Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

Published by Emerald
Online ISSN: 0885-8624
Publications
Article
This paper broadly discusses the customer portfolio theories and their implications in reference to marketing and purchasing perspectives. It provides an insight into how marketers interpret and describe companies' actions. The central theme of the paper - the tools that can be used to facilitate relationship management. The discussion in the paper provides a framework for relationship management, the central tenet of which is to enable managers to invest their resources in the most efficient and effective way. The contributions to the understanding of relationship management are critically reviewed in the following sections. The alternative models have been developed in reference to the market environment and values concepts in reference to the triadic relationship among the organization, supplier and customer has been discussed in the contemporary managerial perspectives. The paper also draws applied recommendations are made about their relevance to strategic decision making and theoretical development in the area of customer portfolio management.
 
Article
Purpose - The paper seeks to present research that examines the success factors for key accounts within firms, i.e. what factors lead to successful versus unsuccessful key accounts. Design/methodology/approach - Data from a consulting firm are analyzed to examine the success factors for key accounts within firms. Findings - The results suggest that marketers' relational assets, personal/social bonds, dissatisfaction, and change in environment are the primary drivers of key account success. Research limitations/implications - The paper summarizes one's understanding in this area and provides additional data that will allow firms to re-evaluate their strategies regarding success of specific key accounts. In the light of the sample, additional studies are suggested. Practical implications - Marketers need to invest more in relational assets, personal/social bonds, and satisfaction activities as well as monitor changes in the environment. Originality/value - Key accounts have become an integral part of most business firms, as key account teams are created to provide extra attention to important customers and to allow a consolidation of selling activities to geographically dispersed large customer firms. Previous research has examined the success factors of key account programs between firms and this paper provides data on the success factors of key accounts within firms.
 
Article
Purpose ? This paper seeks to describe supplier coordination of sales and marketing activities to manage customer relationships. Design/methodology/approach ? Six propositions are suggested that examine the drivers dictating how customers initiate influence tactics for their benefit in dealing with their suppliers. Findings ? Illustrations are provided to show how and when the marketing and sales functions come close to synergistic efforts and what hinders them from doing so. Research limitations/implications ? Although influence tactics have a rich history in social psychology and organizational behavior research, more influence tactics must be tested using various samples and multiple methods in the customer-supplier realm of selling and marketing activities. Practical implications ? Understanding trust, commitment, and cooperation from the supplier's perspective, enhances one's ability to understand why the sales and marketing functions must work together to program a defense mechanism against customers that are initiating influence tactics against them. Originality/value ? The study presents useful information for the coordination of sales and marketing activities.
 
Steps in systems thinking research
Article
Purpose ? This article sets out to describe the benefits of systems thinking in overcoming short-sighted decision making in business and industrial marketing. Design/methodology/approach ? The article illustrates specific tools and recent applications of systems thinking research. Findings ? The basic building-blocks for creating microworlds are the claims made by stakeholders running and affected by real-life systems. Research limitations/implications ? Suggestions for future research includes transforming research designs from linear one-way models to models expressly recognizing time delays, feedback loops among variables, and seemingly hidden, unimportant relationships. Practical implications ? All business exchanges involve systems and there is more complexity than is readily apparent; systems thinking helps decision makers to deeply understand what is really happening. Originality/value ? This article advises replacing the one-direction thinking and research paradigm that dominates business and industrial marketing with systems thinking and system dynamics modeling; the article identifies examples and the literature necessary to embrace this alternative paradigm.
 
Article
Purpose - The purpose of his paper is to define the role of cyber-intermediaries based on several theories such as transaction cost analysis, agency, social exchange, and relationship marketing. Design/methodology/approach - This is a conceptual piece that uses arguments from well-established theories in marketing and management Findings - This paper suggests that cyber-intermediaries will continue to add value to the producer-consumer chain, benefiting both the producers and the consumers. Practical implications - The nature and type of products and services will define the role of the intermediary. They may be more useful in the low cost but frequently purchased product categories. Originality/value - The paper presents an integration of existing theories to understand the role of cyber-intermediaries.
 
Article
Purpose - Recent research suggests that organizations cycle through a small set of possible configurations. Each buying center as an informal organization within one of these four viable types of structure will exhibit distinct configuration attributes. Describing and predicting the buying center's configuration as indicated by organizational structure are the purpose of this research. Design/methodology/approach - Data collected via mail survey are used to classify organizations into hypothesized segments via K-means cluster analysis. Buying center structure is contrasted and tested for differences using MANOVA, MDA, and post hoc t-tests. Findings - The extensivity or level of participation in the buying center is significantly related to the type of organization. Organizational formalization and centralization are consistently related to the formalization and centrality of the buying center. Research limitations/implications - The generalizability of the findings is limited as the sample is from a single US geographical area. Buying center participation and structure may be a function of the product. Research findings are limited to a specific service. Practical implications - Awareness of the structure of the buying center is useful for marketing and sales managers. This knowledge can guide their efforts to allocate scarce sales resources at appropriate levels for business customers. Originality/value - This paper closes a gap in the business-to-business marketing literature about antecedents to the buying center's structure.
 
