Pricing strategy: A review of 22 years of marketing research

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.05.005
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Abstract
This article investigates the development and current state of pricing strategy research by undertaking a content analysis of 515 articles published in leading academic journals between 1995 and 2016. The results suggest several developments in research focus and methodology; recent research has focused more strongly on services and applies more rigorous research designs. The results also indicate a persistent focus on consumer markets and economic theories, as well as an increasing consideration of demand-side respondents, at the expense of supply-side respondents. An important feature of this review is a set of actionable takeaways, with both theoretical and methodological implications for pricing strategy research.
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Pricing Strategy: A Review of 22 Years of Marketing Research
Mario Kienzlera,*
Christian Kowalkowskia,b
a Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping,
Sweden
b Department of Marketing, CERS – Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management,
Hanken School of Economics, PO Box 479, FIN-00101 Helsinki, Finland
* Corresponding author. tel: +46 13 28 46 27
E-mail addresses: mario.kienzler@liu.se (M. Kienzler), christian.kowalkowski@liu.se (C.
Kowalkowski).
Abstract
This article investigates the development and current state of pricing strategy research by
undertaking a content analysis of 515 articles published in leading academic journals between
1995 and 2016. The results suggest several developments in research focus and methodology;
recent research has focused more strongly on services and applies more rigorous research
designs. The results also indicate a persistent focus on consumer markets and economic theories,
as well as an increasing consideration of demand-side respondents, at the expense of supply-side
respondents. An important feature of this review is a set of actionable takeaways, with both
theoretical and methodological implications for pricing strategy research.
Keywords: pricing strategy, literature review, content analysis, marketing, takeaways
____________________________________________________________________________"
This is a so-called personal version (author's manuscript as accepted for publishing after the review process but prior
to final layout and copy editing) of the article. Readers are kindly asked to use the official publication in references.
Original article:
Kienzler, Mario and Christian Kowalkowski (2017), ”Pricing strategy: A review of 22 years of marketing research,”
Journal of Business Research, Vol. 78, p. 101-110.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2017.05.005
Copyright: Elsevier www.elsevier.com"" "
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1. Introduction
Pricing has always been an integral component of marketing (Borden, 1964); of the traditional
marketing elements, only pricing creates revenue (LaPlaca, 1997; Shipley & Jobber, 2001). As
Morris (1987, p. 79) notes, “one of the more basic, yet critical decisions facing a business is what
price to charge customers for products and services.” This decision is particularly critical in what
The Economist (2013) calls the “age of austerity”—an era characterized by sales stagnation, no
reasonable possibility of cutting costs further, and price as the only remaining lever. In this
competitive environment, more than ever, a sound pricing strategy is required to facilitate
customer value creation, structure price decisions, and earn a profit (see Lancioni, Schau, &
Smith, 2005); Hinterhuber and Bertini (2011) caution that a deficient pricing strategy inhibits
profitability.
According to Gijsbrechts (1993, p. 115) though, “developing an appropriate pricing
strategy is both crucial and highly complex.” Prior research emphasizes its dependence on
various factors, such as the environment (Diamantopoulos, 1991), firm objectives, customer
characteristics (Tellis, 1986), and the pricing situation (Noble & Gruca, 1999). Different pricing
strategies in turn reflect these contingencies, such as price skimming, penetration pricing (Noble
& Gruca, 1999; Tellis, 1986), price bundling, price promotion, or complementary pricing
(Gijsbrechts, 1993). For the current study, a pricing strategy is the mean to determine relative
price levels by considering influential factors and thereby realizing certain business objectives in
a specific situation (Noble & Gruca, 1999; Tellis, 1986). Accordingly, “a pricing strategy
provides a systematic delineation of the elements that must be managed to achieve profitable
performance in a business” (Cressman, 2012, p. 246). Generally, these elements include the
intended pricing objective (e.g., profit maximization), the relative target price level (associated
with cost, competition, and/or customer value), and the internal and external factors (e.g., market
environment) that face the business (Noble & Gruca, 1999).
Noting the topic’s general relevance for marketing, this article provides a pertinent
literature review, motivated by three key arguments. First, existing reviews adopt either a
business-to-consumer (B2C) (Gijsbrechts, 1993; Tellis, 1986) or business-to-business (B2B)
(Noble & Gruca, 1999) perspective, making it difficult to assess marketing’s overall contribution
to pricing strategy research (PSR). Second, more recent reviews focus on specific pricing aspects,
such as behavioral pricing (Somervuori, 2014) or value-based pricing (Cressman, 2012), or
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address pricing research in general without examining pricing strategy literature in particular
(Leone, Robinson, Bragge, & Somervuori, 2012). Third, more wide-ranging reviews have been
conducted but were published several decades ago (Diamantopoulos, 1991; Rao, 1984), clinching
the compelling case for a more contemporary literature review.
Formally, this review therefore assesses the development and current state of PSR in
marketing on five dimensions: (1) market and offering focus, (2) topic, (3) theoretical foundation,
(4) research design, and (5) respondent profile. It highlights enduring features and critical
developments in the field; ultimately, the main contribution of this review is a set of takeaways
that suggest directions for further research.1 Similar to comparable reviews of other topics (e.g.,
Williams & Plouffe, 2007), it also offers an efficient starting point to acquaint readers with the
theoretical and methodological foundations of PSR.
The next section outlines the review method and research design, followed by a
discussion of the results. Significant developments during the sample period reflect the five
dimensions that inform the review, and this article ends with some discussions and implications
for research.
2. Method
Content analysis offers an appropriate means to evaluate documented communication,
systematically and quantitatively (Berelson, 1952). Content analysis is common in literature
reviews (e.g., Nakata & Huang, 2005; Papastathopoulou & Hultink, 2012; Williams & Plouffe,
2007) and is well suited to the investigation of developments over longer periods of time (Weber,
1990).
To select an appropriate sampling frame, the study began with a consideration of all
marketing journals in the latest version of the Chartered Association of Business Schools’
Academic Journal Guide (CABS, 2015) included in the Journal Citation Reports by Web of
Science. Additionally, the Journal of Business Research was included due to its high output of
marketing research. To ensure that the final list included B2B and B2C studies, as well as articles
pertaining to goods and services, several service-oriented journals included in the CABS also
were included. The study period, 1995–2016, provides both a contemporary and a long-term
assessment (see Williams & Plouffe, 2007). Web of Science (ISI) helped identify pertinent
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1 An anonymous reviewer helpfully suggested the inclusion of concrete directions for further research.
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articles; it is generally regarded as the most extensive social sciences database (Dahlander &
Gann, 2010). The pursuit of relevant articles relied on a keyword-driven search in ISI’s topic
field, querying for articles that contained the search term pricing” in their abstract, title, or
keywords. This initial search term was deliberately broad to identify all relevant articles, but the
search was confined to the chosen period and journal list.2
The search produced an initial sample of 980 unique articles. A subsequent review
determined whether they focused primarily on pricing strategy or had major implications for
pricing strategies, as previously defined. Inclusion depended mainly on the information available
in the title, abstract, and keywords; if inclusion or exclusion could not be determined that way,
the decision followed a careful reading of the full article. This screening procedure eliminated
articles in the initial sample that mentioned pricing strategy only in relation to another research
issue. Furthermore, only research articles (e.g., no editorials) were included. The final sample
therefore consists of 515 research articles whose main focus is on pricing strategy or has major
implications for pricing strategies. Figure 1 depicts the publication pattern of this sample (black
bars and left axis), along with the total number of articles (white bars and right axis) published in
1995–2016 in the investigated journals.
---Figure 1---
To highlight changes, the next categorization step assigned the articles in the final sample to two
time periods of equal length: those published in the first 11 years (1995–2005) and those
published in the second 11 years (2006–2016), as summarized by journal in Table 1. This scheme
identifies continuing changes in the field, rather than temporary variations.
