Traditional Research Priorities

The ISBM has supported a broad spectrum of research in the past, and will continue to entertain proposals on any issue that is relevant to business marketing theory and practice. The overarching and continuing theme of the ISBM research program is: What research can we do to better create, measure, and deliver customer value in business markets?

Specific ISBM research program areas and issues of emphasis are:

Product Policy

  • How can we evaluate the market for revolutionary, new vs. more incremental or evolutionary, products?
  • How do the benefits and costs of investing in each of these types of products differ?
  • How can we best measure new product development (NPD) success?
  • What organizational and cultural forces lead to NPD success?
  • What do we mean by new product success or failure?
  • What are the best means for producers and buyers to interact in the NPD process?
  • What are the best tools to forecast new product sales?
  • How can the Internet best be used to facilitate and improve new product development?

Marketing Strategies and Operations

  • What strategies do or should firms use when adding and deleting production capacity?
  • What norms exist for spending levels for marketing mix elements? Are these “optimal” or are they mere folklore? If folklore, how can they be improved?
  • What does it mean for the firm to be market oriented?
  • What are best marketing mix policies (pricing, bundling, product-line management, sales force structure and operations, sales force motivation and compensation, etc.)?
  • How can we measure the productivity of the elements of the marketing mix, both individually and jointly?

Buying Strategies and Operations

  • How have changes in the buyer/seller relationship changed buyer practices and value creation? (Teamwork? JITII? Opening buyer operations to sellers?)
  • What causes the formation of buying centers? How can we predict likely buying center choice?
  • How do buying center decisions depend on price, product, and situation factors?
  • What are best purchasing practices?
  • What role do brands (or ingredient brands) play in business markets?
  • How have electronic media affected buying processes and behaviors?
  • What effect do value-chain structures have on the nature of purchasing processes?
  • What is the buying behavior of global accounts?
  • How can multiple preferences in the buying center best be modeled?

Customer Value

  • What are the best ways to conceptualize and understand customer value?
  • How do you get beyond the buyer to identify the values of the right people in the buyer’s firm?
  • What approaches and measurement methods exist, can be adapted, or can be developed to assess customer value in business markets?
  • How can the value of the core product or service and its augmenting services, programs, and systems be separately assessed?
  • How do and how should buyers assess the value of alternative suppliers’ market offerings?
  • How are value, quality, and customer satisfaction conceptually and empirically related?
  • How can we measure the value of collaborative relationships with customers?

Business Relationships

  • What makes a long-term relationship stick together or break up? Why?
  • What are the costs and benefits of long-term relationships for the buyer? For the seller?
  • In what industries, countries, or economic environments are long-term relationships more prevalent? Why?
  • What is the impact of the Internet on the nature of business relationships?

Market Channels

  • What are the best ways to develop, compensate, and measure channel effectiveness?
  • How should we measure the effectiveness of value-creating networks and related activities?
  • What is the role of partnering in overcoming shortfalls in other relationship forms?
  • What is the experience of managers in measuring value in relationships?

Exchange Design and Analysis

  • How should marketplaces be designed to best meet the objectives of buyers? of sellers? of intermediaries?
  • What gaps exist between the theory and practice of business marketing negotiations?
  • How can decision support systems be used to support exchange mechanisms?
  • How can we understand the negotiation process better so that outcomes can be improved from the buyer’s or seller’s perspective, or both?
  • When is bidding/price discovery mechanism inferior/superior to a negotiation process?
  • How can we understand and model the likely behavior of competition?
  • How can we model and manage competition?

Market Communications

  • How can firms measure the value of their communications programs?
  • What is the appropriate level of spending and allocation of those funds in the communications mix?
  • What is the best way to develop and manage a program of integrated marketing communications?
  • What roles do brands and branding strategies play in business markets?
  • How does brand awareness affect brand preference across business markets?
  • What is the role of the trade show and how should trade show effectiveness be measured?
  • How should firms develop and measure corporate and brand image, both domestically and globally?
  • How do the new tools of eBusiness impact the nature of the market communications process and the role of brands and branding?

Business Marketing Information Systems and Electronic Markets

  • What are the best practices in managing and getting value out of marketing information system (MKIS) investments?
  • How do the various online business models (e.g., reverse pricing, auctions, automated bidding) influence B-to-B customer behavior (e.g., loyalty, price sensitivity)?
  • How will the next exchange mechanisms of the digital economy alter the distribution structures?
  • What new concepts, theories, and measures can be used to explain and predict customer response to eBusiness initiatives?
  • What factors (best practices) determine success of eBusiness initiatives in B-to-B firms?
  • What is the role and impact of personalization and customization in online B-to-B markets?
  • What organizational mechanisms are appropriate for designing high performance eBusiness?
  • What methods and models can help us determine the value of IT systems on marketing functions and processes?
  • What are the drivers of successful online relationships with customers at various stages of the sales cycle?
  • What are the determinants of successful supplier relationships in network-centric markets?

Business Market Research

  • How should firms best match research methods with marketing problems?
  • What are best practices for business marketing research, especially when there are a small number of (important) customers- i.e., what methods perform better in business marketing settings?
  • What methods are appropriate for doing market research not only with customers, but with other stakeholders and value chain members?
  • How can market research be used in areas such as: customer value creation, market segmentation and measurement of customer loyalty, brand equity and customer satisfaction?
  • What market research methods can be used with large amounts of missing customer data?
  • How can market research, combined with marketing models, be used to improve the return on a firm’s marketing mix investments?
  • How can the capabilities of the Internet be incorporated into market research practice?

Marketing Engineering

  • When, why and how do decision models help improve marketing decision-making?
  • What factors (personal, organizational, educational, and system-specific) affect the individual and organizational adoption and use of such systems?
  • What forms of decision models are most effective? In what types of firms? In what types of environments?
  • How can decision models be best adapted to different forms of data interchange? (Traditional transaction capture? Electronic commerce? Internet/intranet environments?)

Other Research Topics

Other topics that we would encourage research on include (but are not limited to):

  • Global business marketing issues
  • The role of design in the business marketing mix
  • Direct business marketing
  • The use of business marketing research
  • Modeling and managing the value chain
  • Implementation of marketing/organizational change
  • Metrics
  • Organizational design for marketing initiatives
  • Change management