Article
Purpose - The article aims to investigate how product manufacturing firms can configure their global service approach. Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative, multi-case research design was employed. Findings - The following four global service approaches could be identified: integrated and ethnocentric; integrated and polycentric; separated and polycentric; and separated and geocentric. Research limitations/implications - The research findings are limited in generalizability because of the qualitative research approach. Practical implications - Exploring global forms of and supply chain configurations for services supports the efforts of manufacturing firms in developing new service-based and relationship-based value propositions. Originality/value - The study contributes to the debate on integrating versus separating the service organization. It offers a complementary explanation on integrating and separating the service business, through a differentiation into central and local (market) organizations.
 
Five components of the business-marketing offer 
Article
Purpose - The paper seeks to provide a framework identifying key attributes that business marketers can use to build a strong brand identity. Design/methodology/approach - The article is theoretical with case examples. Findings - Drawing upon the business marketing offer, five potential strategies for building brands in business markets are outlined. Practical implications - The paper identifies a contingent approach to brand identity in business markets. Originality/value - This is the first paper to identify a relationship between positioning, the buying process and brand identity in business markets.
 
Article
Purpose - This paper aims to explore the role that inter-personal relationships play in promoting or hindering the dissolution of business relationships operating in the UK food industry. Design/methodology/approach - The case study methodology was used to explore the dissolution of 11 business relationships and the role of inter-personal relationships therein. Findings - The findings demonstrate the critical role of personal relationships in the dissolution processing, acting as a catalyst, a precipitator and an extenuating factor in the dissolution process. Research limitations/implications - The case studies draw exclusively on the experiences and perceptions of suppliers to uncover the dynamics of dissolved business relationships. However, this is not surprising, given the sensitive nature of the subject. Moreover, the two-stage methodology used for identifying case study candidates should prove beneficial to other researchers in this area. Practical implications - The case study findings illustrate that important though they are, personal relationships are a means to an end not an end in themselves. Failure to use close personal relationships to deliver commercial benefits leaves the supplier vulnerable. Originality/value - This is one of very few papers to provide empirical evidence of the dissolution process in business relationships, using a novel case study methodology that may prove useful for other researchers working in this under-researched area.
 
The components of career development  
Article
Purpose ? The purpose of this article is to explore career development programs for the sales force including benefits, implementation and managerial implications. Design/methodology/approach ? Career development programs are viewed through a conceptual model consisting of assessment, direction and development. Findings ? This paper provides a comprehensive list of the benefits of a career development program for sales forces. Practical implications ? The conceptual model can serve as a checklist for sales managers to evaluate, add to or modify their programs. The conceptual model also provides a framework for tying together many disparate areas of career development that have been handled separately or ignored in the sales management literature. Originality/value ? This paper provides a comprehensive conceptual model of career development that has not been present in the sales management literature. This should be useful to sales managers in evaluating their own career development efforts. The framework should also be useful to sales management scholars who teach and do research in this area.
 
Article
One of the major hot research topics is relationship marketing. However, limited research has been carried out on the complex notion of guanxi (literally, relationship) in Chinese society. Misunderstandings and misconceptions concerning this significant topic persist. Aims to explore the mapping of guanxi in relationship marketing so as to present a comprehensive guanxi model suitable for businessmen in a Chinese context. Case examples were also used to test the model in a real-life situation. Both theoretical and managerial implications are given. The theoretical framework includes a new model of various systems: guanxi perceptual map, routings and yin-yang dynamic. The managerial implications explore guanxi mechanisms and different dynamic perspectives with mind-heart and insider-outsider dimensions. In addition, recommendations for future research are made.
 
Article
Sales quotas typically "drive" sales organizations. As such, the ability of the sales organization, both individually (the salesperson) and the group (the total collection of the sales professionals), to accomplish its quota has a significant impact on the performance of the sales and marketing organization, as well as the entire firm. Within the context of this use, quotas represent a critical sales goal, although very little is actually known about their strategic or operational use within marketing organizations. The purpose of this paper is to investigate quotas from a strategic and operational perspective to provide additional insight into understanding sales quotas. Specifically, this manuscript investigates the consequences of failing to achieve quota and the relationship between these consequences and salesperson performance, salesperson income, and the firm's annual sales revenue. In addition, the relationship between these variables and quota difficulty, and quota performance are explored.
 
