Edited by Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal
Chapter 1: Business-to-Business Marketing: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Rajdeep Grewal and Gary L. Lilien What we now call business-to-business (B2B) marketing used to be called industrial marketing (Webster 1978a), when it primarily focused on transactions of products produced for consumption by other businesses (machine tools, office supplies and the like) as well as the items that went into the production process of those other organizations (for example, raw materials like petroleum, timber or parts; other ingredients like valves, bearings, resins and polymers). In the past several decades, the term ‘industrial marketing’ has given way to the broader term ‘B2B marketing’, and its meaning has grown to encompass the activity of building mutually value-generating relationships (including both products and services) between organizations (which include businesses but also government agencies, not-for-profit organizations and the like) and the many individuals within them. In this latter sense, specific examples of marketing issues – such as a manufacturer–retailer relationship in consumer product markets (for example Walmart as the key account for Procter & Gamble), pharmaceutical firms marketing to doctors (who prescribe to patients) or agribusiness firms selling seeds, fertilizer and equipment to farmers – all fall within the purview of B2B marketing. In contrast business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing is mainly focused on the final transaction between the firm (and/or retailer) and the customer. Table 1.1 sketches some key differences between B2B and B2C marketing. B2B marketers typically focus on far fewer and more varied customers, using more complex and more technically oriented sales processes than appear in consumer marketers. The complexity (multiple stakeholders – financial analysts, purchasing...
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