Business-to-Business Marketing Management: Strategies, Cases, and Solutions: Volume 18

Cover of Business-to-Business Marketing Management: Strategies, Cases, and Solutions

Table of contents

(21 chapters)

Mark S. Glynn is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Business and Law Faculty, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand. He obtained his PhD in marketing from the University of Auckland. In 2006, Mark won the Emerald/EFMD best thesis award for outstanding doctoral research in the category of marketing strategy. His research experience is in the areas of branding, relationship marketing, business-to-business marketing, and retail channels. Mark Glynn's business-to-business research appears in Industrial Marketing Management, the European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Advances in Business Marketing & Purchasing, Australian Marketing Journal, and Marketing Theory. He also serves on the editorial boards of Industrial Marketing Management and the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing.

This book (BBMM) provides knowledge and skill-building training exercises in managing marketing decisions in business-to-business (B2B) contexts. The topic coverage is broad and deep. The intent is for the book to help answer four questions: (1) what questions should executives ask when crafting and implementing effective strategies in B2B contexts; (2) what tentative answers may be useful for executives to consider to these questions; (3) what skills in crafting strategies and decisions are necessary for executives to excel in for achieving effective outcomes consistently; and (4) how should B2B go about acquiring these skills?

Following this introduction, the Chapter 2, “A Note on Knowledge Development in Marketing,” by Amjad Hajikhani and Peter LaPlaca, examines four themes in the development of marketing management knowledge. The discussion initially considers the scientific basis for the marketing discipline, then the academic divide between academic researchers and marketing managers.

Using a framework based on dimensions of economic theory and behavioral sciences for understanding and mass market versus individual customers as the unit of analysis, this article looks at the development of marketing theory primarily during the last century. It looks at the common goal of understanding markets and their functioning as well as the differences in attaining this goal imposed by the very nature of the economic of behavioral foundations brought to bear on the problem. The paper concludes with the observation that, while we have come a long way toward reaching the goal, we have a long way to go to complete the journey.

This chapter reviews emergent research streams as a basis for a dynamic multilevel perspective on organizational buying behavior that can link seminal studies to more contemporary issues raised by managers and scholars alike. Since Johnston and Lewin's (1996) review, the literature does not include a comprehensive analysis of recent themes or general directions. From a managerial perspective, some of these issues that need coverage include the following questions. What are the best practices for integrating the organizational buying process with product design, development, and innovation? How can technology, media, and automation be leveraged in the buying process? For supplier relationships in which trust and commitment have been established, what are the best practices for using this to build competitive advantage? What are the best practices for leveraging the brands of products or services that are not owned by a firm? What are the best practices for managing buying processes across international markets?

Segmentation is an important marketing concept that identifies and analyzes different needs and wants of buyers as well as their buying behavior. Two different perspectives on how buyers and potential customers should be approached have emerged over the last two decades: the transactional perspective and the relational perspective. The two approaches differ in their overall understanding of the customer and how to address the customer. The two approaches therefore hold different implications for how segmentation should take place and how markets should be monitored.

Both the service-dominant logic of marketing and the resource-based view of the firm strongly emphasize the creation of value through buyer–seller relationships by the exchange of resources. To facilitate this exchange of resources, and hence to facilitate value co-creation, the resources of both buyer and seller must be made available to one another. This availability is no accident. Availability of resources occurs through the interaction between the buyer and the seller. In order for this interaction to take place effectively, the relationship must be a good one, particularly in terms of factors such as the commitment, trust, and satisfaction that each partner feels with respect to the other.

Issues of exchange of resources, especially intangible informational resources, through relationships as noted above currently occupy the minds of both managers and researchers. This chapter therefore explores these issues and describes an empirical study that investigates aspects of the exchange of these types of resources through buyer–seller relationships, and some of the conditions that facilitate availability of the resources, specifically in the business-to-business context. The chapter develops a model from the perspective of a seller in a buyer–seller relationship in the business-to-business context and describes the testing of that model.

The model's main constructs are the perceived future accessibility to the seller of the buyer's less tangible resources, the quality of the relationship, and the future financial performance outcomes of the relationship. Survey data, analyzed using structural equation modeling, support the model's proposition that both accessibility of buyer's resources and quality of the relationship have positive outcomes for future financial performance. The analysis also supports the proposed positive relationship between relationship quality and accessibility of buyer's resources. A case study illustrates the application of the model's concepts.

Customers in business-to-business markets are sellers of goods and services on their own. Thus, business-to-business suppliers may exert an influence on their customers’ buying decisions when performing marketing activities toward the customers of the customers by employing the concept of “multistage marketing”. Multi-stage marketing involves all sales-related measures which are aimed at the subsequent market stages (“customers of the customer”) which follow one or several primary customers in order to influence the buying behavior of these primary customers. Although the positive impacts of such activities are known, business-to-business companies often exclude the customers further along in the downstream supply chain from their marketing plans. But in a business-to-business context, the demand is always derived from buying decisions made further down the supply chain. The primary customers buy products or services because they want to use them – directly or indirectly – for either the production or the sale of other goods and services. Hence, derived demand, which can be traced to the end-user's primary demand, can be seen as the basis of multistage marketing.

The most common form of multistage marketing is ingredient (co-)branding, which occurs when a marketer providing an ingredient or component to an OEM advertises the ingredient to the customer of the assembled product. In addition to ingredient branding, this chapter identifies several other forms of multistage marketing and examines the underlying dimensions and processes of the phenomenon. The design of a marketing strategy using the concept of multistage marketing and its preconditions are discussed on a theoretical basis and are illustrated through concrete examples. The chapter provides a number of best practice examples in order to elucidate the issues concerning multistage marketing and its application in a company's marketing strategy serving business-to-business markets.