Article
Despite long-standing interest in the quality movement by marketing scholars, marketing managers have not seized opportunities to provide leadership as the quality movement has centered attention on customer satisfaction. Significant corporate investments in quality programs suggest that the recent revision of the ISO 9000 standards to focus on collection and use of customer satisfaction data may provide marketing managers an invitation to meaningfully enter the quality dialogue. Collaboration between marketing and quality management is problematic because the two functions are highly differentiated. This article draws on work in organizational learning and organizational behavior to identify criteria for successful collaboration between marketing and quality management and to propose a process for meeting the new ISO 9000 requirements.
 
Article
Purpose The authors propose to reply to the comment by Mario Rese on the article “The explanatory foundations of relationship marketing theory.” Design/methodology/approach This paper provides a critical analysis. Findings The comment of Rese has misspecified the major problems facing those firms adopting relationship marketing‐based strategies. Practical implications In order to find the answers as to why some relationship marketing efforts are successful and others are not, marketing managers must look at more than one research tradition. Originality/value This paper clarifies the eight types of factors that influence relationship marketing‐based strategy success.
 
Article
Electronic publishing needs a strong input of marketing thinking. Technological hype has created a sales fetish which has little evidence to support its claims. The substantive benefits when a broader perspective is taken for authors and readers are very significant, including considerably faster publication and much wider dissemination via Internet. Archival knowledge and current awareness/browsing of the body of knowledge and information require quite different marketing approaches. Little attention has been given to their discrete needs. Draws comparisons from retailing theory and from the emerging range of experimental cases from Internet pioneers to identify robust strategies for short- and medium-term action by publishers. They imply a determined effort to avoid hard selling and product-driven mindsets in favor of exploitation of the scope for interactive and integrated marketing to authors and readers alike.
 
Article
Purpose ? The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the emergence of the network society from the perspective of planned and spontaneous order. Design/methodology/approach ? Conceptual analysis based on extensive familiarization with literature. Findings ? The network society does not increase either planned or spontaneous ordering of economic activity, but their interplay. Research limitations/implications ? The paper produces a number of research implications at global, industry, relationship and firms levels of analysis. Practical implications ? Businesses should craft practical strategies and policies on the assumption of constant change, build networking capabilities and be reactive to discontinuities in technologies and business models. Originality/value ? The paper is a unique multi-level account of the impact of the network society on the type of economic ordering it creates.
 
Article
A better understanding of relational interdependency can help a buyer manage an effective level of commitment with a supplier and, consequently, increase successful exchange outcomes. The buyer which successfully manages relational commitment, encourages the supplier to make transaction-specific investments for the buyer-supplier working partnership. However, as the supplier makes these non-redeployable investments, it also increases dependence on the buyer. The caveat is that a supplier which perceives a decline in buyer commitment will likely act to decrease this dependency on the buyer.
 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop a more precise conceptual understanding of the interplay between food product traceability and supply network integration. Design/methodology/approach A resource‐based network approach was used to create a framework with empirical evidence from a fresh strawberry product case. Findings A conceptual model describes product traceability as interacting with different organizational and informational resources. Research limitations/implications This is a preliminary model that substantiates a cross‐functional approach teamwork‐based to developing product traceability. Originality/value The study shows developing food product traceability as a complex undertaking dependent on information connectivity including a technical aspect of supply chain integration, and different forms of knowledge, an organizational aspect of supply chain integration.
 
The hypothesized model 
Article
Purpose The purpose of this article is to examine the relations between important sales presentation skills and salesperson job performance. Design/methodology/approach Data on each construct in the model was gathered and the relations analyzed using LISREL software. Findings Salesperson experience, and to a lesser degree training, underlie sales presentation skills. Salesperson skill at using adaptive selling techniques and closing are related with increased performance. Research limitations/implications Additional sales skills need to be considered and salespeople other than those in the B‐B environment should be studied. Practical implications Sales managers are urged to ensure their B‐B salespeople develop their skills in adaptive communication and closing as one means to improve sales performance. Originality/value The findings highlight the importance of salesperson experience and training in developing the skills that contribute to sales performance.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to investigate how product-centric businesses (PCBs), operating in a business-to-business environment, develop industrial services to align with their services strategies and sources of market differentiation. PCBs are companies whose businesses were historically based on the products, rather than the services, that they sold. Design/methodology/approach – This was a UK-based study that included interviews with 40 managers in 25 industrial companies for whom services are a market differentiator. Findings – The empirical results show that PCBs' industrial services are aligned with their services strategies and sources of market differentiation and can be categorised, i.e. “discrete services”, closely linked to PCB-supplied products, either their own or those of other suppliers; “product lifecycle services”, concerned with product-related activities throughout the lifecycle of a PCB's products; “output-based solutions”, providing solutions to customers' operational issues. Modularity in design means that service categories are often backward compatible, meaning that PCBs supplying output-based solutions can also supply product lifecycle and discrete services. Research limitations/implications – The main limitation is the focus on the perspective of suppliers, with customers likely to impact which service offerings PCBs provide. Practical implications – PCBs should align industrial services with their resources that provide market differentiation, for example related to their products or relationships with other parties. Whilst it can be valuable to increase the range and depth of services provided to customers, creating modular offerings will ensure that customers are able to find an appropriate level of services engagement with their product suppliers. Originality/value – The study provides a new typology of PCB service categories that are related to services strategies and sources of market differentiation.
 
