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ISBM at the Penn State Smeal College of Business – Academic Institute supporting B2B Research. Switch to 

B2B Pulse: Content Library

The ISBM Pulse content library contains archived copies of previous member meeting presentations, webinars, courses, articles/reports, and a multitude of other knowledge. This material is freely available for our ISBM members.

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Business-to-Business Marketing: Looking Back, Looking Forward

The goal of this introductory chapter is to provide a brief overview and perspective on the B2B Handbook and on the field of B2B research. The next section outlines our view on why the field has attracted so (relatively) little academic attention and what we can do to address the challenges of performing research in the B2B domain. Next, an overview of the handbook is presented. Next we sketch a few ideas about where further research needs lie in the B2B domain. Each chapter suggests research directions on the particular topic it covers; we supplement those recommendations by focusing on areas not covered within them.

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extended hand

Applications of Agency Theory in B2B Marketing: Review and Future Directions

Agency theory has proved to be useful as a theoretical and empirical lens for examining a wide range of issues in business to business markets. This chapter attempts to explore the current and potential (future) applications of agency theory in business markets. First, the chapter explains the major constructs embedded in agency theory, the assumptions underlying the theoretical structure, and the classes of problems to which this structure is inherently well suited. Next, the key characteristics of business to business marketing are discussed, as well as the demands that these characteristics impose on incumbent theories which seek to shed light on business markets. Following, the the range of issues in business markets to which agency theory might be productively applied is outlined, along with modifications/extensions required to accommodate unique features of these markets. Finally, emerging areas of interest are reviewed, identifying promising areas for future research.

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a hand signing a business contract

Progress and Prospects for Governance Value Analysis in Marketing: When Porter meets Williamson

This chapter provides an analysis of how the Governance Value Analysis (GVA) framework offers a better understanding of how the design and management of cooperative inter-firm relationships (with suppliers, channel partners, and customers) is integrally tied to strategic marketing decisions. The fundamental links between a firms’ positioning choice and its inimitable resource profile with the attributes and governance design choices in the relationship, and their links to both value creating and claiming, are elaborated on. Implications for future research and applications in a wide variety of strategic marketing decisions including branding, design of pricing contracts, product-form choice (vertical positioning), and bundling are discussed. 

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colorful pawns connected by a network

Network Governance

This chapter provides an overview of various network governance mechanisms in business markets, by discussing the control and coordination benefits as well as the constraints that result from firms and dyads being embedded in social networks. First, network control mechanisms are discussed that help firms monitor and steer the behaviors of their exchange partners. Second, the chapter covers how social networks can stimulate positive behavior and help align different parties for the sake of mutual gain. Third, a dark side of social networks is discussed.

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man flexing his muscles

Marketing Capabilities for B2B Firms

Marketing capabilities are the processes by which organizations define, develop and deliver value to their customers by combining, transforming and deploying their resources in ways that meet market needs. This chapter focuses on the nature of marketing capabilities and the characteristics that determine their underlying value to an organization. Then a new taxonomy is outlined that sheds light on the characteristics of different types of marketing capabilities within B2B firms. Subsequently, the extant B2B marketing literature is reviewed using the taxonomy as a theoretical lens. Finally, new areas for B2B research in this important area are highlighted.

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chess pawn with a gold crown

Gaining Competitive Advantage with Service-Dominant Logic

In this chapter, an introduction to service-dominant (S-D) logic is provided and used as a platform to explain how firms can use this logic to develop strategies that provide them competitive advantage. A brief review of the foundational premises of S-D logic and the expanded view of resources upon which S-D logic is grounded is provided. This is used to discuss how firms can develop strategies centered on developing value propositions that offer service flows rather than tangible goods. This strategy is enhanced by an understanding of the service ecosystem the firm operates within and how to sense and respond in this system. Finally the importance of conversation and dialogue with other members of the service ecosystem is discussed.

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man wearing blue and yellow shoes

Coordinating Marketing and Sales in B2B Organizations

This chapter focuses on the topic of the coordination of marketing and sales activities in B2B organizations. It first provides a brief historical overview of the topic, including the recurring prescriptive advice that has been offered to practitioners and why this advice seems to have limited usefulness. This chapter then reviews some common delineations of marketing and sales activities in companies and their implications: both groups have inherent interdependencies and necessary differences. It concludes with a discussion of what some B2B companies have done to improve coordination between their marketing and sales functions, as well as some suggestions for further research.

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black and white chess piece

Competitor Intelligence: Enabling B2B Marketing Strategy

n any B2B market space, strategy is not just about attracting, winning and retaining customers; it must also be about outwitting, outmaneuvering and outperforming current and potential rivals. This chapter defines and describes the domain, scope, and intent of competitor intelligence, and illustrates how and why intelligence, as an understanding of competitors’ current and potential strategies, is fundamental to designing and executing strategies that generate superior marketplace and financial returns. Next, it describes the state of the practice of competitor analysis, and offers a research agenda to advance knowledge about competitor intelligence.

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