---Table 1---
""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
2 Since the complete time period for all the investigated journals is not indexed in ISI, we supplemented the initial
search with an additional one in Scopus, Business Source Premier or the respective journal’s homepage if necessary.
The same keyword-driven search was applied. In total, 80 additional unique articles were identified.
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3. Results
3.1. Market and offering focus
In the first overview, articles about markets with consumers as primary buyers were assigned to
the B2C classification; those concentrating on business markets were identified as B2B. Articles
with a combined B2C/B2B focus were categorized as both. If the articles did not distinguish
specific markets or apply to any of these markets, they were classified as general. As Table 2
shows, most articles (68%) focused on B2C markets, and the others were distributed across the
three remaining categories. In line with previous research (e.g., Cressman, 2012), PSR in B2B
markets tends to be relatively sparse; research in B2B markets represents only about one-fifth of
the amount of PSR in B2C markets. During the current study period, PSR in B2C markets
increased and research in B2B markets decreased by similar percentages (χ2 = 7.38, df = 3, p <
.10). This change can be characterized as a significant trend, which highlights the enduring focus
on B2C research, excluding any other pertinent developments. The results might stem from
sampling limitations (e.g., number of managers with pricing responsibility and professional
buyers in markets for complex, high-value offerings), the absence of cost-effective data sources
(cf. consumer panels and students in behavioral labs), or the confidential nature of pricing for
most firms. In this respect, B2B research is not on an equal footing with B2C research; what is
expected of a rigorous B2C study, in terms of method and data, simply might not be possible for
B2B research.
---Table 2---
A cross-analysis of the market focus and CABS journal ranking shows that research on
B2C (46%), both (52%), or general (39%) markets was significantly more likely (χ2 = 41.92, df =
9, p < .001) to appear in premier publication outlets (e.g., Journal of Consumer Psychology,
Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of
Marketing) than was research focusing solely on B2B (31%).
Takeaway 1: To advance knowledge in business-to-business contexts and make inroads
into premier outlets, editors and reviewers must acknowledge B2B-specific limitations,
relative to consumer research (e.g., sample size, data access).
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Depending on the type of offering studied, articles also can be classified as oriented
toward goods or services. In line with recent conceptualizations of solutions, as relational
processes that embody a service-dominant logic (Tuli, Kohli, & Bharadwaj, 2007), articles that
addressed integrated combinations of goods and services were categorized as services. A both
category again referred to articles with a combined focus—for example, investigations of goods
in one experiment and services in another, as in Lee, Choi, and Li’s (2014) study of how
consumers’ regulatory focus influences reactions to partitioned and combined prices. If articles
did not distinguish specific offerings or apply to any offering type, they were classified as
general. As Table 3 shows, more than half of the articles (59%) focus solely on goods; 23%
address services, and 7% focus on both. The remaining 11% indicate no specific offering
category. A focus on goods is common across markets (B2C, B2B, and both with 62%, 48%, and
73%, respectively), except for general, where more research is offering-unspecific (48%), such as
conceptual articles (e.g., Basu & Vitharana, 2009) that typically apply to various market and
offering types.
---Table 3---
Previous studies highlight the increasing economic importance of services, prompting
calls for increased service research (e.g., Ostrom et al., 2010). Accordingly, PSR’s focus shifted
significantly over the 22-year study period (χ2 = 19.94, df = 3, p < .001), from goods toward
services. Pure goods-focused research decreased substantially (from 69% to 52%), with a parallel
increase of pure service-focused research (from 20% to 25%); research including both goods and
services also increased noticeably (from 2% to 10%). In contrast, PSR on solutions (i.e.,
integrated combinations of goods and services) remains sparse (1%, in total). The remaining
articles are broader and more general, discussing pricing strategy in relation to all types of
offerings; this category increased slightly (from 9% to 13%) between 1995–2005 and 2006–2016.
The growing service sector dominates most developed economies, so this increased focus
on services is a welcome development. Yet as Ostrom et al. (2010) suggest, more research is
needed. The results of the current review indicate growing PSR interest in services, yet their
specific characteristics—such as the non-ownership of services (Lovelock & Gummesson, 2004)
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and the opportunities and challenges this presents—raise interesting, rarely investigated questions
for devising successful service pricing strategies. In business markets, the increased importance
of services reflects the rapid growth of global business services (Wirtz, Tuzovic, & Ehret, 2015),
which coincides with the transition toward solutions selling, arising from opportunities for greater
customer value and larger margins for providers (Kowalkowski & Ulaga, 2017). Sharma and Iyer
(2011) call for investigations of the influence of effective pricing strategies on successful solution
provision. This valid suggestion remains unaddressed.
Takeaway 2: Research should address service pricing, including the influences of
common service characteristics (e.g., non-ownership) and specific contexts (e.g., global
business services and solutions) on pricing strategies.
3.2. Topic
To identify key themes during the study period, each article also was coded by its primary topic,
according to the pricing strategy frameworks by Tellis (1986) and Noble and Gruca (1999). They
differ slightly in focus (B2C and B2B, respectively), so their combination seemed most
appropriate for the purposes of the present study. The classification used for competitive pricing
was based on Noble and Gruca (1999) and Tellis (1986). The product-line and differential pricing
categorization instead relied on Tellis’ (1986) approach, except that price skimming was
excluded from differential pricing, because it already appeared with penetration and experience
curve pricing under new product pricing (Noble & Gruca, 1999). Extensions of the framework
then added “price promotion and discounts,” “channel pricing,” “organizational and market
aspects,” “psychological pricing,” and “international and export pricing,” reflecting the evidence
from the initial screening of the predominance of these topics.
Using this approach, the 515 articles could be divided into nine broad topics (with several
sub-topics) (see Table 4): product-line pricing (e.g., price bundling, partitioning); differential
pricing (e.g., degrees of price discrimination, such as personalized pricing [first degree], quantity
discounts and surcharges [second degree], and targeted pricing [third degree]); price promotions
and discounts (e.g., everyday low pricing, high-low pricing); competitive pricing (e.g., price
wars, predatory pricing, legal competitive behavior); organizational and market aspects (pricing
strategy influences and choices); international and export pricing; channel pricing; psychological
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pricing (e.g., framing, price endings); and new product pricing (e.g., skimming, penetration
pricing). The most popular topics were differential pricing (17%), product-line pricing (15%),
competitive pricing (14%), and price promotions and discounts (13%). Overall, differential
pricing, product-line pricing, competitive pricing, and price promotion and discounts, were more
popular in B2C studies; organizational and market aspects, channel pricing, and international and
export pricing were more common in B2B studies.
---Table 4---
Over the 22-year period, the research topics also changed significantly (χ2 = 28.01, df =
10, p < .01). Notable trends include increases in differential pricing (from 14% to 18%) and
product-line pricing (from 10% to 18%) and decreases in research on competitive pricing (from
17% to 11%) and price promotions and discounts (from 16% to 11%). The first and second most
popular topics in 1995–2005 became the third and fourth most popular in 2006–2016, and vice
versa. Some changes owe to journal-level changes, especially at Marketing Science, which has
published the most pricing strategy research. Follow-up analyses showed that the increase in
product-line pricing and differential pricing owes mainly to the increase of such articles in
Marketing Science in 2006–2016. Such trends might be explained by recent advances in
information technology, which provide richer data (e.g., scanner data, online data) for informing
these strategies (Dixit, Whipple, Zinkhan, & Gailey, 2008). The total number of articles on
pricing strategy increased substantially between 1995–2005 and 2006–2016, with a concurrent
decrease in the number of articles on price promotion and discounts in Journal of Marketing
Research, Journal of Retailing, and Marketing Science.