Article
Purpose - The purpose of the paper is to identify the elements of professional key account management programs, to understand the success factors and to create an integrated framework. Design/methodology/approach - The article is based on an analysis of the existing literature as well as on several qualitative research projects. Existing content from around 30 years of KAM research and practice was reviewed. A total of 18 companies were analyzed using case study methods and action research approaches. A total of 27 interviews with practitioners and 18 workshops were conducted to conceptualize the integrated KAM framework. Findings - Key account management is more complex than the existing literature suggests and companies believe. A professional KAM framework addresses two different target groups: key account managers (and teams) and the company's management (or someone the responsibility of the entire program is delegated to). Both groups have to pay attention to five dimensions of KAM (named strategy, solution, people, management, screening) and several aspects that are different for each group. Practical implications - A full overview about all the necessary elements of a professional KAM program can be used to assess a company's ways of working with strategic customers and to conceptualize or optimize an entire KAM program. Originality/value - The presented framework is the first that integrates the different views of the two most important target groups of KAM. It offers a unique overview of all important elements.
 
Article
Discusses the example of the Whirlpool Corporation and its penetration of the European market in recent years. Examines the stages in the performance loop used to develop and sell products in any given market. Summarizes the approaches formulated from the planning stages above, such as acquisition, together with the introduction and positioning of new and existing brand names in the correct marketsegment. Concludes that marketing globally requires a flexible approach in order to meet the differing competitive scenarios.
 
Article
Utilization of the telephone to add incremental business is now an accepted merchandising approach. What only a few short years ago was viewed as “nuisance calls” has now developed into a second-level marketing arm at firms and associations across the country. This report overviews this “newest” marketing tool — its roots, structure, pitfalls, and potential.
 
Article
Considers the need for industrial producers (intermediaries) to be flexible and adapt their channel, e.g. commercial and consumption, strategies to the changing demands of producers and end users. Summarizes that the differing outputs demanded by the above – e.g. steady flow of consumption and stock inventory for the former, product variety and waiting time for the latter – should not conflict even though end users dictate the intermediaries priorities. Concludes that intermediaries should position themselves effectively between producers and end users and differentiate in order to retain their niche and avoid being taken over, the above being capable of performing many of their functions themselves.
 
Article
Purpose – This study aims to fill the void of previous research in organizational innovation. The understanding of the factors that affect intra-firm diffusion of innovations, which include the proactive management support and participation comprehensiveness from the adopting firm, as well as the provider’s support of innovation utilization has been advanced. In addition, the extent to which the consequent intra-firm diffusion affects both the adopter’s and provider’s benefits has been explored based on their relationship. Design/methodology/approach – A mail questionnaire on the organizational purchase and utilization of customer relationship management (CRM)-type database systems was developed for collecting data. A random sample of 480 firms from the Hong Kong Chambers of Commerce Directory was obtained. From the initial phone calls, 343 firms currently using a CRM-type database system were identified, and the questionnaires were mailed to the managers of these firms. In total, 163 responses were finally returned with usable data, for a response rate of 47.5 per cent. Findings – The current study focuses on the causes and the effects associated with successful diffusion and utilization of innovation within a firm. Using data from business-to-business markets, the results find that the two parties involved benefit when both proactively participate in the intra-firm diffusion process; that is, benefits are created for the adopter via improvement in efficiency; and for the provider via establishment of a long-term relationship and switching costs. Research limitations/implications – First, any moderating impact of the adopting firm’s technological capabilities was not analyzed. Second, the research results were obtained from a sample of software product innovations (especially database management system). Even though it could be assumed that these results can also be applicable to other types of innovations (e.g. process innovations), empirical tests of our framework based on different innovation typologies are still warranted. Practical implications – First, for an innovation-adopting firm, we have shown that a wide use of purchased innovations among the organizational members is at least as important as the adoption of new innovations. Second, we have included the participation comprehensiveness of adoption decision, arguing that the organizational decision-making process is also crucial to stimulating intra-firm diffusion. Finally, and more importantly, our study calls attention to the provider’s role in expediting intra-firm diffusion. Originality/value – First, we have suggested an analytic framework for intra-firm diffusion of an innovation and also provided its empirical support. Particularly, the current study has focused on the subsequent effects of intra-firm diffusion on both the adopter’s and the provider’s benefits. Second, we have examined further impact of the comprehensive participation of adoption decision on spreading innovation information, which subsequently stimulates the innovation’s intra-firm diffusion.
 
