Research Priorities

Research Mission and Overview

The mission of the ISBM is to play a leadership role in advancing the theory and practice of business-to-business (industrial) marketing, and to advance business marketing as a specialized field within the broader marketing discipline. The ISBM sponsors a biennial academic conference, a biennial PhD camp, a PhD dissertation support competition, periodic special interest workshops, a series of PhD seminars (IPSS—ISBM PhD Seminar Series) available to B2B PhD students globally. To access the full range of material available through ISBM B2B Pulse please login, using your academic username and password. If you are an academic and do not have a username and password, please register here.

Research Priorities

ISBM’s B2B Agenda has identified three areas that will be the ISBM’s highest research priority programs for the foreseeable future–(1) Marketing’s Role in B2B Innovation (2) B2B Buying Behavior and (3) B2B Customer Analytics–described below

1. Marketing’s Role in B2B Innovation

Program Director:  Raji Srinivasan  This theme, the most highly cited issue in the B2B Agenda, includes three focused sub-areas:
  1. Taking B2B innovation beyond the product and beyond the lab: With the growing recognition that innovation can fruitfully take more forms than that involving traditional NPD processes, what nontraditional processes are needed or are most effective in B2B markets?
  2. Ideation in B2B: tapping customers and non-experts for fresh ideas: How can research determine how to better understand B2B customer needs and better involve customers in the innovation process.
  3. The interface of innovation with marketing and sales: How can research determine the most appropriate role for the salesforce in the innovation and new product development process in B2B organizations?

2. B2B Buying Behavior

Program Director:  Raj Grewal Rajdeep_Grewal@kenan-flagler.unc.edu While buying patterns are evolving greatly, our knowledge and models have not kept up with changing market conditions, new buying practices (e.g., in emerging global markets), influencing factors such as new technologies/social media and cross-industry differences. We need new insights and an up-to-date taxonomy as a foundation for future research and practice development.   Our key priorities include:
  1. Evolution of the Buying Process:  To what extent is extant knowledge on buying centers and buyer behaviors still valid? How does the emergence of B2B electronic commerce and global purchasing practices impact that typology or are new typologies needed?
  2. Geographic/Cultural Differences in the Buying Process: How do theories of buying centers and buyer behaviors differ across countries and what factors drive these differences?
  3. Sales Force Management and Behavior: Changes in B2B buying require that B2B selling strategies adapt. The emergence of solution selling and global key account management practices require more adaptive sales teams. How should one study these new types of sales teams?
  4. The Customer Experience: B2B customers increasingly search for information and seek solutions online for their firms in a fashion similar to the way they shop for themselves. How does one conceptualize and assess the changing nature of customer experience in business market and how does the customer experience change with buying situations and buying roles?

3. B2B Customer Analytics

Program Director:  Hari Sridhar  Intersecting with the above two themes and others is the issue of B2B customer analytics.  As data on customer needs, information search, influence networks or patterns and transactions proliferates those data provide an opportunity and a challenge.   The opportunity is to integrate transaction data, CRM data, sentiment analysis, web log data and others) provide opportunities to improve customer acquisition, retention, upsell and cross-sell opportunities in business markets.  While we are interested in supporting work in B2B Customer analytics more broadly, our highest priorities surround:
  1. Use of Customer Analytics to identify and qualify opportunities for new B2B offerings.
  2. Use of Customer Analytics to better understand B2B buying behavior and the implications for better customer targeting, marketing resource allocation, pricing and customer life cycle management.
In addition, we are interested in work that integrates direct customer data with data from channel partners as well as data that explicitly recognizes multiple buying influences and buyer-seller networks.