Key Issues in B2B Marketing and a Need to Develop Appropriate Theories and Models

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KEY ISSUES IN B2B MARKETING AND A NEED TO DEVELOP APPROPRIATE THEORIES AND MODELS Muhammad Sajid Saeed Glasgow Caledonian Business School Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland – UK ABSTRACT B2B marketing is an ongoing debate since 1990s but the researcher’s community is unable to agree on any convincing B2B branding model because of lack of strong empirical support. This paper aims to fuel the discussion on examining B2B marketing research by discussing various key issues that are currently being debated in the literature. The study also investigates the importance of brand management in developing relationships between manufacturers and resellers. Findings of the paper suggest that organizational buyers and other marketing professional now recognise the importance of B2B branding but they are often afraid to adopt incomplete theories and models with narrow and myopic vision. The future research in B2B branding context should be based on the phenomenon that validates the importance of developing meaningful theories and models with strong branding concepts. Keywords: B2B Marketing, B2B branding, Key issues B2B branding, Manufacturer and reseller relationship B2B context, Benefits B2B branding. CITATION: Saeed, M. S. (2011), “Key issues in B2B marketing and a need to develop appropriate theories and models” Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, ISSN 2073-7122, IJCRB July Edition 2011-IJCRB Vol. 3, No. 3.

1- INTRODUCTION B2B marketing is different breed in terms of targeting an intelligent customer who is sophisticated and does not do impulse purchase. Over the past two decades, B2B marketing has emerged as a discipline in the marketing literature but unfortunately it has never received much attention of researcher’s community because of misconceptions about B2B concepts. As a B2B marketer, one is likely to face tremendous challenges such as improving lead quality, managing complex sales, and meeting the requirements of customers and sales team. B2B marketing can be defined as: “The practice of individuals or organizations, including commercial businesses, Government institutions, facilitating the sale and resell of their products/ services to other organizations/institutions” B2B branding is the most popular issue in the current literature where marketers have explored the significance of branding in B2B context. According to Kotler and Pfoertsch (2006) branding is just as relevant to B2B as in B2C. In addition, branding is helpful to increase customer’s loyalty, reduce buying risks, add value for customers and conveys complex information about products and services. B2B brand relevance can be judged from the vivid examples of Microsoft, IBM, Dell, Cisco, HP, Intel, Siemens, Coca-Cola, FedEx, and General Electrics. The purpose of this paper is threefold. In the literature review section, a critical reflection on the key B2B issues will be discussed that are currently being debated in the literature. Second section consists of how key aspects of marketing theory in B2B context are likely to evolve over the next few years. Finally, the last section focuses on managing B2B brands from manufacturers and reseller’s point of view. 2- LITERATURE REVIEW Business-to-business marketing is about meeting the requirements of other businesses. Since 1990s, many B2B related models and theories have been developed and evaluated but still there are various criticisms of work in this field have arisen. Ford (1998) identifies two major reasons of concerning issues in B2B marketing; (1) lack of defining significant problems associated with validation of B2B terms and methodology; (2) organizational internal and external operations are not linked with each other, so, there is a lack of investigation in

finding out, what is happening in the business environment and how the relationships are changing. One of the major issues in B2B marketing is that B2B markets have a more complex decision making unit as...
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