Because the four most popular topics represent 59% of all articles (see Table 4), several
underresearched areas invite further investigation, including the organizational and market
aspects of different but related strategies; managerial pricing strategy choices (e.g., price
skimming versus penetration pricing for new product pricing); customers’ perceptions of pricing
strategy (e.g., partitioning versus bundling); and customer involvement (e.g., negotiation versus
participative pricing). For example, participative pricing strategies, such as travel website
Priceline’s Name Your Own Price® system, go beyond traditional approaches by including the
customer as an active participant in the price-setting process (Kim, Natter, & Spann, 2009).
9
International and export pricing research also should better reflect the importance of
business services for economic growth (Wirtz et al., 2015) and the differing cost–revenue
structures of various services (Kwak & Kim, 2016). For example, self-service and remote service
centers with global coverage entail the same customer costs everywhere, yet the cost of local,
people-intensive services can differ significantly across countries (e.g., India and Switzerland).
Similarly, willingness to pay for after-sales services varies greatly between markets in China
versus Western Europe (Gebauer, Wang, Beckenbauer, & Krempl, 2007). The influences of such
differences on pricing strategies would offer a fruitful direction for theoretical and practical
research.
Increased online retailing and the diminishing lines between physical and online channels
also means that retailers can use multiple channels simultaneously. But until recently, research
has neglected “omnichannels” that deliver a seamless retail experience (Kozlenkova, Hult, Lund,
Mena, & Kekec, 2015). Consumers can buy a product from either a website or a bricks-and-
mortar store, and retailers’ costs and processes differ depending on the channel (Kozlenkova, et
al., 2015), but empirical investigations indicating when and how to differentiate prices remain
limited. More studies should investigate how firms can coordinate pricing strategies across
multiple channels.
Finally, the psychological aspects of pricing strategy have attracted ongoing research
interest, but with a clear focus on B2C markets. Some recent publications address pricing in B2B
markets (see Hinterhuber & Liozu, 2015), yet further research is needed to understand, for
example, how psychological factors influence managers’ pricing strategy choices (see Hunt &
Forman, 2006).
Takeaway 3: Research is needed on customers’ involvement in participative pricing,
international and export pricing for services, pricing strategy coordination in omnichannel
settings, and the psychological aspects of pricing strategy choices in B2B markets.
3.3. Theoretical foundation
The classification of the articles’ theoretical foundation borrowed from the rigorous method
employed by Williams and Plouffe (2007). To be classified as theoretical, articles had to
explicitly specify their theoretical foundation or anchor their theoretical framework,
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hypotheses/research questions, or discussion in a particular theory. Merely citing prior research
or mentioning a theory was not sufficient. On that basis, 47% of the articles were atheoretical, a
high number that roughly corresponds to the percentage of articles identified as atheoretical in
Williams and Plouffe's (2007) content analysis of sales research.
The 271 articles indicating one or more distinct grounding theories employed more than
100 different theories, very few of which were used extensively. Most theories appeared only a
few times in the sample, suggesting that PSR has diverse theoretical foundations. Among the
most popular were game theory (125 times), prospect theory (36), the anchoring and adjustment
framework (20), mental accounting (16), and utility theories (14).
These theories can be categorized further according to their origin. For example,
Kahneman and Tversky’s (1979) seminal work “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under
Risk” was published in Econometrica. Prospect theory developed further in response to the
economic theory of expected utility, so though both these authors are trained psychologists, the
theory originated and contributed principally to advances in the field of economics and thus was
considered an economic theory. The resource-based view of the firm, formally introduced by
Wernerfelt (1984), developed mainly in the field of strategic management, so it falls into the
business & management category. According to this analysis, economics (62%) and psychology
& sociology (21%) are primary theoretical foundations (see Table 5). Economic theories
predominate regardless of market focus (58%–82%), but B2C studies in particular often use
psychology & sociology theories (27%).
---Table 5---
Over the 22-year review period, the theoretical foundations changed significantly (χ2 =
14.35, df = 4, p < .01). Notable changes include a decrease in economics (from 67% to 60%) and
an increase in psychology & sociology (from 16% to 24%). Nevertheless, economics remains the
dominant theoretical foundation. The increased application of specific theories such as prospect
theory (from 5% to 11%) is also notable. While, the frequency of atheoretical articles did not
change significantly (51% and 45% respectively), relatively more atheoretical articles appeared
in lower ranked journals (χ2 = 18.85, df = 3, p < .001). Further exploration of theoretical research
reveals that differential pricing, product-line pricing, competitive pricing, price promotion and
11
discounts, channel pricing, and multiple topics have primarily economic foundations (between
56% and 100%, based mainly on game theory or prospect theory). International and export
pricing instead rely primarily on business & management foundations (57%, contingency theory).
Finally, and not surprisingly, psychological pricing has mainly psychological & sociological
foundations (47%, anchoring and adjustment framework). Only 17% of the sampled articles
blend two or more theories (12% in 1995–2005 and 21% in 2006–2016). Yet multiple-lens
perspectives, as commonly used in marketing, can offer original theoretical and practical insights
(Okhuysen & Bonardi, 2011). For instance, Guiltinan and Gundlach (1996) combined insights
from economics and marketing theories to develop a more comprehensive framework of
aggressive and predatory pricing, informing further PSR and guidelines for policy makers.
Despite recent changes, the persistent dominance of atheoretical and single-lens
economics research is noteworthy in light of contemporary issues (e.g., Uber’s dynamic surge
pricing) that require multiple theoretical perspectives to be fully understood. The strong negative
customer reactions to Uber’s surge pricing, which is based on the microeconomic notion of
supply and demand (Dholakia, 2015), cannot be explained by microeconomic theory alone.
Although PSR on dynamic pricing considers aspects such as fairness, additional theoretical
insights from psychology or sociology would likely support a better understanding of customers’
reactions. Similarly, psychological and sociological theories can reveal individual factors that are
likely to influence managerial decision making, as in Hunt and Forman’s (2006) study of risk
perceptions of alternate pricing strategies. By investigating a fuller set of managerial motives,
beyond purely economic ones, such studies shed more light on how managers actually choose
pricing strategies. In turn, by demonstrating each theory’s scope and boundaries, researchers can
identify explanatory gaps (Okhuysen & Bonardi, 2011). Pricing strategy research would benefit
from increased uses of blended theories and lenses, to develop new hypotheses and insights (see
Okhuysen & Bonardi, 2011; Woodside & Baxter, 2013).
Takeaway 4: To gain a better understanding of issues related to customer reactions to
different strategies (e.g., dynamic pricing) and managerial decision making (e.g., strategy
choice), theory development beyond established models that have been based mainly on
economics is needed; multiple-lens perspectives can aid this objective.
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3.4. Research design
A framework commonly used to classify articles by research design distinguishes them along two
dimensions: empirical–conceptual and qualitative–quantitative (see Nakata & Huang, 2005;
Papastathopoulou & Hultink, 2012). Table 6 shows the distribution of the sample articles across
the four resulting categories. Conceptual–qualitative articles typically entail some conceptual
framework; following Papastathopoulou and Hultink (2012), the current review also groups
literature or general reviews in this category. Empirical–qualitative articles generally use
interviews or case studies. Following established practice (e.g., Nakata & Huang, 2005), articles
using mathematical instruments to develop theoretical models were classified as conceptual–
quantitative, as were articles that modeled primary data. Finally, the empirical–quantitative
category comprises articles based on experiments and surveys. In PSR, modeling is the
predominant research design (41%), followed by experiments (27%) and surveys (10%). An
increasing number of articles employed two or more different research designs (from 24% to
33%).
As Table 6 illustrates, quantitative designs (86%) predominated over qualitative (14%),
but empirical designs (49%) and conceptual approaches (51%) were more evenly distributed.
Research designs also have changed significantly over time on both an aggregated (χ2 = 9.66, df
= 3, p < .05) and on a detailed level (χ2 = 86.90, df = 27, p < .001); developments include a
decrease in conceptual–quantitative (from 48% to 43%) but an increase in empirical–quantitative
(from 34% to 45%) designs. The use of mail surveys decreased (from 6% to 2%), telephone
surveys disappeared in the second period, and online experiments increased substantially (from
0% to 10%) to become a central research design.
