch farmers and horticulturalists. Finally, he started as an assistant professor, teaching marketing courses at various levels (BSc, MSc, MBA and PhD) and for various audiences (Students, entrepreneurs, farmers and horticulturalists) in various countries (e.g. Netherlands, Ethiopia, Russia).
Dr Verhees’ research deals with marketing decision-making in medium sized, small and micro firms, including cooperatives, with a special interest in food and agribusiness. Special attention is given to market-oriented and entrepreneurial decision-making, including product innovation and branding.
Recent research has applied advanced theories in psychology and consumer behaviour (e.g. construal level theory) to understand strategic marketing behaviour of micro firms. Recent research projects have investigated how market orientation increases the proficiency of marketing channel functions and thus the final customers’ satisfaction.
Dr Verhees is eager to share what he has learned over the years with stakeholders in food and agribusiness, including farmers and horticultural growers. Moreover, he believes that marketing scientists firms in food and agriculture should work together to make marketing theory and methods more relevant for food and agribusiness.