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Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre Chair for Marketing and Market Research

Alex Mari

Research Associate

Tel.: +41 44 634 2918

"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim
is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."
Michelangelo Buonarroti

Alex Mari is a Research Associate, PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow at the chair for marketing and market research, University of Zurich. He studies the adoption of AI-based voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home for marketing (voice marketing) and their effect on shopping behavior (voice commerce).

Among others, Alex worked as a global director of digital marketing and e-commerce (Sonova), brand manager (Procter & Gamble) and startup CEO (Fennex). In over ten international coaching projects, he advised executives in tech startups and corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline, Chalhoub and Safilo.

He teaches digital marketing and personal branding at UZH and private business schools. Alex regularly serves as a guest speaker on AI for marketing and digital strategy in leading business schools such as SDA Bocconi and Säid Business School.

Alex supports the Marketing Group Zurich, a joint research initiative of three UZH and ETH Zurich marketing chairs.

Teaching & Awards

  • Personal Branding and Digital Marketing Bachelor
  • Digital Marketing: Collaborative Project Master 
  • Digital Marketing and Social Media for Medical Leaders Executive

2022 Stanley C. Hollander Award for Best Retailing Paper by the Academy of Marketing Science. News 

Selected Publications

  • Mari, A., Mandelli, A., & Algesheimer, R. (2024). Empathic voice assistants: Enhancing consumer responses in voice commerce. Journal of Business Research175, 114566. Link
  • Mari A., Mandelli A. & Algesheimer R. (2023). Voice-based Digital Corporate Communication. In V. Luoma-aho & M. Badham (Eds.). Handbook of Digital corporate communication, Edward Elgar.
  • Mari A. & Algesheimer R. (2021). AI-based Voice Assistants for Digital Marketing: Preparing for Voice Marketing and Commerce. In Contemporary issues in Digital Marketing, Routledge, UK.
  • Mari A. & Algesheimer, R. (2021). The Role of Trusting Beliefs in Voice Assistants during Voice Shopping. In Proceedings of the 54th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pp. 4073 - 4082.
  • Mari A., Mandelli A. & Algesheimer R. (2020). The Evolution of Marketing in the Context of Voice Commerce: A Managerial Perspective. In: Nah FH., Siau K. (eds) HCI in Business, Government and Organizations. HCII 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12204. Springer, Cham.
  • Mari A. (2019). Voice Commerce: Understanding shopping-related voice assistants and their effect on brands. In IMMAA Annual Conference. Northwestern University in Qatar, Doha (Qatar).

Selected Guest Lectures

  • Catholic University of Milan - Marketing Analytics (Master)
  • Northwestern University in Qatar - Digital, Social and Mobile Marketing (Bachelor)
  • SDA Bocconi, School of Management - Big Data and AI in Marketing (Executive; Emeritus)
  • Säid Business School, University of Oxford - Oxford Platforms and Digital Disruption (Executive; Esme) 
  • Bocconi Asia Center - Digital Marketing and Web Analytics (Master)

Recent Conference Presentations

  • Mari, A., Mandelli, A. & Algesheimer, R. (2023, June). Present and Future of AI-based Voice Assistants. World Internet Project (WIP) Annual Meeting. UZH, Zurich, Switzerland. 
  • Mari, A., Mandelli, A. & Algesheimer, R. (2022, June). FoMO in Platform Ecosystems: How Emotions Affect Complementor’s Strategic Adoption Decisions. Strategic Management Society (SMS) Special Conference. SDA Bocconi, Milan, Italy. 
  • Mari, A., Mandelli, A. & Algesheimer, R. (2022, May). Shopping With Voice Assistants: How Empathy Affects Decision-Making Outcomes. Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference. Monterey Bay, California, US. 
  • Mari, A., Mandelli, A. & Algesheimer, R. (2022, May). AI-Driven Platform Ecosystems: How Emotions Affect Strategic Adoption Decisions. 2nd Annual Artificial Intelligence in Management (AIM) Conference. Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California US (remote).

Peer Reviewer Activity

  • Management Decision
  • Information Systems Journal
  • European Journal of Marketing
  • International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
  • ACM CHI - Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
  • Behaviour & Information Technology
  • Journal of Industrial and Business Marketing

Thesis Supervision


1. Voice assistant and social influence in the decision-making process

Individual and collective decisions are increasingly affected by digital consumer technologies powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Among these, in-home voice assistants (VAs) such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home is physically placed at the core of a consumer's domestic life, allowing for repeated, ongoing interactions that fulfill functional and social needs. While performing complex tasks with consumers, VAs become a more human-like exchange partner. In this context, the relationship between humans and VAs activates emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactions usually found in human-to-human relationships. If people treat technological artifacts not only as a medium but also as a social actor, what happens when other humans are involved in the decision-making process? The objective of this thesis is to examine how the outcome of a decision-making process enabled by VAs differs when carried out by a single individual rather than with the involvement of other household members. Furthermore, this thesis explores how the effect changes when the VA is capable or not of agentic communication increasing the consumer's sense of human warmth and sociability.


The unit of analysis: consumer; methodology: descriptive and experimental research methods; type of work: theoretical and empirical.


2. Adoption of AI-based voice assistants in consumer goods companies

The rapid adoption of AI-based voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home introduces consumer heuristics likely to affect marketing practices. Voice-based technologies open up a full set of communication possibilities for managers, from custom voice apps to actionable audio ads. At the same time, the simultaneous growth of several voice platforms, the explosion of provider-specific business services, and the fast-changing supplier ecosystem produce mixed feelings in incumbent firms. Individual and collective sense-making guide the managerial decision on ‘if’ and ‘how’ to implement voice-based marketing initiatives. These strategic responses to the diffusion of AI-based voice assistants are likely to be affected by the manager’s beliefs and emotions toward the technology and its suppliers (Amazon, Google, Apple). This thesis explores managers’ perceptions and decisions toward adopting AI-based voice assistants in consumer-facing functions (marketing, sales, and service). This research aims at enabling managers to make unbiased strategic decisions in the context of consumer-oriented AI technologies.


The unit of analysis: manager; methodology: qualitative research methods; type of work: theoretical and empirical.

Weiterführende Informationen

University of Zurich
Department of Business Administration
Chair for Marketing and Market Research
Andreasstrasse 15 (office 4.42)
8050 Zurich
Phone: +41 44 634 92 53