Article
Purpose – The current knowledge concerning how organizations adopt innovations is considerably less than the sum of its parts. The aim of this paper is to review the innovation adoption and diffusion approach and connect it with the main related theoretical fields within business-to-business marketing. Design/methodology/approach – The paper provides a conceptual discussion, the aim being to develop an integrative conceptual framework. Findings – The adoption and diffusion approach gives little indication of the effects on adoption of the established relationships and the wider relational setting comprising the direct and indirect influences between the network actors. It is rather the innovation and the related communication that are in focus. As a result, the innovation and its adoption and diffusion are considered unique phenomena, the actors are assigned the static roles of opinion leaders and change agents, social system can be defined, and there is no competition. The current theoretical approaches within the business-to-business marketing could provide support in building a more realistic view of adoption and diffusion in industrial context. Originality/value – The contribution of the proposed conceptual model lies in its capacity to take into account organizational behavior in the form of individual-level actions that underpin the adoption process and relate this intra-firm behavior to its wider network context, thereby facilitating the production of a system-level account and a holistic understanding of the phenomenon of adoption.
 
Article
Purpose – This paper aims to examine the factors that affect the adoption of technological innovations in a service industry, like the higher education industry. Specifically, the use of Web-based technology (WEBCT/blackboard) by faculty and administrators in universities in Egypt in the delivery of educational material and communication with students and peers is the focus of this study. Design/methodology/approach – A distinctive business-to-business (B2B) model is developed drawing on Rogers’ innovation adoption model, the resource-based view of the firm, as well as theoretical and empirical foundations in previous innovation adoption literature. The model is testified drawing on the results of empirical work in the form of a large survey conducted on 200 faculty and administrators in two different universities in Egypt. Structural equation modeling is used to test the research model. Findings – In addition to the attributes of the innovation, all university-based factors as well as one service provider factor, namely, need for interaction, were identified to have a significant influence on the adoption of technological innovations in the higher education industry. Originality/value – This paper attempts to enhance current understanding of the adoption of innovations in an important industry like the higher education industry. Empirical results shed light on influential factors when adopting technological innovations by faculty and administrators in the higher education industry. This is the first empirical study of this type to be conducted in the Middle East.
 
Article
This article has no abstract
 
Article
Cooperative advertising is intended for the mutual benefit of channel partners. Shows that manufacturers and dealers/distributors in the boating industry view this marketing activity very differently. Manufacturers see no connection between cooperative advertising and other aspects of the relationships with their dealers. On the other hand, dealers relate their views of cooperative advertising to other facets of their relationships with manufacturers. Consequently, when there is conflict over cooperative advertising, it is liable to have a negative effect on other arrangements that dealers have with manufacturers. Manufacturers may not understand how negativity creeps into other relationships between dealers and themselves.
 
Article
Defines the nature and use of specialty advertising. Looks at the perceived value of specialty advertising to industrial company marketers and shows the trends as determined by a nation-wide (US) survey in actual use in specific categories of sales promotion media. Concludes that manufacturers should actively seek 'the right item' for each of its target markets.
 
Article
Describes an empirical study examining the strategies of auto parts suppliers to transplanted Japanese OEMs. Finds that suppliers have become more customer-focused, following the marketing concept, and also more aggressive in buying from second tier suppliers, in accordance with reverse marketing. Examines the background to the growth of Japanese OEMs in North America, together with an analysis of the traditional marketing concept, reverse marketing and the Japanese hierarchical structure of suppliers. Concludes that reverse marketing leads to strong partnerships, and that relationships with both existing and new suppliers must be developed. Relates the research to the oretical concepts and offers managerial recommendations.
 
Article
To many American businesses, particularly consumer goods companies, the Soviet Union appears to be a vast, untapped market. Within the United States and other Western countries the competition is fierce and markets are often saturated. By contrast, competition in the Soviet Union is virtually nonexistent, and demand is often insatiable. Soviet factories have been unable to supply the populace with adequate quantities of consumer goods. Furthermore, domestically made products are often of poor quality. Consumers have billions of rubles in their savings accounts, not because they are cautious spenders, but because there is so little to buy. All of these factors seem to add up to a consumer marketer's image of heaven.
 
