عنوان انگلیسی مقاله:

Customer reference marketing: Conceptualization, measurement and link to selling performance

ترجمه عنوان مقاله: ارتباط مفهومی سازی، اندازه گیری با عملکرد فروش: بازاریابی مشتری

رشته: بازاریابی

سال انتشار: 2017

تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی: 12 صفحه

منبع: الزویر و ساینس دایرکت

نوع فایل: pdf

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چکیده مقاله

The use of customer references to facilitate marketing and sales in business markets has received growing interest among practitioners and academics. The importance of references has been highlighted in a wide range of contexts, such as customer relationship management, customer value management, sales, and marketing communications. Yet knowledge about the effective application of references in business remains scant, and studies have not addressed in-depth what constitutes customer reference marketing or studied its relation to firm performance.
This study contributes to this important but underdeveloped business marketing topic by 1) conceptualizing customer reference marketing based on theory and an extensive qualitative field study, 2) building a measure for the construct using survey data, and 3) demonstrating its relevance by linking the construct to firms’ selling performance with additional collected data. The results broaden and specify the current understanding of how to effectively deploy references in business markets and provide evidence of the hypothesized performance, aswell as contingency effects. The established conceptual foundations for the phenomenon provide substantial opportunities for practitioners and theory-testing oriented business marketing research.

Keywords: Customer reference marketing, Business-to-business marketing, Selling performance, Mixed-method research, Measurement development, Resource-based view

مقدمه انگلیسی مقاله

Many firms, particularly in business-to-business (B2B) markets, use existing customer relationships as references to encourage the adoption of new customers and to facilitate sales andmarketing. Customer references lend credibility to companies’ value propositions and are important in reducing the perceived risk of target customers (Kumar, Petersen, & Leone, 2013; Salminen &Möller, 2006). Although numerous studies in various areas of marketing, including customer relationship management (Payne & Frow, 2005; Reinartz, Krafft, & Hoyer, 2004), customer value management and selling (Anderson, Narus, & Van Rossum, 2006; Terho, Haas, Eggert, & Ulaga, 2012), and marketing communications (Ballantyne, Frow, Varey, & Payne, 2011), have noted the importance of customer references, only a few studies have specifically focused on firms’ use of customer references in the firms’ marketing efforts.

Consequently, the conceptual foundations of this central business marketing phenomenon remain fragmented and embryonic. Recent studies highlight the need to study the use of customer references in marketing and the performance effects more systematically (Anderson &Wynstra, 2010; Kumar et al., 2013).

The present study addresses this important but underdeveloped topic by 1) conceptualizing customer reference marketing (CRFM), 2) developing a measure for the construct and 3) demonstrating its nomological validity and managerial relevance by studying the relation of CRFM to firms’ selling performance. As the current knowledge about the topic is scarce, we used a discovery-oriented, theories-in-use approach for the conceptualization (e.g., Kohli & Jaworski, 1990; Tuli, Kohli, & Bharadwaj, 2007; Zaltman, LeMasters, & Heffring, 1982). In other words, we build on initial insights from a review of key customer reference literature and complement this perspective with insights from firm practices based on 38 in-depth interviews with managers.

The conceptualization is followed by a measure development study based on survey data from business managers responsible for work tasks focused on customer reference marketing. Finally, based on a third study, we demonstrate the predictive validity of the CRFM construct by linking it to firms’ sales performance based on additional data from business firms.

The present study contributes to business marketing theory by establishing the conceptual foundations for customer reference marketing.
We extend the contemporary knowledge on how business firms can deploy customer references in business markets in three central ways. First, our findings highlight that CRFM is a broader phenomenonthan most marketing studies to date have indicated (see Anderson & Wynstra, 2010; Godes, 2012; Kumar et al., 2013).

The present findings show that CRFM consists of the active leveraging of customer references, not only externally for marketing and sales purposes as most studies have highlighted to date but also internally for internal development purposes, such as customer learning, business opportunity identification, or building of best practices. Second, the present study develops operativemeasures for CRFM, thus enabling future explanatorytheory-testing research in the area.

Third, the study provides initial empirical evidence that CRFM has a positive relation with firms’ selling performance and that this link is contingent on the context of the CRFM application. Overall, the conceptualization and measures offer fruitful avenues for a broad range of business marketing research and have concrete implications for managers who want to advance the effective use of customer references in their organizations.

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