Dr. Gerald Zaltman

Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at the Harvard Business.


Gerald Zaltman is the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at the Harvard Business. He was Co-Director of The Mind of the Market Laboratory at HBS. He is a co-founder of the research based consulting firm of Olson Zaltman Associates whose clients include some of the world’s most respected firms. Olson Zaltman Associates has worked in nearly 40 countries developing deep insights about consumer behavior. Professor Zaltman holds a Ph.D in sociology from The Johns Hopkins University, an M.B.A from the University of Chicago, and B.A. from Bates College.


His interests focus on customer behavior and marketing strategy. His best selling book, How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market {2003) has been translated into 20 languages. Another book, co-authored with Lindsay Zaltman, is Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal about the Minds of Consumers (2008) has also been published in multiple languages. This book addresses the unconscious frames that influence consumer and manager thought and behavior. He has published 20 books.


Professor Zaltman’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Forbes, US News & World Report, Time, Fast Company Magazine, American Demographics, and other major publications. Professor Zaltman is a consultant to corporations around the globe and frequent keynote speaker at major conferences. He has received three patents for market research tools. One patent, ZMET, is used around the world by major firms and international agencies. It has been described by several writers as the most significant innovation in market research in three decades.


Dr. Zaltman has recently been the 3rd recipient of the bi-annual Sheth Foundation Award Gold Medal for Exceptional Contributions to Marketing Scholarship and Practice (2015). Also in 2015 he was inducted into the inaugural American Marketing Association’s Fellow Program recognizing members who have made significant contributions to the research, theory and practice of marketing. He has also been recognized by the AMA as a “Legend in Marketing.” Other awards include the American Marketing Association's Richard D. Irwin Distinguished Marketing Educator Award in 1989, The Association for Consumer Research Distinguished Fellow Award in 1990, the Knowledge Utilization Society's Thomas J. Kiresuk Award for Excellence in Scientific Research in 1992, the JAI Press Distinguished Scholar Award from the Society for Marketing Advances in 2000, the ARF Member Recognition Award in 2007, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Henry Grady “Buck” Weaver Award in 2008 sponsored by General Motors for outstanding work in bringing knowledge and practice together. He was selected in 2009 for inclusion in the Sage Publications “Legends in Marketing Series” in which his leading edge works have been republished. He has received a number of awards for his journal publications. He is currently at work on a new book, Huh? Hmm! That’s interesting which is an exploration of imaginative thinking.