Article
Purpose – This paper aims to evaluate the relationship between organisational resources, technological innovation, relationship quality and enterprise performance, as well as the mediating effect of firm–supplier RQ. Design/methodology/approach – A survey was conducted of the palm oil processing sector in Malaysia, consisting milling, refining and oleo-chemical companies. Data were gathered and used to statistically test hypotheses that underpinned a proposed conceptual model. Findings – Organisational resources have a direct impact on RQ, which, in turn, has a direct effect on performance indicators such as financial performance, market effectiveness and strategic objectives. RQ is a mediator in some of the resource-performance relationships, which underpins the genesis of the research undertaken. The mediating role played by RQ in promoting business performance in the palm oil processing sectors, is achieved through translating the effects of organisational resources into improved business performance. Research limitations/implications – The main limitation of this study lies in its cross-sectional nature. A single respondent was drawn from each company, and information from each respondent was obtained only once and at a single point in time. Practical implications – The results offer some suggestions to top management, e.g. on the type of resources to invest in and exploring vital relational issues that enhance performance outcomes and the impact of different sets of resources on relational dynamics. Originality/value – Very little is known about the application of resource-based view in the Asian context, or how RQ affects business performance from the East Asian perspective. By confirming the strong impact of RQ on business performance in the Asian context, the study adds value by providing evidence from the East. The study also makes a contextual contribution, by demonstrating the applicability of the observed relationships among palm oil processing companies from a non-Western, collectivist society.
 
Article
Reports on an exploratory study (mail survey) of industrial supplier satisfaction with the purchasing partnership format and how these agreements can relate to current market conditions. The respondent sales managers had very positive attitudes toward, and expectations from, purchasing partnerships. For some, these partnerships appear to be the only way to compete in an unstable market. It appears that the responsibility for keeping the arrangement mutually profitable is that of the supplier. It also seems that top managers will have to be more involved with these accounts because of the large sales volumes generated by each. The suppliers reported a need for a better flow of information from buyers which can be facilitated by a purchasing partnership. The major partnership challenges for suppliers are to maintain fair profit margins for themselves and to build buyer loyalty so that competitors cannot interrupt the relationship.
 
Article
Purpose - With B2B (business-to-business) and new developments in marketing as the springboard, to emphasize the necessity of heeding complexity and context by addressing marketing as a coherent, relational system. Methodology/approach - Conceptual analysis based on new developments in marketing, network theory, and case study research; and the thesis that any company or marketing situation directly or indirectly embraces both B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) issues. Findings - First, recent marketing theory points to the need for a network and systems approach to marketing and to changing roles between suppliers and customers. Two of these developments, many-to-many marketing as a broadening of relationship marketing (RM) and CRM (customer relationship management), and the service dominant logic (S-D logic) stress C2B (consumer-to-business) and C2C (customer-to-customer) interaction, exposing the customer’s active role. Second, a practitioner contribution, the cross-disciplinary IBM servicescience program, is enrolling academic research and education in the development of more functional and seamless service systems that work in real settings. Third, the conventional divide in goods and services marketing is conceptually dissolved in favor of supplier-customer interaction leading to value propositions and the co-creation of value. Research implications - B2B, B2C/C2B and C2C aspects are part of an integrated, complex context. Case study research and network theory allow researchers to let complexity and context to come forward. Network theory should be used in all marketing and not only on B2B. Definitions, categories and concepts in use need to be constantly evaluated as to validity and relevance for contemporary and future marketing. The conventional economic sectors(manufacturing, services, agriculture) are supplier-centric whereas marketing prescribes customer-centricity; consequently they should not be used in marketing. By focusing on continuous theory generation, an open source code and mass collaboration, “testing” and critiquing theory is superfluous; instead generate better theory to replace previous theory. Treat marketing as an aspect of all company activities; in a network every node and link can potentially affect any other part of a network. Practical implications - For marketers to better overview complexity and context of their specific marketing situations, to systematically observe relational phenomena and the customer’s role, and as a consequence better foresee opportunities and avoid mistakes in their marketing planning. Originality/value - In the light of new research and conceptualization, the article offers a network view which is only marginally represented in research and education in marketing. With bigger and more global systems and growing dependency on software and the Internet, the need to address integrated systems becomes urgent. In the new logic of service and value creation, marketing categories are being dissolved and the reductionism and linearity of Western science are being challenged in favor of a broader network approach. The dependency between B2B and B2C has been noted before but we go further and treat these as perspectives of a grander marketing context and not as independent categories. The analysis of B and C combinations displays the broadened role of customers in value networks. Goods and services are intertwined and can only be understood and handled in a unified context.
 
Details of participants 
Article
Purpose – The aim of the paper is to develop a conceptual framework that explores the sources of manufacturer brand benefits for resellers. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reports a qualitative investigation where packaged goods resellers were interviewed about the benefits of manufacturer brands for their businesses. The qualitative data is analysed to develop several research propositions about the role of brands in reseller B2B relationships. Findings – A conceptual framework is developed that shows that manufacturers' brands provide financial, customer and managerial benefits for resellers. These benefits have an impact on reseller relationship outcomes with the manufacturer's brand, which include satisfaction, dependence, cooperation, commitment and trust. Practical implications – The conceptual framework provides a model that manufacturers of both major and minor brands can use to understand and manage these brand benefits in order to enhance the relationship outcomes with resellers. Originality/value – The paper responds to a need for empirical research to understand the role that brands play in channel relationships. It presents a conceptual framework that links manufacturer brand benefits to reseller relationship outcomes. The framework also includes major and minor brands as moderating variables and thus provides a basis for further quantitative research.
 
Article
County Community Bank (CCB), the largest community bank in the state of Mississippi, built its success in the regional business market through relationship marketing and a high-touch approach. However, by the mid-1990s, CCB management began to believe that its image as “a small town bank” would be detrimental to future success. To be better aligned with new national competition, an image change was undertaken whereby the bank shifted its competitive advantage to include the area of technology, eventually becoming one of the most technologically aggressive banks in the state, and even the region. Had CCB become too product-driven in its business-to-business marketing decisions, or were they still customer-driven? Had the changes resulted in the intended outcomes? Consequently, CCB commissioned a market research study in which current business customers were surveyed. The results of this study are presented. This case ends with discussion questions that will assist in guiding the instructor and students in the interpretation of the research results and, ultimately, in making recommendations to the bank regarding how best to attract and manage business customers.
 
Article
Trade in services account for an estimated $810-billion and has been growing at an average of 16\% per year for the past decade. World insurance trade has grown less rapidly than trade in other services and some managers blame trade barriers. This dissertation investigates the importance of trade barriers to the managers of international insurance services. Non-tariff barriers (NTBs), have been shown to have an important impact upon international trade in services. Foreign direct investment and market entry strategy theory do not adequately address the importance of trade barriers in the decision making process. While the basic market entry strategies as well as specific entry strategies for insurance firms are well established, the literature related to international marketing of services indicates that service firms need to establish local presence to be successful. Where firms are unable to enter a market because it is blocked by trade barriers, some researchers suggest managers engage in specific entry strategies or strategic actions to overcome barriers. This study is based on interviews with 23 managers representing ten U.S.-based insurance firms, one international insurance trade association and ten non-U.S. based insurance firms. The objective of the study was to identify the perceptions of various barriers held by these managers, the effect of these barriers on specific country entry decisions and the entry strategies or strategic actions managers use to overcome these barriers. This study shows that in general trade barriers are one of several factors managers evaluate when deciding whether to enter a market. But barriers can become a critical factor if they create prohibitive costs or difficulties. Based on the findings, this study proposes a new model of market entry decision making and also includes the option of strategic actions managers may take in lieu of market entry. Respondents saw some specific barriers as critically important. Contrary to theoretical expectations, these critical barriers are not necessarily related to establishment of local presence. In addition to outright prohibition of foreign insurers, the most significant barriers were seen as unenforceability of insurance contract provisions, foreign firm permission to insure their nationals or firms only and discriminatory taxation. Generally managers took more market entry or strategic actions in countries where they perceived the barriers to be lower than in countries where they thought the barriers were higher. The actions taken most frequently were to attempt to influence local decision makers through the legitimacy of the firm's position or the prestige of the firm. The most sophisticated respondents take a long term view and often begin several strategic actions with home and host governments to overcome barriers.
 
Article
Focusses on a seldom-studied barrier to the adoption of innovation, namely, the installed base of the technology or the product being supplanted. Examines three dimensions of this “installed base effect”, namely, supply, demand, and externalities. Describes the magnitude of these barriers and makes recommendations for overcoming them.
 
Article
The Need for Ethical Standards The 1970's and 1980's have witnessed an increased concern about building an ethical foundation upon which to make better business decisions in those areas where the Tightness or wrongness of those decisions is open to question. Ethics is the name given to the attempt to think through the moral implications of human actions; business ethics is the study of the morality of business decisions and the determination of standards for those decisions.
 
Article
States that despite the apparent difficulties in penetrating the Japanese domestic market due to thecomplexity and cost of distribution channels, several methods have been effective for Western firms in breaking down these barriers. Explains these barriers, both real and perceived, and suggests six alternative strategies for crossing them together with examples of firms which have used them. Concludes that while such strategies are undoubtedly useful in overcoming problems with Japanese distribution channels, these methods do not necessarily guarantee success. Stresses that Western business must acquire more understanding of Japanese culture in order to compete effectively in negotiations.
 
Article
Considers the need for industrial marketers to understand buyers' behavioural choices, which are affected by various factors. Examines types of behaviour and their implications for marketing strategy, offering a company example. Concludes that the development of a successful marketing strategy requires the accurate prediction of buyer behaviour, offering a useful model.
 
Article
Large agricultural producers often demand seed with high yielding genetics along with specialty traits specific to their particular needs. Dairyland Seed Company prides itself on its superior genetics and a research program that adds specialty traits while retaining the qualities of the original variety. Dairyland sources specialty trait technology from two competing suppliers – DuPont and Monsanto. Each of these suppliers is currently pursuing a strategy of forward integration through aggressive marketing programs and acquisitions. The implications for access to future technologies and long-term survival are profound, and leave Dairyland and other smaller seed companies with strategic decisions to make. This paper examines a channel of distribution for agricultural biotechnologies and the decisions faced by a small, reputable seed company when dealing with its large multinational biotechnology suppliers. Who should Dairyland be partnering with, and can Dairyland balance supplier dependency in an attempt to avoid being eliminated from the channel?
 
Article
Most research about relationships and networks concentrates on social bonds such as trust and commitment. Little research considers technical bonds and how they interact with social bonds within a relationship. Thus this research investigates how technical bonds of information technology link with social bonds in the relationship between two organisations in a business system, in particular, between a franchisor and franchisees within a franchise system. First, a framework of the structure of a relationship between business alliance partners was synthesised from the business-to-business literature. Then Australian franchisors were surveyed about the effects of their investments in information technology upon their franchisor-franchisee relationship. Structural equation modelling techniques were used to analyse the survey data. The results provided support for the framework, with the franchisor's increased technical competence from information technology improving the social bonds in a relationship but those bonds being secondary to further technical investment. An implication for managers is that investments in information technology operate through the social bonds within their business.
 
Article
Purpose - The paper seeks to investigate the role of branding in a B2B service context. Design/methodology/approach - This paper focuses on a particular B2B service industry, namely leasing mall space to retail tenants. A quantitative study is undertaken of 201 mall tenants using SEM analysis. Findings - The main finding was that brand attitudes were the most important influence on the contract renewal. Another major finding was that brand attitudes were mainly explained by service quality. Branding also played another, albeit minor role, in building trust between the supplier and the customers. Practical implications - The results can be used by industrial firms to build stronger brands and, in turn, to use these brands to maximize customer retention. Originality/value - This is one of the first studies to examine service B2B brands. It is also one of the first studies to examine the multiple roles that brand can play in B2B marketing.
 
Article
Describes how corporations have recently decided that development of strategic planning information can be improved through the involvement of lower-level line managers in their planning process. Proposes a practical method for organising middle-level line managers in sequential order so as to plan efficiently. Discusses some behavioural implications are discussed.
 
Article
Extremely high response rates ranging from 75 to 86 percent were obtained in three surveys among executives. While great diligence was exercised in following up respondents, a very potent motivator for respondents appeared to be the initial letter from a prestigious source. The components of the letter and their generality to other surveys are discussed in detail.
 
Article
In business to business marketing, customer service offers firms the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors and thereby establish a competitive edge. However, competing on the basis of customer service presents its own problems in the area of effectively segmenting markets and dealing with the free-ride phenomenon. This article reviews the premise of customer service competition. The findings are integrated into a set of guidelines for the organization contemplating the use of customer service as a competitive tool.
 
The effect of client sophistication on client-solicitor relationships 
Article
Purpose: This paper reports on a study which aims to identify the characteristics and determinants of client sophistication within the UK corporate legal services market and to investigate its affect in determining the nature and essence of client-solicitor relationships. Methodology/Approach: Uses depth interviews of a range of individuals involved in the selection and evaluation of legal services used by their organisations and practice lawyers working for a variety of regional and national law firms involved in the delivery of legal advice related to corporate and commercial issues. Findings: Findings suggest the level of client sophistication has a moderating influence in a number of key areas. These are identified as: service evaluation criteria; interdependency and power; the atmosphere in which solicitor-client interactions take place and relationships develop; the nature of joint personal relational goals and the role of trust and extent of commitment.
 
Top-cited authors
Wesley James Johnston
  • Georgia State University
Christian Grönroos
  • Hanken School of Economics
Roger Calantone
  • Michigan State University
Andreas Eggert
  • Freie Universität Berlin
Wolfgang Ulaga