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Kelly Goldsmith Associate Professor of Marketing

Expert in marketing, market research, and consumer behavior focusing on the impact of scarcity and sales on shoppers' mindsets.


Goldsmith received the Richard M. Clewett Research Chair and the McManus Research Chair for achievements in research while at the Kellogg School of Management. Additionally, she was the winner of the Levy & Weiss AMA Dissertation Competition and received honorable mention for the SCP-SHETH Dissertation Award. In addition to conducting her own research, Goldsmith's teaching has received high praise: she received the Sidney J. Levy Award for Excellence in Teaching (2012, 2014). In 2013, she was one of five Professors at the Kellogg School of Management nominated by the graduating students to receive the L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award, Kellogg's highest teaching honor. Further, in 2014, she was named as one of the "Top 40 Most Outstanding B-School Professors in the World Under 40" (Poets& Quants) and one of "Eight Young B-School Professors on the Rise" (Fortune). In 2017, she was the winner of two Impact Awards for her teaching. Fun fact: Goldsmith was once a contestant on "Survivor" and says the lessons she learned about scarcity during that experience have impacted her scholarship today.

Media Appearances

It’s Not Marketing. These 18 Products Are Truly Limited Editions

Bloomberg October 01, 2020
It’s not about “good taste,” either: The appeal is an instinct hardwired into the human brain. “As things are unavailable, we’ve learned we need to fight harder to get them,” says Kelly Goldsmith, a behavioral scientist and associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University whose research focuses on scarcity. “Whether that’s bison meat when we were cave people or A grades at school when you’re marked on a curve.”

Panic buying amid a second COVID-19 wave

CTV News September 27, 2020
Marketing professor at Vanderbilt University, Kelly Goldsmith says she thinks there will still be a fundamental stocking up of the basics.

Coronavirus rationing: Target, Walmart limit purchases of hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper

USA Today March 11, 2020
Kelly Goldsmith, an associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University, has studied consumer behaviors around scarcity and how consumers behave. This panic shopping "is way worse than Black Friday because nobody's going to die if they don't get that flat screen on discount from Walmart," she said.

A Survivor contestant and scarcity expert explains why you're panic-buying

Business Insider March 10, 2020
To her students at Vanderbilt University, Kelly Goldsmith is an expert on consumer behavior in the face of scarcity. To Survivor fans, she's a trooper who lasted 24 days in the searing Kenyan heat on the third season of the reality TV show. But to people anxious about the new coronavirus, she's one of a few people in the world that understand exactly what is motivating the Purell-hoarding and panic-buying that's going on in countries around the world.

Should You Spend, or Save, as if You’ll Live Forever?

New York Times September 12, 2019
“You see people get into binge savings in their 60s,” said Kelly Goldsmith, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. “What that suggests to me is as you approach your retirement years, you understand I’m going to be the same person 10 years from now. There is less of a gap between who you are and what you’re going to be.”

The Four Social Media Horsemen Of The Scarcity Apocalypse

Forbes September 10, 2019
“I consider Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to be the four horsemen of the subjective scarcity apocalypse,” says marketing professor Kelly Goldsmith. “I mean, these platforms give us 24/7 access into all of the lives of all of those Joneses who we are so desperate to keep up with.”

Watch out, uber Uber Eaters: Online food delivery can lead to overspending and isolation

Tennessean June 24, 2019
"Millennials didn't like cooking before Postmates was a thing," said Kelly Goldsmith, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University. "Now that they've got some money in their pocket, it's no surprise they're not cooking. People are placing a higher premium on their time and convenience."

6 Things You Should Know About Groupon

U.S. News & World Report April 25, 2019
Don't buy any deal vouchers until you've reviewed the redemption requirements. "Every deal has limitations in terms of when its promotional value expires and what the deal can and cannot be used toward," says Kelly Goldsmith, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. "It may be associated with a minimum spend at the vendor, and not all vendors within a chain may accept the Groupon."

Chicken Soup for the Soul? Sure, but Served in a Bowl?

New York Times November 03, 2017
An entrepreneur has to be sure the brand tells consumers what to expect, said Kelly Goldsmith, associate professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University. “Häagen-Dazs tells you to expect high-quality ice cream,” she said. “It’s a blessing and a curse. It sets expectations for quality and everyday luxury. But it limits you, because the ice cream association is always there.”