Business and customer relationships build on interactions between the parties. However, the marketing literature does not pay much attention to the concept of interaction. Interaction is a central construct of the Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group as a result of a strong empirical focus on interfirm relations. However, even this research does not strongly address the interaction construct. Interaction between parties in the economic world refers to the exchanges and communications between parties that lead to development of relationships.

While interaction occurs in the on-going present, the purpose is always about creating a future for each of the participants in the relationship. Based on the authors’ presentation at the International Colloquium in Relationship Marketing at Leipzig, Germany, in September 2006, this chapter presents a model of interaction within business and customer relationships that relies upon time and cognition to explain the formation of relationships (or atmosphere) through interactive cognitive processes. This model allows an analysis of the ways the future is shaped in different types of business and customer relationships, depending on the relative ability of the parties to have an effect on the future. The analysis shows how firms and customers work to slow down or speed up change. The final section of the chapter addresses the research implications.

In consultant–client relationships, relationship longevity can create significant cost advantages and operational efficiencies for both client and consultant. At the same time, each party may also be motivated to look for new perspectives and opportunities by switching to new relationships. However, the benefits of replacing one consulting relationship with another are mitigated by switching costs: the costs associated with the act of changing the relationship itself.

This chapter explores the concept of switching costs by examining various types of costs, the ways these costs have been conceptualized in the literature, and how these costs may impact the nature and continuity of consultant–client relationships. The chapter will end with a series of hypotheses and suggestions for a research agenda to further develop our understanding of this important phenomenon.

Three major environmental changes are taking place regarding business-to-business salesforce. The first trend is the marketing discipline's shift from a product-focus to a service-focus. In response, firms are shifting their salesforce from a product-focus to providing integrated products and services or solutions to their customers. The second trend that is affecting salesforce is the enhanced utilization of technology, as technology is being used to handle some selling tasks (e.g., information provisioning). The third trend is globalization that is evolving to a stage where global salesforce originating from different countries is interacting with customers from different countries. This chapter suggests that these three trends are changing salesforce strategy, structure, and processes. The chapter reports on the decline in product-based salesforce, growth in customer-focused and global salesforce, globalization of salesforce, and the broader business and research implications. The shifts are dramatic and for researchers, it will be a new and fertile area of research.

This chapter examines the empirical evidence about business-to-business (B2B) brands and offers implications for value creation. Brand marketing texts typically emphasize the competitive advantage of strong brands but often assume a consumer branding (B2C) perspective. However some of the world's most valuable brands are predominantly B2B in nature, and the question arises regarding the importance of branding in B2B marketing. This chapter examines the following question. How do B2B brands create and deliver value for firms in interorganizational transactions? The chapter begins by examining the relevance of current theoretical frameworks of branding in the B2B context and the stages of the brand value chain. Next, the chapter considers extant research showing the impact of B2B branding at the various stages of the brand value chain. The chapter also suggests areas for future research in B2B branding and concludes with a reader case study.

This chapter helps to establish a characterization system for industrial and consumer companies. Marketing science shows that industrial brands and consumer brands have to be managed in significant different ways. The reason is the variety of distinctions. Marketing literature often fall back to the same definition for companies. Usually, companies are defined business-to-business (B2B) when they deal with other companies and business-to-consumer (B2C) when they make their revenues with private consumers. However, both definitions do not represent the knowledge from marketing literature about the specifications in both market categories. The characterization system here separates companies by the demand drivers (derivate and origin) of their costumers, by their communication strategy, by the roles individuals play in the buying process, and recommend the appropriate branding strategy. The results of a survey about B2B knowledge show how important such a characterizing system for the discussion is. Often managers have no clear picture of a company in terms of B2B and B2C marketing. The system helps them to find a common basis for understanding the crucial issues, based on an empirical analysis.

The predominant view of positioning in both the literature and practice – a remarkably uni- or two-dimensional view – asks these questions: (1) What dimension should the product or service be positioned on, for example, unique styling, design, performance, and quality? (2) What category does the product or service compete in or belong to? So marketers therefore ask: Should the computer brand be positioned as reliable (Dell), or faster (Toshiba)? Research on economic value is well established in the pricing literature, especially in business-to-business pricing. Most of this literature focuses on differentiation value, that is, how to calculate the worth of the differential benefits a customer receives from using the firm's product versus the competitive substitute. But a much less studied area of this research deals with the price of the competitive reference product, or competitive frame of reference. Rarely do marketers extend positioning strategy to the level of economic value, asking: How is the product framed, and how valuable is the frame? The purpose of this chapter is to explore competitive frames of reference in business-to-business positioning. Specifically, what are alternative types of frames of reference? What is the role of the reference price in frames of reference? What are the implications of choosing one type of frame of reference versus another?

This chapter documents the contributions in the business-to-business (B2B) marketing–buying literature that focus on implemented strategies in specific contexts. Research on implemented strategies often includes thick descriptions of how things actually get done over a period of weeks, months, or years including how decision makers make sense of situations, go about processing information, make choices, interact with other decision makers, participate in specific actions, and interpret events and outcomes. Research on implemented strategies favors “direct research” (Mintzberg, 1979) that includes multiple face-to-face interviews of the same and different participants in B2B processes over the course of days, week, months, or years. Direct research is inherently inductive theory-building and case-based data driven in its theory-empirical approach. Direct research includes applying a number of possible research methods and results in a number of advances in B2B implemented-strategy-in-context theory.

Cover of Business-to-Business Marketing Management: Strategies, Cases, and Solutions
Publication date
Book series
Advances in Business Marketing and Purchasing
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN