Information technology utilization for industrial marketing activities: the IT–marketing gap

Peter Ekman (School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden)
Cecilia Erixon (School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden)
Peter Thilenius (Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Publication date: 5 October 2015



This study aims to investigates the possible gap between the logic of these information technology (IT) systems and industrial firms’ marketing practices. Industrial firms rely extensively on IT systems for their business.


Based on the contemporary marketing practice (CMP) model, which depicts firms’ marketing practice as ranging from transactional to more relational and networked-based, the logic of IT systems and how users in industrial firms adopt them are amended to create an extended model. The extended model is used to analyze an in-depth case based on 63 interviews regarding one industrial firm’s business with customers and suppliers and how IT is utilized in this setting.


Results show that industrial firms’ relationship-oriented business is poorly supported by currently used IT systems. This gap between the IT systems, which are transaction-focused, and industrial firms’ marketing practice, which is relationship-based, has severe effects on adoption and efficiency of IT systems. The marketers prefer local, non-integrated, IT with limited usefulness on an overall firm level while resisting the firms’ comprehensive IT systems. This forms an IT–marketing gap given that current IT does not match the marketing practice of relationship-oriented industrial firms.


This study applies an extended CMP model in a novel way focusing one industrial firm, its customers and suppliers and the IT used in this setting. The study shows that all marketing practices of the CMP model can be found in one firm’s business, albeit one category, i.e. interaction marketing (a relationship approach), is dominating. The use of the CMP framework offers new and valuable insights into the fundamental cause to the industrial marketers’ limited use of integrated IT.



The authors would like to thank the track participants at the 29th IMP Conference in Atlanta (GA) and the anonymous reviewers for the constructive feedback.


Ekman, P., Erixon, C. and Thilenius, P. (2015), "Information technology utilization for industrial marketing activities: the IT–marketing gap", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 8, pp. 926-938.

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