Business-to-Business Marketing: Useful book by SAGE for B2B students & faculty

Business to Business Marketing Book Review
Thursday, July 13 2017, 11:10 AM
Recently published new edition of ‘Business-to-Business Marketing’ by SAGE Publishing and authored jointly by Ross Brennan, Louise and Ray McDowell caters to the need of faculty and students of B2B marketing with more relevant international case studies and snapshots
The book studies deep into all the aspects of B2B marketing with clarity and relevant case studies

The faculty and students worldwide are in the search of good text books on Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketing that can explain clearly the theory and practice of B2B marketing with international examples, case studies and right stuff that could be understood and applied well. Although there are many books on B2B marketing available but most of them go to extremes.

The B2B marketing students at undergraduate and postgraduate level in the Universities across the world need a book that combines multiple approaches and balanced treatment of B2B marketing theory with recent updated changes in approach and Global examples instead of focusing only on few types of case studies from one or two countries.

The books on B2B Marketing are published now and then but seldom they focus on interconnected relationships in business networks. To understand what is happening, it is necessary to understand the network context.

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The Universities, faculty and students know well about the importance of distinction between B2B and B2C marketing and its practical value when devising the marketing strategy. The problem remains of availability of right book that includes both with correct approach. The Business-to-Business Marketing is such recently published new edition of the book by SAGE, one of the leading global publishers of high quality academic books and well researched journals.

‘Business-to-Business Marketing’ is authored jointly by Ross Brennan – a Reader in Marketing at the Hertfordshire Business School, University of Hertfordshire; Louise Canning – Associate Professor, Kedge Business School France and an active member of International and Purchasing (IMP) research group; and by Ray McDowell- Head of Department for Business and Management at the University of the West of England, UK.

‘Business-to-Business Marketing’ is divided into four broad parts and each part of the book has three sub-sections. The Part I details ‘Fundamentals of business-to-Business Marketing’, Part II of the Book well explains Business-to-Business Marketing Analysis and Strategy. Part III is on Communicating and Interacting with Customers and the last but not the least, the Part IV deals with Managing Marketing Processes as the key areas.

Part I on Fundamentals of Business-to-Business marketing has three chapters – Business –to-Business Markets and Marketing; Buyer Behaviour and Inter-Firm Relationships and Networks. Chapter I on business to Business Markets and Marketing clarifies what is meant by business markets and explains in detail with illustrations, snapshots, tables and case studies why it is considered necessary to distinguish them from consumer markets and how to business products and markets can be classified.

Table 1.1 reflects the industry sector employment trends and Table 1.2 shows the differences between business and consumer markets. Chapter summary followed by questions for discussion refresh the reader’s memory how in depth one has studied. The case study of Rolls Royce Group in the end of the chapter with graphical presentation shares about the strategy followed by the company to succeed, achieve engineering excellence and expansion despite global economic slowdown.   

The chapter on Buyer Behaviour throws light on how the nature of a company’s activities and its business strategy affect its dealings with supply markets; understand buying process, differing purchase orientations. The chapter on Inter-Firm relationships and Networks recognizes the role played by relationships in business markets and re-examines the basis for business marketing arguing the success of B2B marketing comes from value creating exchange. The Tables, snapshots and case studies especially on European horsemeat scandal further clarifies the points raised in the chapter.

Part II on Business to Business Marketing Analysis and Strategy have 3 focus areas – Responsible Business to Business Strategy which addresses the topics of corporate social responsibility and sustainability; Researching Business-to-Business Markets that discusses the importance of market research concerning social media use and how to apply market research sampling techniques in business markets; and the last chapter in this Part II on Business Market Segmentation describes how the segmentation process attempts to get success with the activities of segmentation, targeting and positioning. The theory is substantiated by graphic and snapshot presentations. The case study on Segmenting the market for Wavin amply clarifies the idea.

Part III on communicating and interacting with customers has 3 chapters beginning with Market Communication and Relationship communication as first 2 chapters that address the importance of communication with target customers, different aspects of communication; coordination of relationship communication. A case study on Akin Tekstil company is a good example of Market communication. The third chapter on Relationship portfolios and key Account Management addresses the issue how to manage the collection of relationships as important feature of portfolio management and manage these key accounts.

Part IV Managing Marketing Processes of the book is very important. The three chapters on Managing Product offerings; Routes to Market and Price setting in B2B markets discuss the key aspects in detail on meeting the customer demand with satisfaction; means by which the business marketer should try to reach target market and the 3 Cs of pricing followed by strategic aspects of pricing. In the Case Study on Pricing in the UK Construction industry, authors have aptly quoted Adam Smith from his book The Wealth of Nations ‘People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.’

The list of Figures, list of Tables and list of abbreviations are great help for the readers to locate the desired diagrammatic presentation of the facts, cases, comparisons, trends and decoding various abbreviated terms. More importantly all these are placed in the very beginning to guide the reader through the book instead of placing it in the end which might consume a little more time.

The book has rich Glossary and references in the end which can serve to bring home various terms and references which neither the faculty nor students might have known so far.

One of the important features of the book is its ‘Learning outcome’ that is placed in the beginning of each chapter which details about the key take away after reading the chapter. 

The book studies deep into all the aspects of B2B marketing with clarity and relevant case studies. Endorsing the book, Prof Michael Saren, Professor of Marketing, University of Leicester says, “I found that Brennan, Canning and McDowell’a text was excellent for raising students’ awareness and understanding of the most important concepts and phenomena associated with B2B marketing.” Praising the updates in second edition of the book, Prof Judy Zolkiewski, Professor of Marketing University of Manchester says, “A fantastic addition to any library or course.” Andrew Whalley, Lecturer in Business-to-Business Marketing, Royal Holloway University of London endorses the book with his comments “The strength of this text lies in the interconnection of academic theory with real world examples.”

The book uses new case studies and snapshots illustrating possible solutions to different kinds of B2B marketing dilemmas.

Business-to-Business Marketing is an important book for the students to learn marketing and sales and as said by Jonathan Wilson, Principal Lecturer in Marketing, Anglia Ruskin University “It is a ‘must read’ for any undergraduate or postgraduate marketing student.”

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