---Table 6---
Comparing research designs (qualitative versus quantitative) on theoretical foundations
(atheoretical versus theoretical) reveals clearly that qualitative research is significantly more
atheoretical (χ2 = 15.09, df = 1, p < .001). A possible explanation is that qualitative methods are
well suited to exploratory research questions involving nascent theory (Edmondson & McManus,
2007), so they cannot really rely on established theoretical foundations. Additionally, higher-
ranked journals publish a higher relative share of quantitative and theoretical articles and often
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demand solid theoretical foundations. Among theoretical articles, game theory is most commonly
used for modeling, whereas prospect theory most commonly informs experiments.
A closer look at the quantitative–empirical designs also reveals that most experiments
(94%) are conducted in B2C markets and often use students as sole respondents (37%). In B2B
markets, surveys are the most common quantitative–empirical design (88%). In consumer
settings, researchers can set up behavioral research labs or recruit consumers online; B2B
research lacks these options, making experiments more difficult to conduct, replicate, and
modify. Whereas B2C experiments may involve hundreds of participants across several studies
(e.g., Lee et al., 2014), B2B experiments are generally smaller; in the current sample, the most
extensive B2B study (Luo, Kannan, & Ratchford, 2007) employed 249 metal and construction
workers in one conjoint experiment. However, experiments—especially field experiments with a
corporate sponsor—offer real value for firms. For example, Anderson and Simester (2011)
describe a field experiment that revealed that customers who bought an expensive product from a
firm and subsequently received a catalog with deep discounts spent less in the longer term.
Unlike surveys, field experiments help firms investigate customers’ actual reactions to pricing
strategies; they are both scientifically rigorous and practically relevant (see Anderson & Simester,
2011). In supply-side studies (e.g., Hunt & Forman, 2006), experiments also enable the
manipulation of different factors and can reveal causality for managerial pricing decisions.
Takeaway 5: Pricing strategy research and practice will benefit from more extensive uses
of experiments in B2B studies, from both the customer (e.g., purchasing managers) and
the supplier (e.g., marketing managers) sides.
Even though quantitative research designs, such as experiments and surveys, facilitate
theory testing, they can suffer from limitations, such as self-reporting bias. The use of
ethnographic and observational approaches would be useful in mitigating such shortcomings
(Davis, Golicic, Boerstler, Choi, & Oh, 2013); if researchers were to follow decision makers over
time in their natural settings, they could deepen understanding of the context-specific influences
and consequences of different pricing strategies. In particular, ethnography could explore how
management culture influences the development and perceptions of competitive or predatory
pricing strategies. It is noteworthy that Rao (1984) suggested to investigate management culture
14
in regards to competitive pricing behavior decades ago. This valuable suggestion remains largely
unaddressed; predatory PSR over the past 22 years primarily has appeared in conceptual work
(modeling, reviews, frameworks), and the empirical void remains to be filled. Special issues of
premier academic journals and dedicated sessions at established conferences should encourage
alternative, qualitative research designs.
Takeaway 6: Qualitative research designs such as ethnography and observations would
allow researchers to gain first-hand, in-depth understanding of the intricate, context-
specific processes of pricing strategy development.
3.5. Respondents
Because sampling profoundly affects empirical research, this review also considered respondents’
profiles, as reported in the 225 empirical–quantitative articles—specifically, whether respondents
came from the demand or supply side (Table 7) and which types participated (Table 8). Most
empirical–quantitative articles (67%) used demand-side respondents, though 27% featured
respondents from the supply side; only 7% collected data from both sides. On closer examination,
this demand-side focus reflects the many B2C studies (79%) involving such respondents, whereas
in B2B studies (80%), a strong supply-side focus prevails. Exceptions include Smith, Sinha,
Lancioni, and Forman (1999), who examine the demand side of pricing strategy in B2B markets,
and Chou and Chen’s (2004) supply-side focus in their B2C study.
The emphasis also shifted significantly during the study period (χ2 = 9.12, df = 2, p <
.05), such that the use of demand-side respondents increased (from 54% to 73%) while studies of
supply-side respondents decreased (from 39% to 21%). Unless supply-side elements of PSR (e.g.,
managerial choices among alternative pricing strategies) receive more attention, this imbalance
may hinder the field’s progress. However, the number of studies using both demand- and supply-
side respondents—albeit still at a low level (7% in both periods) —is encouraging and should
enable more comprehensive assessments of the topic, such as Ray, Wood, and Messinger’s
(2012) investigation of multicomponent systems pricing with data collected, among others, from
managers and from consumers through surveys.
---Table 7---
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To examine respondent types, no a priori categories were defined; instead, inductive–
qualitative coding yielded the five categories in Table 8. The distribution of respondent types is
relatively even, though pure student samples dominate (30%). Samples with no respondents (e.g.,
Voss & Seiders’s [2003] use of unobtrusive data collection methods to study price promotion
activities in newspapers) or unclear respondent types are least common (10%).
Nevertheless, the focus also shifted significantly in this regard (χ2 = 13.84, df = 4, p <
.01). Samples consisting exclusively of students (e.g., undergraduate, graduate, or MBA) dropped
substantially (from 35% to 27%) but remain predominant. Many multiple-respondent studies
continue to use student samples, supplemented with respondents from sources such as Amazon’s
Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Such studies, which have increased substantially (from 9% to 28%),
typically report multiple, distinct, but related experiments and recruit both students and
consumers (e.g., Danziger, Hadar, & Morwitz, 2014). However, the predominance of students in
multiple-respondent samples still outweighs the decrease in pure student samples. In contrast, the
decrease in managerial respondents (from 26% to 14%) is not mitigated by a corresponding
increase in their appearance in multiple-respondent studies. Managers influence strategic pricing
decisions—either directly, through pricing strategy authority, or indirectly, through
implementation—so their participation is crucial to pricing research. Overall, the sharp increase
in multiple-respondent studies appears beneficial, helping generalize findings beyond student
samples and supporting triangulation, which increases the analytical rigor of the field.
In addition, managers are by far the most common respondents (92%) in B2B studies;
students (37%), consumers (23%), and multiple respondents (27%) are the largest respondent
groups in B2C studies. These findings are perhaps not surprising, in that managers can best
answer questions about strategic decision making in B2B markets, students are commonly used
as proxies for consumers, and consumer behavior studies commonly report multiple studies in
one article.
Takeaway 7: Researchers should take more account of demand-side respondents (e.g.,
purchasing managers) in B2B studies and of supply-side respondents (e.g., marketing
managers) in B2C studies.
16
---Table 8---
4. Discussion and implications for further research
In the past two decades, the number of PSR articles in marketing journals has increased.
However, as the total number of published articles has increased too (see Figure 1), there has
been no relative increase in PSR. Moreover, PSR accounts for only about 2% of all research
articles in the sampled journals over the period reviewed (see Reid & Plank’s business marketing
review [2000] for a similar low percentage). To make pricing strategy more relevant to marketing
research, this review outlined key developments and actionable takeaways for the five
dimensions in Figure 2.
These findings also indicate significant developments along all of the five investigated
dimensions (see Figure 2). Although PSR remains predominantly focused on consumer markets
and goods, interest in services has strengthened. The research topics vary, yet there has been a
noticeable shift from competitive pricing and price promotions and discounts research toward
studies of differential pricing and product-line pricing. Although the theoretical foundations are
multidisciplinary and the use of psychology & sociology increased, economics clearly dominates
across both periods. The methodological trend favors more rigorous research designs. The results
also indicate an increasing focus on demand-side respondents, at the expense of supply-side
respondents.
