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A robust optimization approach to allocation of marketing budgets

Amir Albadvi (Industrial Engineering Division, Engineering Department Faculty, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran)
Hamidreza Koosha (Industrial Engineering Division, Engineering Department Faculty, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 3 May 2011




The main purpose of this research is to find an optimal allocation of marketing budgets which maximizes customer equity in an uncertain environment. Since markets are naturally uncertain environments, the aim is to incorporate uncertainty into the model.


Researchers have developed a mathematical programming model which employs customer equity as an objective function in order to allocate marketing budgets. The robust optimization approach is employed to tackle the proposed model, which deals with uncertainty.


The solution of the robust model is shown to be feasible and satisfactory in all uncertain situations. The robust solutions (of the presented model) are stable in volatile situations; while if the solution of deterministic models is used, it may be suboptimal or even infeasible. Sensitivity analysis of the deterministic solution only describes how stable is the suggested solution, but a robust optimization approach always provides a stable solution.

Research limitations/implications

The presented model will be most effective where uncertainty is high; if uncertainty is not a matter of concern or estimates are reliable, deterministic models are also effective.

Practical implications

Companies periodically decide on marketing budgets in order to achieve predefined marketing targets in future periods. The results of this research may be useful and applicable in marketing departments for allocating marketing budgets, especially in uncertain environments.


The main contribution of this research lies in providing an approach to allocate marketing budgets in uncertain environments. Unlike previous studies, the presented method takes into account the uncertainty of parameters in a systematic way. Hence, in case of high degrees of uncertainty, the use of robust optimization is strictly recommended.



Albadvi, A. and Koosha, H. (2011), "A robust optimization approach to allocation of marketing budgets", Management Decision, Vol. 49 No. 4, pp. 601-621.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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