Business-to-business (B2B) marketing focuses on markets for products and services, local to international, bought by organizations for various purposes. Business markets are highly complex in nature and of particularly interest to the marketing domain as the dollar volume of worldwide transactions and the percentage of global imports/exports in the industrial or business market significantly exceed that of the ultimate business-to-consumer (B2C) market. From a student perspective, learning about B2B marketing is especially relevant as the majority of graduates join firms that compete directly in business markets.
The course will introduce the business market’s special opportunities and challenges and highlight the requirements for managing the marketing function in this vital sector of the global economy. It provides insights into 1) the major differences between marketing in B2B and B2C contexts, 2) organizational buying behavior and inter-firm relationships, 3) and the characteristics of B2B marketing mix and strategy. In addition, the course highlights current challenges of companies operating in business markets such as increased global competition, centralized buying centers, the shift towards hybrid offerings, and B2B communication using social media.
The course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the basic concepts of B2B marketing. It further aims to help students develop critical analysis and problem-solving abilities with respect to managing the marketing function in companies that operate in business markets.
After successfully completing the course, students will be able to:
- Understand the specific characteristics of business markets and the differences between business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing
- Identify relevant actors and processes of organizational buying behavior in inter-organizational relationships & networks
- Decide for appropriate marketing and sales efforts for different business customer segments to efficiently manage buyer-seller relationships in business markets
- Consider different alternatives and choices open to B2B marketing managers in designing and implementing appropriate business market strategies
- Apply insights from latest academic research to create practical solutions and empirical test procedures for current challenges in B2B marketing
Attendance during the course is compulsory (min. 80% to pass), which implies that you shouldn't miss more than one session.
The course follows a highly interactive approach and offers a mixture of learning activities such as theoretical input on concepts of B2B marketing, interactive classroom discussions on case studies and recent research studies, group work, and professional guest speakers that provide insights into B2B marketing in the business practice.
The grading is based on the following performance evaluation criteria:
- In-class participation, individual-level (15%)
- Case study project & presentation, group-level (40%)
- Final Exam, individual-level (45%)
Active in-class participation is encouraged through the discussion of business cases to reflect theory input, case studies, and research papers, and the inputs provided by the guest speakers.
The case study project enables students to further develop their critical analysis and problem-solving abilities and apply theoretical knowledge and insights from recent B2B research to real business cases. Students work together in groups of 4-5 people on three distinct tasks: 1) The presentation and discussion of one academic research paper, 2) the preparation of two case studies, and 3) and a real business challenge brought in by a guest speaker. The responsibility for these sub-tasks can be split among group members. A peer-evaluation ensures an equal contribution of each team member.
The exam covers theory-based as well as problem-centered questions. Exam-relevant materials are the compulsory readings, teaching slides, case study contents, and business insights from guest speakers.
This course is part of the portfolio of elective courses of the Master of Science in Marketing program at WU. The course imparts in-depth knowledge in one or multiple selected specialized fields of marketing. The course builds on a strong foundation in marketing knowledge and skills which students acquire during the first year of WU's MSc Marketing program (this first year comprises 62.5 ECTS credits in total).
For MSc Marketing students, the successful completion of the following courses is a prerequisite for the admission to this elective course:
- Customer-Centric Management (7.5 ECTS)
- Consumer and Buyer Behavior (5 ECTS)
- Marketing Research Design and Analysis (7.5 ECTS)
Additionally, MSc Marketing students are prepared for this elective course by taking courses in the following fields during their first year:
- Global Marketing Strategy (5 ECTS)
- Marketing Communications (7.5 ECTS)
- New Product Development and Brand Management (7.5 ECTS)
- Marketing Engineering and Marketing Models (5 ECTS)
- Marketing Metrics and Performance Measurement (5 ECTS)
Moreover, this elective course builds on 45 ECTS credits in business administration which students had completed in order to be admitted to WU's MSc Marketing program.
As a requirement to participate in the course, students should have acquired prior knowledge on B2C marketing and consumer markets in general.
If you have any further questions regarding the course content or organization, feel free to contact me anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org. During the course, I will also be available for questions in the classroom after each session.