Testing Work–Life Theory in Marketing: Evidence from Field Experiments on Social Media

Nita Umashankar, Dhruv Grewal, Abhijit Guha, Timothy R. Bohling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


In realizing that consumers regularly straddle the work–life interface, some companies position their products according to their ability to address work and life needs together, then communicate this offering to consumers. Whether using a work–life positioning strategy is effective remains unclear, however. If this strategy signals work–life enrichment, it should increase consumers’ interest, but only if the product demands few resources from consumers. If the product instead demands substantial resources, a work–life positioning might inadvertently trigger perceptions of work–life conflict and lower consumers’ interest. To test these predictions, the authors partnered with three businesses to advertise their products, which impose varying resource demands, on social media using content that highlights the work–life interface or not. Analyses of ad click data support the predictions: Work–life ads are less effective than single-domain (work or life) ads if the advertising involves resource-demanding products, but they are more effective if it pertains to resource-undemanding products. Furthermore, the effects are stronger among consumer segments that experience more work–life conflict in general. With this initial application of work–life theory to a marketing context, this article offers relevant insights for both research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-329
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • ad clicks
  • product positioning
  • product resource demands
  • work–life conflict
  • work–life enrichment
  • work–life theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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