---Figure 2---
4.1. Research context and topic
As this review highlights, PSR on B2B markets remains scant compared with research in B2C
markets; whereas two-thirds of all articles focus on B2C, only one-sixth of them specifically
address B2B. The B2C marketing domain offers favorable conditions to researchers, due to its
comparable simplicity to B2B (i.e., larger samples, more cost-efficient data sources) and the
greater number of public transactions (Grewal & Lilien, 2012), so this finding is no surprise. As
Grewal and Lilien (2012, p. 4) point out though, “B2B transactions account for the same dollar
value as B2C transactions” in the U.S. economy (as they have for decades), so the difference
between research on B2B and B2C, especially in top-tier marketing journals, still is striking. The
17
imbalance is equally evident in the pricing strategy subdiscipline. Perhaps not surprisingly,
“practicing managers and consultants” have done much of the work on pricing in the B2B
domain (Cressman, 2012, p. 246). There is no quick fix that can put PSR in the B2B domain on
an equal footing with B2C research, but journal editors and other academic marketing leaders
need to acknowledge this gap and take some action (Takeaway 1). This requirement includes
recognizing the unique insights to be gained through B2B studies; for example, a study based on
qualitative data from a relatively limited number of senior managers (n = 48), such as Sharma and
Iyer’s (2011) study on solution pricing, can contribute far more scientific and practical utility
than fieldwork with an equivalent number of consumers.
Unlike its failure to reflect the importance of the B2B domain, research focusing on
services has increased in recent years, paralleling the continuous growth of the service sector.
Services have a more strategic role in determining the competitiveness of many companies that
are classified as manufacturing firms. An implication for further research is thus to focus on
specific service characteristics and their impacts on pricing strategy (see Takeaway 2).
The review also highlights changes in investigated topics that are due to advances in
information technology and changes in journal output. Considering the research implications,
technological advances are likely to continue to have ramifications for underresearched topics
(see Takeaway 3). As objective customer data (e.g., transaction data from mobile payments),
collected through near field communications and other advanced technologies, becomes
increasingly available to researchers, opportunities to investigate contemporary topics, such as
participative pricing strategies and omnichannel pricing, also will expand.
4.2. Theory and schools of thought
Despite the range of theories employed, economics is clearly central; atheoretical articles are also
prevalent. Skouras, Avlonitis, and Indounas (2005) argue that “price is a central issue both for
marketing and economics” (p. 362) but that marketing’s “approach is pragmatic, operational and
flexible without any hint of dogmatic adherence to any particular theoretical view” (p. 369). With
this background, it is perhaps not surprising that marketing uses primarily economic theories that
provide mathematically formalized frameworks (e.g., game theory, prospect theory) to model
pricing strategy decisions and effects. However, marketing’s pragmatic approach is reflected in
the increasing application of psychological and sociological theories in recent years. To
18
strengthen the field’s theoretical foundation, researchers should explicitly base their contribution
on one or several specific theories (see Takeaway 4). Being explicit about theory usage does not
mean being less practically relevant; instead, it clearly establishes the foundation and builds on an
established knowledge base.
The current analysis of market focus, research topic, and research design, revealed three
“schools of thought” within PSR (see Figure 3), accounting for roughly half to two-thirds of the
515 articles.3 The first, which we refer to as the “modeling” school, adopts an economic focus
and uses mainly game theory. It generally relies on primary, secondary or no data, and it mostly
investigates the four most common pricing strategy topics and channel pricing (Table 4), often
published in Marketing Science, Journal of Marketing Research, and Journal of Retailing. The
second, “behavioral” school emphasizes behavior and uses mostly experiments. Relying mostly
on student and consumer data, it typically investigates differential, product-line, competitive,
price promotion and discounts, and psychological pricing, with frequent publications in Journal
of Retailing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Consumer
Research, and Journal of Consumer Psychology. The third, “strategic management” school
focuses on firm-level issues, often in B2B contexts, using qualitative research designs or surveys
to investigate organizational and market aspects or international and export pricing, for instance.
These studies mostly appear in B2B and mid-level, general marketing journals such as Industrial
Marketing Management, Journal of International Marketing, European Journal of Marketing,
and Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing.
---Figure 3---
The different schools of thought reflect different specializations, research traditions, and
communities. However, such balkanization tends to create isolated silos of knowledge, an
institutionalized effect that gets perpetuated by the design of doctoral programs, in which
candidates often must decide on a track rather than considering broadly which research questions
they want to investigate (Reibstein, Day, & Wind, 2009). In general, “there are few efforts to
address the critical challenges facing marketing managers from both the modeling and the
behavioral perspectives” (Reibstein et al., 2009, p. 1). The strategic management school, which
""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
3 An anonymous reviewer helpfully suggested investigating different research schools.
19
arguably addresses such issues, has struggled to compete with the two dominant pricing schools
and thus to make inroads into top-tier marketing journals. To address pressing managerial issues
and guide decision making, PSR should move beyond knowledge silos to integrate different
theories and lenses, especially from strategic management.
4.3. Research methodology
A longitudinal perspective on research designs highlights the enduring popularity of surveys and
experiments. Technological advances, especially in information technology, have supported
transitions to online experiments and the recruitment of participants through online platforms
(e.g., MTurk). However, experiments are almost exclusive to B2C studies. Despite the current
underrepresentation of experiments in B2B studies, experimental (field) studies are potentially
valuable alternatives for investigating causal mechanisms (Takeaway 5). Furthermore, qualitative
research designs are used only sparsely in PSR, despite the potential advantages that
ethnographic or observational studies offer to understand detailed empirical processes, such as
pricing strategy formulation (see Takeaway 6).
This review also suggests that two shortcomings identified by Diamantopoulos (1991)
have been overcome, at least partially: that “empirical work is restricted to supply-side studies”
and that PSR’s “scope is limited to studies utilizing data obtained directly from firms (i.e. through
surveys and case studies)” (p. 125). Today, the opposite is true; PSR has shifted toward the
demand side (Table 7), using a range of respondent types rather than focusing solely on firms
(Table 8). Respondents include students, consumers, and managers, and an increasing number of
studies employ some combination (usually students and consumers).
Although B2C studies focus on the demand side of pricing, the dominant focus on supply-
side respondents remains a challenge for B2B studies. As B2B companies strive to become more
customer-centric (Kindström, Kowalkowski, & Sandberg, 2013) and adopt value-based pricing
practices (Liozu, Hinterhuber, Boland, & Perelli, 2012), customer perspectives on contemporary
changes in business markets need to be better understood. In the B2C domain though, much of
what we know about pricing strategy stems from research with individual consumers (or students
as proxy consumers), especially in the wake of information technology innovations (e.g., MTurk,
online panels). A stronger supplier perspective in B2C studies would facilitate analyses of firm-
20
and individual-level factors that influence pricing strategy development and execution though
(see Takeaway 7).
5. Conclusions
This aggregated longitudinal analysis of 22 years of PSR in premier marketing journals highlights
the development and current state of the literature and identifies several directions for further
research. Although the present review confirms some progress in PSR, multiple research
opportunities remain. The takeaways (Table 9) provide impetuses for action; researchers, editors,
and practitioners can use these results to build a continuing dialogue about the optimal directions
for PSR. In particular, such a dialogue might help reduce the divergence between academic and
practical concerns.
---Table 9---
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Acknowledgment: The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from Torsten Söderbergs
Stiftelse, Sweden (grant no. E24/14). The authors also thank Harald Brege, Hugo Guyader,
Johanna Sylvander, Lars Witell, and Christina Grundström for their helpful suggestions on
previous versions of the article. Finally, the authors are grateful for the helpful comments and
guidance by two anonymous reviewers and the editors during the review process.
25
Table 1. Sample overview by journal and period
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
Notes: Journal inception for the following journals falls within the 22-year frame: Journal of Interactive Marketing
(1997), Journal of Service Research (1998), International Journal of Consumer Studies (2001), and Journal of
Service Management (2009).
