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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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Key Questions on Innovation in the B2B Context

Innovation is a critical driver of the improvement in performance of customers, the growth and success of firms and the wealth of nations. Although much is known because of extensive research on innovation, several important questions on innovation still remain unanswered. This chapter identifies ten major topics in innovation, summarizes the major contributions of and issues in those topics and outlines key research questions for the future.

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The Stage-Gate® System for Product Innovation in B2B Firms

The majority of product developers have adopted a gating or stage-and-gate idea-to-launch process to screen and manage their new product projects. Increasingly, however, leading firms are reinventing their innovation processes: they are building in new methods for generating and screening ideas, streamlining their processes, creating “gates with teeth”, and making their processes leaner, more adaptable and more flexible to suit today’s rapid pace of technological change. This chapter presents a quick overview of the basic stage-gate system, and then identifies some of the new best practices and key success drivers that result in higher productivity in new product development. The result is the next generation idea-to-launch innovation process.  

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Designing B2B Markets

Researchers and practitioners face unique challenges in understanding B2B online pricing mechanisms, as well as their design and execution, compared with B2C or consumer-to-consumer (C2C) markets. mplications for product assortment managements and the general design of B2B markets. This chapter examines three issues in depth. The first issue regards the product to be auctioned and the various options for which these products would be offered within an auction, whether in regard to sequential product offerings or online and offline offerings. We then turn to the second issue of bidder behavior and strategies in B2B auctions. Third, we close with a section on the mechanism design, including issues of price visibility, and consider the roles of guarantees and price premiums. Within each of these broad themes we discuss the significance of differentiated bidders and inter-organizational relationships in B2B markets and the implications for the firm. We conclude with a consideration of additional issues germane to future research.

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Qualitative Research Methods for Investigating Business-to-Business Marketing Questions

The objectives of this chapter are to provide an understanding of the methods of qualitative research as they apply to understanding business problems. The chapter defines what qualitative research is, outlines when and why qualitative methods are most appropriate, briefly describes the different types of qualitative research methods, presents the general research process for qualitative research, reviews advice on what constitutes rigor in qualitative research and then closes with a review of the state of the field for published qualitative research. 

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Case Study Research in Business-to-Business Contexts: Theory and Methods

This chapter presents elementary and advanced methods relevant for conducting applied case study research within business and other (inter)organizational contexts. The chapter advocates adopting particular perspectives including the necessity of being there—going into real-life contexts where individual thinking, intra-organizational exchanges, and inter-organizational exchanges are occurring. The objectives of applied case study research are to describe and understand what is happening, as well as to build and test predictive models that accurately forecasts decisions and actions relevant to specific contexts. The chapter presents theory and use for six applied case-study-research methods.

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Survey Research in B2B Marketing: Current Challenges and Emerging Opportunities

Since its earliest beginnings, and throughout its ongoing development, the marketing discipline in general and business-to-business research in specific has heavily relied upon the survey method. The advent of alternative data collection techniques has given us pause for thought with respect to the continued use of survey research methods. Our chapter seeks to provide an overview of survey methods as applied by marketing scholars in the business-to-business relationship context. We identify and address several challenges currently facing survey research. In addition, we outline several promising new developments in the conduct of, and analysis based on, survey research. Our hope is that a thoughtful and balanced consideration of the benefits, limitations, and future potential of survey research will serve current and future marketing scholars alike in their efforts to shed new light on business-to-business research.

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Marketing Metrics for B2B Firms

Marketing managers face increasing accountability of their programs by their colleagues. Finance executives need to assess the payoffs of marketing investments. A recent McKinsey survey, presented at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit at Wharton, found that CEOs expect marketing leaders to not only cut costs but also increase contributions to growth. Across diverse industries, marketing and finance executives are under incredible pressure to make every dollar count. With this in mind, in this chapter, I will discuss approaches to allocating resources across marketing programs and evaluating the effectiveness of these programs, including the creation of intangible assets including, brands, channels and customer satisfaction. I will discuss methods to evaluate the financial impact of marketing expenditures, both in the short term and the long term, specifically for business to business firms. The chapter will touch on various topics including: Linking marketing metrics to financial metrics, assessing the ROI of alternative growth paths, what the CFO wants to hear from marketers, Brand as a platform strategy, Measuring brand value, Assessing the lifetime value of customers, Measuring the likelihood of repeat purchases, Measuring marketing assets and Measuring Customer satisfaction: linking drivers, outcomes, and profits.

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