PJ Tan is from the College of Business, Government and Law and is one of the eight winners of the Best HDR Student Publication Award for 2022.
Her winning publication “Audit and benchmarking of supermarket catalog composition in five countries” explores the role of supermarket catalogues in retail advertising and synthesizes current practices across five countries. It investigates the content, composition, format, and layout of 39 catalogues from 13 supermarket chains, providing a quantitative benchmark for typical catalogue features. The results show that catalogues have evolved into a tool for promoting a supermarket’s product range, including full-price products, rather than just temporary price reductions.
PJ is supervised by Svetlana Bogomolova and Lucy Simmonds at Flinders University with supervisors at University of South Australia (Arry Tanusondjaja and Larry Lockshin) and University of Adelaide (Armando Corsi) and Foodland Supermarkets (Christopher Villani).
We invited PJ to share insights into the PhD journey and what winning this award means.
Tell us about your PhD journey so far.
My PhD journey has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. I have been on this journey for 6 years (which is a long time!), as I have been working full-time while studying part-time. Initially, I pursued my PhD full-time, but after completing an APR.Intern project, I was offered a job, which led me to switch to part-time study. Balancing work and study has not been an easy task, and it took me some time to establish a routine that allowed me to make steady progress on my thesis while managing my work commitments.
Despite the challenges, I have found the PhD journey to be incredibly fulfilling. I have had the opportunity to delve deep into my research topic, to explore new ideas, and to collaborate with experts in the field. In particular, tackling real-world issues from an academic research perspective and providing the solutions. Along the way, I have gained a deep understanding of the FMCG industry and retail landscape, including the complex mechanisms behind consumer pricing strategies and promotions.
Overall, I feel proud of what I have accomplished so far and excited about what lies ahead.
What does winning this award mean to you?
Winning this award is a truly meaningful and gratifying accomplishment for me. It represents a validation of the hard work, dedication, and perseverance that I have invested in my research. This award has given me a tremendous boost in confidence and motivation to continue pursuing my academic and professional goals. The fact that my work has been recognized and acknowledged by experts in my field means a great deal to me. It affirms that my research is making a significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge in my area of study. Moreover, it highlights the relevance and importance of my work, not only for academia but also for the industry. I am deeply grateful for this recognition and the spotlight it brings to my work.
How did you choose your supervisor?
I feel incredibly fortunate to have an outstanding team of supervisors for my PhD. I have five supervisors across three universities, as well as an industry supervisor. Although having a large supervisory panel can be challenging at times, with the need to accommodate everyone’s feedback and comments, it has ultimately proven to be an invaluable asset to my research. Each of my supervisors brings their own unique expertise and experience to the table, and I am grateful for the wealth of knowledge and support they provide. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of them for their guidance and input.
My principal supervisor, Professor Svetlana Bogomolova, has been a constant source of inspiration and guidance throughout my academic journey. I had previously worked with her as my supervisor during my Honours and Masters by Research degrees, and it was an easy decision to continue working with her on my PhD. Not only do I see her as my supervisor, but also as my mentor. Her extensive knowledge and expertise in my field have been invaluable, and her unwavering support and encouragement have been instrumental in helping me navigate the ups and downs of academia life.
What are your future goals and plans? / Where do you see your career heading in the future?
My current role as a Data Analyst at the largest South Australian supermarket chain has been a fantastic opportunity for me to apply my research skills to real-world challenges. Going forward, I aim to continue working in the industry for a few more years, as I believe there is still a significant knowledge gap between the industry and research world. I am committed to bridging this gap by bringing the latest research findings and innovative solutions into practice within the industry.
However, my passion for research remains as strong as ever, and I do see myself returning to academia in the near future. I hope to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders, including industry partners, academic peers, and policymakers, to make a meaningful impact in the field of marketing data analytics and beyond. I believe that the skills and knowledge I have gained through my PhD journey will serve me well in my future academic and professional pursuits.
In summary, my future goals and plans involve combining my industry and research expertise to make a positive impact on the world, and I am excited to see where this journey will take me.
Tan, P. J., Tanusondjaja, A., Corsi, A., Lockshin, L., Villani, C., & Bogomolova, S.
(2022). Audit and benchmarking of supermarket catalog composition in five countries.
International Journal of Advertising,1–28.