Journal Title
19952005
2006–2016
n
%
n
%
n
%
Marketing Science
52
27%
88
28%
140
27%
Journal of Retailing
24
12%
39
12%
63
12%
Journal of Marketing Research
22
11%
34
11%
56
11%
Journal of Business Research
12
6%
23
7%
35
7%
Marketing Letters
10
5%
16
5%
26
5%
International Journal of Research In Marketing
9
5%
14
4%
23
4%
European Journal of Marketing
6
3%
15
5%
21
4%
Industrial Marketing Management
10
5%
10
3%
20
4%
Journal of Marketing
8
4%
10
3%
18
3%
Journal of Service Research
8
4%
8
3%
16
3%
Journal of Interactive Marketing
3
2%
9
3%
12
2%
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
3
2%
8
3%
11
2%
Journal of Services Marketing
5
3%
4
1%
9
2%
Psychology & Marketing
4
2%
5
2%
9
2%
Journal of International Marketing
5
3%
3
1%
8
2%
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing
5
3%
3
1%
8
2%
Service Industries Journal
1
1%
7
2%
8
2%
Journal of Consumer Psychology
1
1%
6
2%
7
1%
Journal of Consumer Research
1
1%
6
2%
7
1%
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing
6
2%
6
1%
Journal of Advertising
2
1%
1
3
1%
Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing
2
1%
1
3
1%
International Journal of Market Research
1
1%
1
2
International Marketing Review
1
1%
1
2
Journal of Consumer Affairs
1
1%
1
Journal of Service Management
1
1
International Journal of Advertising
International Journal of Consumer Studies
Journal of Advertising Research
Total
196
100%
319
100%
515
100%
26
Table 2: Sample classification according to market focus by period
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
Table 3: Sample classification according to offering focus by period
"
"
Market Focus
19952005
2006–2016
Total
n
%
n
%
n
%
B2C
123
63%
227
71%
350
68%
B2B
33
17%
32
10%
65
13%
Both (B2C & B2B)
24
12%
43
13%
67
13%
General
16
8%
17
5%
33
6%
Total
196
100%
319
100%
515
100%
Notes: χ2 = 7.38, dƒ = 3, p < .10.
Offering Focus
19952005
2006–2016
Total
n
%
n
%
n
%
Goods
135
69%
167
52%
302
59%
Services (including solutions)
40
20%
79
25%
119
23%
Both (goods & services)
4
2%
33
10%
37
7%
General
17
9%
40
13%
57
11%
Total
196
100%
319
100%
515
100%
Notes: χ2 = 19.94, dƒ = 3, p < .001.
27
Table 4: Sample classification according to primary topic by period
"
Table 5: Sample classification according to theoretical foundations by period
" "
Topic
19952005
2006–2016
Total
n
%
n
%
n
%
Differential pricing
28
14%
58
18%
86
17%
Product-line pricing
20
10%
59
18%
79
15%
Competitive pricing
34
17%
36
11%
70
14%
Price promotion and discounts
32
16%
35
11%
67
13%
Channel pricing
19
10%
21
7%
40
8%
Organizational and market aspects
14
7%
26
8%
40
8%
Psychological pricing
9
5%
22
7%
31
6%
International and export pricing
15
8%
6
2%
21
4%
New product pricing
6
3%
9
3%
15
3%
Multiple topics
13
7%
36
11%
49
10%
Other
6
3%
11
3%
17
3%
Total
196
100%
319
100%
515
100%
Notes: χ2 = 28.01, dƒ = 10, p < .01.
Theoretical Foundation
19952005
2006–2016
Total
n
%
n
%
n
%
Economics
84
67%
171
60%
255
62%
(e.g., game theory, prospect theory)
Psychology & Sociology
20
16%
67
24%
87
21%
(e.g., assimilation-contrast theory, regulatory focus theory)
Business & Management
7
6%
22
8%
29
7%
(e.g., contingency theory, resource-based view)
Marketing
5
4%
21
7%
26
6%
(e.g., endorsement theory, brand alliance theory)
Other
9
7%
4
1%
13
3%
(e.g., central place theory, graph theory)
Total
125
100%
285
100%
410
100%
Notes: χ2 = 14.35, df = 4, p < .01. Totals in the last line do not equal the number of theoretical articles, because
some articles include more than one theory.
28
Table 6: Sample classification according to main research designs by period
"
" "
Research Design
19952005
2006–2016
Total
n
%
n
%
n
%
Conceptualqualitative
23
9%
24
5%
47
7%
Framework
8
3%
7
2%
15
2%
General review
3
1%
1
4
1%
Literature review
1
9
2%
10
1%
Secondary data
2
1%
4
1%
6
1%
Theoretical piece
9
4%
3
1%
12
2%
Empiricalqualitative
21
8%
32
7%
53
7%
Case study
2
1%
6
1%
8
1%
Focus groups
2
1%
4
1%
6
1%
Interviews
16
6%
19
4%
35
5%
Other
1
3
1%
4
1%
Conceptualquantitative
122
48%
201
43%
323
45%
Citation/Meta analysis
1
1
2
Modeling (no empirical data)
53
21%
93
20%
146
20%
Modeling (primary data)
9
4%
23
5%
32
4%
Modeling (secondary data)
48
19%
68
15%
116
16%
Secondary data
11
4%
16
3%
27
4%
Empiricalquantitative
87
34%
209
45%
296
41%
Experiment (field experiment)
4
2%
19
4%
23
3%
Experiment (in the field)
7
3%
7
2%
14
2%
Experiment (lab)
26
10%
53
11%
79
11%
Experiment (online)
48
10%
48
7%
Experiment (unspecified)
7
3%
23
5%
30
4%
Survey (analogue)
5
1%
5
1%
Survey (assisted)
3
1%
4
1%
7
1%
Survey (e-mail)
1
2
3
Survey (mail)
16
6%
9
2%
25
3%
Survey (online)
1
11
2%
12
2%
Survey (street-intercept)
1
4
1%
5
1%
Survey (telephone)
3
1%
3
Survey (unspecified)
7
3%
8
2%
15
2%
Other
11
4%
16
3%
27
4%
Total
253
100%
466
100%
719
100%
Notes: χ2 = 9.66, df = 3, p < .05 (aggregated level); χ2 = 86.90, df = 27, p < .001 (detailed level)."
Since the data on the detailed level violate assumptions of Pearson’s chi-square test, results of
Fisher’s exact test via Monte Carlo estimation of p (5,000 samples; 95% CI [.0000, .0006]) are
reported. The bottom row total is greater than the total number of articles, because some include
multiple designs.
29
Table 7: Sample classification according to respondent side in empiricalquantitative articles by period
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
Table 8. Sample classification according to respondent type in empiricalquantitative articles by period
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
"
" "
Respondent Side
19952005
2006–2016
Total
n
%
n
%
n
%
Demand
40
54%
110
73%
150
67%
Supply
29
39%
31
21%
60
27%
Both (demand & supply)
5
7%
10
7%
15
7%
Total
74
100%
151
100%
225
100%
Notes: χ2 = 9.12, dƒ = 2, p < .05.
Respondent Type
19952005
2006–2016
Total
n
%
n
%
n
%
Students
26
35%
41
27%
67
30%
Consumers
13
18%
34
23%
47
21%
Managers
19
26%
21
14%
40
18%
No respondents/unclear
9
12%
13
9%
22
10%
Multiple
7
9%
42
28%
49
22%
Total
74
100%
151
100%
225
100%
Notes: χ2 = 13.84. df = 4. p < .01.
30
Table 9. Summary of key takeaways on pricing strategy research
"
No.
Key takeaway(s)
1.
To advance knowledge in business-to-business contexts and make inroads into premier outlets,
editors and reviewers must acknowledge B2B-specific limitations, relative to consumer research
(e.g., sample size, data access).
