Published on March 7, 2024 by Sofia Paglioni  
peters and mertz collage

Courtney Peters and Breanne Mertz, assistant professors of marketing in Samford University’s Brock School of Business, were participants in the Society for Marketing Advances (SMA) annual conference on November 8 - 11, 2023 in Fort Worth, Texas.

During the conference, their paper was recognized as a Best in Track paper in the marketing ethics and corporate social responsibility category.

Their paper titled, “Netnography of Human Trafficking on TikTok”, focuses on human trafficking on social media sites, which can misinform consumers, hurt brands and create unnecessary fear in society.

In their abstract, Mertz and Peters said, “This study uses netnography to explore how human trafficking is being discussed on social media. Qualitative analysis of video content on TikTok yields three major themes embedded in the data: human trafficking education, real human trafficking stories and potential human trafficking scenarios. Substantive, theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.”

Mertz’s research focuses on topics that optimize individual well-being within consumer behavior, services, and modern slavery and human trafficking. Peters teaches courses related to principles of marketing, digital and social media marketing, and customer journey and content marketing.

The SMA is a premier marketing association that connects marketing educations and professionals in the United States and abroad. Its mission is to promote the growth of intellectual leadership in the field of marketing on the part of teachers, researchers, and students in universities and executive business and government.

This is not the first time Samford faculty work has been recognized by the SMA. Peters’ paper “Your Reputation Proceeds You: The Impact of Corporate Sociopolitical Activism on Consumer-Based Brand Equity” was a Best in Track paper at the organization’s fall 2022 conference.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.