Weinberger is an assistant professor of Integrated Marketing Communications.
Weinberger teaches consumer insight at the undergraduate and master’s levels at
Northwestern. Generally, her research focuses on understanding the meaning
behind consumer action and the ways cultural knowledge, consumption, and
consumption rituals structure daily life and social relationships. She believes
that by deeply understanding what people know (cultural knowledge) and how that
shapes what they struggle with and aim to accomplish, companies and
organizations can develop and offer more valuable products, services, and
Professor Weinberger is trained in both quantitative and qualitative research
methods. She is an expert in ethnography, depth interview techniques, and
qualitative data analysis. These methods help researchers see life through the
eyes of consumers but also develop deeper insights beyond what consumers are
able to articulate directly.
Prior to earning her PhD in marketing with a concentration in cultural
sociology, Weinberger worked in New York for Time Inc. in the Home
Entertainment division and in Washington D.C. for CARMA International as a
Media Research Analyst. At CARMA, she helped corporate clients understand their
firms’ reputations in the media. Using quantitative research methods to develop
qualitative insights, she helped firms understand the key issues and messages
driving media coverage that impact corporate reputation. She hired researchers,
managed projects, analyzed data, wrote and designed reports, and worked closely
with clients. Weinberger continues to use data from CARMA for her academic
research. Professor Weinberger has also supervised summer residency projects at
firms including: DraftFCB, Copa Airlines, Marc Advertising, Chicago Charter
Schools, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Dow Chemical, Salesforce.com, Jack
Morton, Adobe, The American Red Cross, DSW, Yum! Brands, G2, Eleven Inc,
Bonfire Communications, and General Mills.
For more information on her research projects or work experience, refer to
Professor Weinberger’s vita.
Ph.D., University of Arizona, Department of Marketing (Minor in Sociology)
Professor Weinberger’s teaching philosophy centers on deeper understanding. Beyond memorization, she encourages students to apply their new knowledge to the world around them throughout the course. Recognizing that learning styles are varied, she presents the material through a variety of pedagogical techniques. She uses individual assignments in firms and consumer homes, in and out of class group exercises, lectures, case studies, topically relevant video material, and advertising analysis.
Her hallmark as an instructor is her enthusiasm. Students report that this comes through in class activities, the lectures, and meetings with project groups where she discusses their ideas. Weinberger’s experience working for clients at both Fortune 500 companies and small firms also provides fodder for examples and class discussions. Students report that this has helped them to conceptualize information in practical terms and facilitates vivid understanding of the concepts in the text. Most importantly, she aims to cultivate an environment of mutual respect, believing that when students are engaged and feel respected, they are more motivated to learn. She is on the ASG Faculty Honor Roll for undergraduate teaching, and in 2011, the graduating class of master’s students presented her with an award for teaching excellence.
Professor Weinberger uses technology to support classroom activities when it enhances the educational experience. She designed a Bboogle (Google Site) course website for masters and undergraduate courses to supplement classroom materials. The sites house supplemental readings, the class Twitter feed, career resources, and her blog roll. During the quarter, she actively manages the class Twitter hashtag to facilitate learning and interaction outside of class and to connect students with news and events related to class material. Further, she teaches netnographic methods using NetBase’s ConsumerBase tool to help students develop analytical skills, understand the strengths and weaknesses of using web conversations as data, and learn to develop qualitative insights from quantitative data.
IMC 301-0 Consumer Insight and
Communications Research Methods
IMC 455-0 Consumer Insight
Sociological aspects of marketing, consumption, and innovation,
- Cultural knowledge and its impact on consumers, audiences, and
- Social class and consumption
- Consumption rituals
- Corporate, community, and interpersonal gift-giving
- Consumption of experiences
- Entrepreneurial thinking
The Resource Value of Experiential Consumption (with J. Zavisca)
Non-Participation in Consumption Rituals: Consumption Responses to Cultural
The Unfinished Gift: When the
Giver’s Intentions Matter in Gift Giving (with K. Gunasti)
The Shifting Face of Advertising
Humor: A Socio-Cultural and Historic Perspective (with M.G. Weinberger and C. Gulas)
Socio-Cultural Processes of
Innovation (with R. Lusch and P. Sias)
Knowledge and Resource Creation: Insights for Marketing Theory, Practice and
Education (with R. Lusch)
Corporate Brand Attitude
Differences: The Role of Corporate Reputation and
Marketing Communications Signals (with
H. Spotts and M.G. Weinberger)
American Marketing Association
Association for Consumer Research
American Sociological Association
Consumer Studies Research Network
Association, Winter Educators Conference, Reviewer, 2013
Consumer Culture Theory Conferences, Reviewer
Association for Consumer Research Conferences,
Reviewer 2006- 2011
Theory Qualitative Data Analysis Workshop, Faculty Mentor, 2011
Theory 6, Program Committee 2010-11
Journal of Consumer Research,
Journal of Interactive Marketing, AdHoc Reviewer
Journal of Marcromarketing, AdHoc Reviewer
Awards / Professional Organizations
ASG Faculty Honor Roll (Undergraduate), 2011-2012
Sidney J. Levy Award, 2011
dissertation-based journal article contributing to Consumer Culture Theory
Medill IMC Professor of the Year Award (MS Program), 2011
of Arizona Outstanding Graduate/Teaching Award, 2009
Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium Fellow (Columbia, MO), 2008
Research Award; Dean’s Service Award, 2008
Eller College of Management Awards, selected by Dean’s office
and Roslyn Payne Outstanding Marketing Doctoral Student Award, 2007
Research funding, winner selected by national jury of marketing
Publications / Presentations
Weinberger, Michelle F. and Melanie Wallendorf (2012), “IntracommunityGifting at the Intersection of Contemporary Moral & Market Economies,” Journal
of Consumer Research, 39 (June), 74-92, (published online September 2011).
Weinberger, Marc G., Charles Gulas, and Michelle
F. Weinberger (2012), “The Role of Culture in Advertising Humor” in Wells, Victoria and Gordon Foxall
(ed.), Handbook of New Developments in
Consumer Behaviour, 83-120.
Gunasti, Kunter and Michelle F. Weinberger (2012), “Gift Cards and
the Social Relationship,” presenting at the Association for Consumer Research
Conference, Vancouver, October.
Weinberger, Michelle F. (2012), “Collective Consumption Rituals and
Tensions between Overlapping Social Fields,” presented at the Consumer Culture
Theory Conference, Oxford, England, August.
Weinberger, Michelle F. (2011), “Experiential
Priorities of Young Professionals – a Sociological Perspective,” presented at
5th Conference on Emerging Adulthood, Society for the Study of Emerging
Adulthood, Providence, October.
Michelle F. (2010), “Non-Participation in Consumption Rituals – A Christmas
Story,” presented at American Sociological Association Conference, Atlanta,
Michelle F. (2008), Non-Participation in Dominant Ritual Activity: A Cultural
Sociology Perspective,” presented at the Consumer Culture Theory Conference,
Michelle F. (2008), “Experiential and Material Consumption: A Cultural
Perspective on Experientialism,” in Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman (eds.), Advances
in Consumer Research, Vol. 35.
Michelle F. and Melanie Wallendorf (2007), “Market Discourses of Community and
Solidarity: Manifest and Latent Effects of Cultural Maintenance,” presented at
the American Sociological Association pre-conference of the Consumer Studies
Research Network, New York, August.