2.
Research should address service pricing, including the influences of common service
characteristics (e.g., non-ownership) and specific contexts (e.g., global business services and
solutions) on pricing strategies.
3.
Research is needed on customers’ involvement in participative pricing, international and export
pricing for services, pricing strategy coordination in omnichannel settings, and the psychological
aspects of pricing strategy choices in B2B markets.
4.
To gain a better understanding of issues related to customer reactions to different strategies (e.g.,
dynamic pricing) and managerial decision making (e.g., strategy choice), theory development
beyond established models that have been based mainly on economics is needed; multiple-lens
perspectives can aid this objective.
5.
Pricing strategy research and practice will benefit from more extensive uses of experiments in B2B
studies, from both the customer (e.g., purchasing managers) and the supplier (e.g., marketing
managers) sides.
6.
Qualitative research designs such as ethnography and observations would allow researchers to gain
first-hand, in-depth understanding of the intricate, context-specific processes of pricing strategy
development.
7.
Researchers should take more account of demand-side respondents (e.g., purchasing managers) in
B2B studies and of supply-side respondents (e.g., marketing managers) in B2C studies."
"
"
! !
31
Figure 1. Pricing strategy research and total number of published articles by year, 19952016
Figure 2: Key developments in pricing strategy research, 19952016
*Includes focus, topics, and research design.
32
Figure 3: Schools of thought in pricing strategy research and their typical features
  • ... Most independent c-stores are managed by single-store managers (Chisult Insight, 2018;NACS, 2019), whose limited resources may preclude the formalized, data-driven pricing processes prescribed in the literature (e.g., Nagle & Holden, 2002). It follows that the focus on the rational pricing practices of large companies (Kienzler & Kowalkowski, 2017) leaves a substantial research gap regarding the pricing practices of smaller companies (Carson, Gilmore, Cummins, O'Donnell, & Grant, 1998;Curran, Jarvis, Kitching, & Lightfoot, 1997). ...
    ... Additionally, the few studies addressing this issue have focused on manufacturing or service settings (e.g., Carson et al., 1998;Cunningham & Hornby, 1993;Curran et al., 1997), where prices tend to be negotiated for each individual order rather than for a large-scale assortment as in retailing, and many of the findings on intuitive entrepreneurial price setting (Curran et al., 1997) may not be applicable to retail settings. Finally, as previous studies have tended to adopt either a business or a consumer perspective but rarely combine both (Kienzler & Kowalkowski, 2017), it is both relevant and timely to investigate independent c-store managers' pricing practices and associated consumer perceptions. ...
    ... First, we identified six common managerial beliefs and ten common practices (Study 1) that inform intuitive decision making. Second, by comparing marketoriented managerial beliefs with actual consumer price perceptions and buying behaviors in a field study (Study 2), we responded to calls for further research on supply-side respondents (such as managers) to illuminate pricing issues in consumer markets (Kienzler & Kowalkowski, 2017). Third, we assessed the accuracy of managers' beliefs and the appropriateness of their ensuing practices, focusing on high external validity to advance existing research on pricing and intuition that questions the accuracy of managerial beliefs. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Independent store managers—who constitute a substantial portion of the retailing sector—often have limited resources with which to practice the formalized, data-driven pricing processes prescribed in the literature. On that basis, this article addresses how independent convenience store managers arrive at prices and whether their practices are effective. To begin with, 33 interviews with independent convenience store managers identified six common beliefs and ten practices underlying managers' intuitive decision making. Based on point-of-sale survey data from 1,504 customers of two c-store chains at petrol stations, a second study compared market-oriented managerial beliefs with actual customer price perceptions and buying behaviors. The combined insights from these studies reveal that managers base their pricing decisions on beliefs that are only partially accurate and suggests how managers might benefit by altering their price-setting practices.
  • ... Firstly, far less effort has gone into the studies on pricing in BtoB markets than those focused on BtoC relationships. In their broad literature review of studies on pricing in the last two decades, Kienzler & Kowalkowski (2017) found that only one sixth were dedicated to BtoB exchanges. ...
    ... Secondly, the focus on processes developed by the supplier to set the price (Kienzler & Kowalkowski, 2017) predominated, while the role of the supplier in the process received hardly any attention. In this stream of literature, the purchasing company is mainly viewed as a passive agent who waits for the offer formulated by the supplier. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    In the Kraljic Portfolio Matrix (KPM), ‘leverage’ items are purchases with a strong financial impact but limited associated risk. For these items, the priority for the buyer is to exploit the full purchasing potential, purchasing the items with the lowest price compared to their value attributes, i.e. the features appreciated by the customer. Despite the financial importance of such purchases, practical approaches able to support buyers in assessing their purchasing prices in a value-based perspective are still lacking. Therefore, this paper develops a three-step Data Envelopment Analysis-based approach (PPA-DEA) to assess the purchasing price of ‘leverage’ items according to their value attributes. The approach is then tested on two supply categories of an Italian mechanical company. The results show that PPA-DEA is capable of providing focused insights and supporting effective managerial actions. At the same time, the most relevant issues in implementing the approach are pointed out. From the theoretical point of view the study provides a contribution to the literature on supplier selection and assessment applied to purchasing portfolio models by developing an innovative approach to taking tactical decisions on ‘leverage’ products and services. From the practical point of view, PPA-DEA, albeit with a single case study, proves to be a “parsimonious” approach, easy to apply and able to provide concrete results.
  • ... However, even in the digital age, salespeople remain a critical locus of product knowledge and customer relationships, shielding the seller from attrition and other losses (Kaüferle and Reinartz 2015). And while abundant data from customers' online activity is being used to target price promotions and enhance profitability (Artun and Levin 2015;Kienzler and Kowalkowski 2017), evidence of the effectiveness of such practices is sparse and anecdotal (e.g., Baker, Kiewell, and Winkler 2014). Managers must therefore determine whether there is value in serving certain customers via both online and salesperson channels and what implications customer online channel activity has for price promotion strategies. ...
    ... The flow of information between the customer and seller impacts the efficacy of strategic promotions (Barone and Roy 2010). A ubiquitous promotion in B2B markets is differential pricing to match the heterogeneous needs of diverse segments or individual customers (Kienzler and Kowalkowski 2017;Tellis 1986). We examine customer-specific discounts, non-advertised price reductions deployed on a specific product toward a specific customer that are typically not rescinded (Simester and Zhang 2014). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    As business-to-business customers increasingly use online channels, sellers must reconsider strategic investments in at least two areas: the salesperson channel, which faces the threat of substitution, and customer-specific discounts, which may be more precisely targeted. The authors draw on communication theory to posit that a customer’s search and purchasing in the seller’s online channels interact positively with both salesperson contact and customer-specific discounts to drive the seller’s customer-level sales and profit return on these investments. A multimethod approach using a complex data set from a large industrial seller provides broad support for hypothesized effects. Two post hoc experiments reveal how online and salesperson channels are complementary, together improving customer–seller communication such that the seller is better able to fulfill customer needs and reduce customer perceived risk. This research advances the multichannel and pricing literatures and offers actionable insights for business-to-business marketers, revealing how online channels can complement traditional seller investments in salespeople and customer-specific discounts.
  • ... • през последните години е налице тенденция на нарастване на броя на публикациите, посветени на стратегията на ценообразуване на база ценност (Kienzler & Kowalkowski, 2017); ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Целта на статията е да се представят резултатите от емпирично изследване относно използването на ценовата стратегия на база ценност на продукта за клиента от фирми, опериращи в България. За постигането на тази цел е изследвано какви ценови стратегии използват фирмите, опериращи в България, като акцентът е поставен върху ценовата стратегия на база ценност на продукта за клиента; проучено е мнението на изпълнителни директори/маркетингови директори/мениджъри и др. относно бариерите пред използването на тази ценова стратегия и нагласите им за преминаване към нея в бъдеще.
