Thomas Martin Key, Ph.D.

Martin Key

Thomas Martin Key, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Digital Strategy & Marketing; Team Lead of Marketing, Strategy, and International Business
Dwire Hall 368


Thomas “Martin” Key is Chair of the Marketing, Strategy, and International Business Department and Associate Professor of Digital Strategy & Marketing at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Dr. Key was originally trained as a cultural anthropologist before launching his own business in 2003. After nearly a decade, he went back to university and earned a PhD in Business Administration with emphases in marketing and strategy. His research centers on theory building and conceptual development concerning digital and strategic marketing issues at the executive level and the study of marketing’s role in the academy and the firm. He has published in Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, European Journal of Marketing, AMS Review, and Journal of Strategic Marketing among others. He is a Daniels Ethics Initiative Fellow and Cybersecurity Fellow and frequently works with new startups as well as established firms to help them create strategic plans to grow and create value for their customers.


  •   PhD, Marketing, Southern Illinois University (2012)
  •   Master of Arts, Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Southern Illinois University (2003)
  •   Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology, Southern Illinois University (2000)

Professional Experience

  • Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives (interim) College of Business, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (2021-present)
  • Associate Professor of Digital Strategy & Marketing University of Colorado Colorado Springs (2020-present)
  • Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Colorado Colorado Springs (2014-2020)
  • Assistant Professor of Marketing, St. John Fisher College (2012-2014)
  • President/CEO, Key Industries, Inc. (2003-2009)

Professional Experience

  • November 2013-2014:  Strategic digital marketing consultant for The Purple Briefcase
  • January-April 2012:  Invited consultant and strategic marketing counselor for entrepreneurial startups with Southern Illinois Small Business Development Center.
  • May 2003-May 2009:  Owner/Founder of Key Industries Inc. DBA: Clayship Guitar & Repair

Selected Publications

Key, T.M., Keel, A.L., Czaplewski, A.J., & Olson, E.M. (forthcoming 2021), “Brand Activism Change Agents: Strategic Storytelling for Impact and Authenticity.” Journal of Strategic Marketing,

Key, T.M. & Duening, T.N. (forthcoming 2021), “Strategic Entrepreneurial Storytelling: An Applied Framework for Better Pitches.” Contemporary Management Research

Sukle, M., Schultz, D, Czaplewski, A., & Key, T.M. (forthcoming 2021), “Colorado Marijuana Countermarketing for Youth: Don’t Be a Lab Rat Campaign.” Journal of Advertising Research

Olson, Eric M., Kai M. Olson, Andrew J. Czaplewski, & Thomas Martin Key (2021), “Business Strategy and the Management of Digital Marketing” Business Horizons, 64(2), 285-293.

Key, T.M., Terry Clark, OC Ferrell, David Stewart, & Leyland Pitt (2020), “Marketing’s Theoretical and Conceptual Value Proposition: Opportunities to Address Marketing’s Influence.” AMS Review,

Key, T.M., Challagalla, G. Information transparency as competitive advantage: research approaches to platform ecosystem design and competition. AMS Review, 10 (1-2), 145-147.

Key, Thomas M. & Astrid Keel (2019), “How Executives Talk: Exploring Marketing Executive Value Articulation with Computerized Text Analysis” European Journal of Marketing, 54 (3), 546-569.

Key, Thomas M., Andrew Czaplewski, & Jeff Ferguson (2019), “Preparing Workplace Ready Students with Digital Marketing Skills,” Marketing Education Review, 29 (2), 131-135.

Key, Thomas M., Carol Azab, & Terry Clark (2019), “Embedded Ethics: How Complex Systems and Structures Guide Ethical Outcomes,” Business Horizons, 62 (3), 327-36.

Blair, Amanda, Thomas M. Key, & Matthew Wilson (2019), “Crowdsourcing to Manage Service Gaps in Service Networks,” Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, 34(7), 1497-1505.

Key, Thomas M. (2017) “Domains of Digital Marketing Channels in the Sharing Economy,” Journal of Marketing Channels, 24 (1-2), 27-38. Over 3500 Downloads

Key, Thomas M. & Andrew Czaplewski, (2017), “Upstream Social-Marketing Strategy: An Integrated Marketing Communications Approach,” Business Horizons. 60 (3). Business Horizons Best Article Award 2017