  • ... La variable prix représente, quant à elle, le seul levier du marketing-mix en mesure de générer des revenus et des profits pour l'organisation. La définition d'une stratégie de prix adéquate constitue donc une des décisions les plus critiques, délicates et complexes à prendre pour un manager, d'autant plus dans un contexte caractérisé par une sensibilité accrue des acheteurs au prix, à une stagnation des ventes et à un fort contexte concurrentiel international (Kienzler et Kowalkowski, 2017). ...
  • ... We also call for studies of the role of customers and suppliers and their implications for VBP and VBS. As Kienzler and Kowalkowski (2017) suggest, studies that adopt a buyer perspective could offer unique insights into customers' perceptions of value. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Many manufacturers invest in advanced services and solutions to achieve superior customer value; however, research has only begun to examine capabilities for value-based pricing (VBP) and value-based selling (VBS) in relation to such offerings. This article explores (1) which capabilities firms seek to develop for VBP and VBS of industrial services and solutions and (2) how learning influences the development of these capabilities. An in-depth exploratory study of two global market leaders in their respective industries includes interviews with 66 respondents from the firms, as well as 12 interviews with customer and supplier informants, which reveal important capabilities for VBP and VBS. Higher-level learning supports value discovery, through dialogue with customers over time; this value in turn forms the basis for VBP and VBS. Higher-level learning capabilities also facilitate the adaptation and replication of the developed pricing and selling capabilities in various contexts.
  • Article
    En se basant sur deux champs de recherche, les terminaisons de prix dans les biens de grande consommation et les prix des produits de luxe, cette recherche met en évidence le paradoxe résultant de l’utilisation de prix odd (i.e. prix en deçà d’un prix rond) dans le contexte des produits de luxe où les prix devraient être majoritairement ronds. Dans une première expérimentation portant sur des sacs à main de luxe, nous testons l’impact de trois types de terminaisons de prix ( odd ou -90, rond ou -00 et ‘autre’) sur l’image de luxe et ses facettes. Nous étudions la relation entre les terminaisons de prix et l’image globale de luxe et proposons un modèle de médiation en parallèle où les médiateurs sont la qualité, le prestige, l’unicité et la cherté. Dans une seconde expérimentation, nous constatons que les terminaisons de prix véhiculent des connotations spécifiques au secteur du luxe et à différents segments de consommateurs. Nous formulons des recommandations visant à aider les responsables en charge de la tarification à fixer les terminaisons de prix selon les segments de clientèle.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In this paper, we build on the existing literature on price endings in the fast-moving consumer goods and luxury pricing to highlight the potential paradox of adopting odd pricing (i.e. setting prices just below the round number) for luxury goods which should mostly use even pricing (i.e. round numbers). In a first experiment concerning luxury handbags, we test the impact of three types of price endings (-90, -00 and “other”) on luxury image and its sub-facets. We propose four mediators of the relationship between price endings and overall luxury image, i.e. quality, prestige, uniqueness, and expensiveness. In a second experiment, we find that price endings have connotations specific to the luxury sector and to different segments of consumers. We conclude with recommendations to help pricing managers strategically adjust their price-ending practice to target different consumer segments.
  • Chapter
    Full-text available
    Canvas Marketing Plan is a design thinking tool to help companies build a marketing plan that allows them to make better decisions. It provides a simple structure that allows the user to visualize the dynamics and interaction of the different stages of the marketing plan and adapt the products and services to the needs of their clients, thus, "finding" the best position in relation to their competitors. This chapter presents a methodology of marketing that aligns the marketing plan with a highly connected and constantly changing market, but also online interaction vs. offline interaction, thus facilitating marketer planning. The canvas marketing model is validated by 146 marketeers from 17 distinct sectors of activity, allowing authors to gauge the timeliness and usefulness of this Framework.
  • Article
    This study aims to examine the relationship between service integration and manufacturing firms’ profitability and to identify profitable services. In order to do so, we examine the service integration data of 202 firms in the machinery and equipment sector in Korea. Firm profitability is calculated from secondary data to eliminate common method bias. We find that the relationship between service integration, measured as the service–revenue ratio, and profitability has an inverted U-shape, likely stemming from political costs, loss of opportunity in manufacturing improvements arising from resource constraints, and an increase in transaction costs. This shows that the effect of service integration on profitability diminishes when firms experience both resource constraints and an increase in transaction costs from implementing the strategy. In other words, the relationship between profitability and service integration depends on the degree of resource constraints and transaction cost. Furthermore, we find that the profitability of services is heterogeneous across different offerings and identify which service offerings are highly profitable, which has not been done in previous research. Process operation outsourcing and technical consulting significantly contribute to profitability. Our finding suggests that managers should strive to minimize the costs and problems stemming from resource constraints and transaction cost. It is also important to utilize external resources to achieve profitability from service integration. In addition, managers also need to realize the different cost–revenue structure of each service.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the contribution of global business services to improved productivity and economic growth of the world economy, which has gone largely unnoticed in service research. Design/Methodology/Approach – The authors draw on macroeconomic data and industry reports, and link them to the non-ownership-concept in service research and theories of the firm. Findings – Business services explain a large share of the growth of the global service economy. The fast growth of business services coincides with shifts from domestic production towards global outsourcing of services. A new wave of global business services are traded across borders and have emerged as important drivers of growth in the world’s service sector. Research Limitations and Implications – This paper advances the understanding of non-ownership services in an increasingly global and specialized post-industrial economy. The paper makes a conceptual contribution supported by descriptive data, but without empirical testing. Originality/Value – The authors integrate the non-ownership concept and three related economic theories of the firm to explain the role of global business services in driving business performance and the international transformation of service economies.
  • Article
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of behavioral pricing research, including the identification of the primary areas studied and a summary of the core findings in each based on previous literature. Design/methodology/approach – This research examines 613 articles on the ISI Web of Science database and focuses on marketing journals that discuss behavioral pricing. The reviews of these articles use traditional literature review and research profiling methods. Findings – The main subareas in behavioral pricing this study identifies are the price–quality relationship, reference price, price awareness, price elasticity estimation and price fairness. In general, the behavioral pricing field is relatively new, and all subareas would benefit from additional research. Originality/value – For pricing researchers, this study offers integrative insights into the field based on previous literature and identifies the main contribution and main topic of each. The study also offers suggestions for new research ideas.
  • Article
    This paper synthesizes five decades of supply chain-related research from premier managerially oriented marketing journals and provides a state-of-the-art integration and forecasting of where the field is heading. Such a review identifies where the field of supply chain management (SCM) has been, where it is, and where it is likely to go within the domain of marketing. Importantly, our paper involves a strategic discovery of the anchoring of SCM thought in marketing. A prominent feature of this paper is a set of takeaways, delineated from the cross-section of SCM literature bases (marketing channels, logistics, purchasing, and operations management) that will facilitate the development of the topic of SCM in marketing. These takeaways serve as agenda setters for future research and potential applications of SCM in marketing. Overall, we contribute to the marketing and SCM literatures by (1) reviewing the breadth of the most impactful literature on SCM that is directly connected to the field of marketing, (2) summarizing the state-of-the-art of the SCM in marketing literature, and (3) forecasting via a series of integrated takeaways what research is needed and where the SCM in marketing is likely to progress.
  • Article
    In this paper we define core research questions falling within the domain of behavioral and psychological aspects of B2B pricing. We then present the papers accepted for this special issue. Central research questions are, in our view, all those instances where decisions about price violate basic principles of rational choice. Decisions about price involve two main actors. First is the customer. We are interested in how customers' purchase decisions in B2B exhibit behavioral patterns that are inconsistent with rational choice models. Second is the manager. Managers set prices and in this process are equally susceptible to violating fundamental principles of rational choice. For this special issue we have been able to accept six papers. We welcome the debate that these papers are likely to start.