Business-to-Business Marketing

Module description

The B2B Marketing module takes the view that all managers need to understand business-to-business (B2B) commerce in national and globalized economies. Half of all economic activity involves purchases by organizations, rather than by individual consumers – with IBM, GE, Accenture, Deloitte, and Intel all examples of great B2B companies. To thrive in business markets, managers in all functions need to understand the importance and complexity of inter-organizational relationships and networks.

With companies and economies striving to accelerate growth in markets disrupted by digitization and globalization, the role of innovation within business ecosystems, and digital marketing in B2B contexts, will be given particular consideration.

Most organizations lack a clear value proposition. Throughout this module you will work with local B2B organizations to develop their value proposition, considering the role of the whole organization in delivering differentiation that matters.

Internationalisation: You will assess how the international sourcing of components and business services relies on complex B2B relationships managed across time zones, involving major cultural differences between companies, individuals and networks.

Employability: With half the world’s economic activity and employment within B2B markets, increased understanding of B2B marketing will strongly support career development, creating opportunities beyond the more regularly studied Business to Consumer (B2C) environment.

Sustainability: The module analyses how ethics and sustainability influence B2B relationships, and how a proactive B2B marketing stance in these areas can lead to business growth.

External Engagement: an external speaker will be invited.

Ethics and Corporate Responsibility: the module will look at ethics and corporate responsibility through case studies discussed during the module.

Research in Teaching: the module will draw on research articles in the first instance; use the module leader’s research expertise in the areas of discussion; and engage you in independent research to produce a case study.

Full module specification

Module title:Business-to-Business Marketing
Module code:MBAM932
Module level:M
Academic year:2018/9
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Bill Russell - Convenor
Module credit:10
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 3:

4 days (+ 6 weeks study)

Module aims

Whatever the market, trust and the ability to develop business relationships continue to lie at the heart of successful Business-to-Business Marketing (B2B) activity.  In our increasingly interdependent world, winning requires more than just delivering on your own promises. It means ensuring – through B2B relationships – that an ecosystem of partners – some visible, some hidden – deliver on their promises, too.

The module explores how great B2B companies make themselves, and their product/service portfolios essential and sustainable within business ecosystems.

The key objectives of the module are to connect you with innovative business thinking in the areas of:

  • The critical nature of B2B marketing in navigating and managing the innovation and operational ecosystems on which organizational success depends
  • Emerging business models in increasing digitally-dependent B2B environments
  • Designing and exploiting high impact value propositions
  • Understanding how B2B marketing and relationships influence successful B2C marketing activities

 The module will build on ideas that have been presented in the earlier core marketing module.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. critically evaluate the nature and importance of B2B transactions to all consumer and business transactions worldwide, considering how B2B the importance of B2B services in particular.
  • 2. appraise the role of Customer Relationship Management and Key Account Management within simple and complex B2B relationships.
  • 3. assess the role of innovation within B2B relationships.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. explain the buying process, why this process can vary with culture and markets, and the critical role of decision-making units (DMUs).
  • 5. design, communicate and deliver compelling value propositions that drive product and service adoption within value networks.
  • 6. evaluate the role of innovation in inter-organizational relationships.
  • 7. assess how sales team leadership and management drive Key Account Management and pro-active pricing models.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. demonstrate consultancy skills in assessing and communicating the internal and external strengths and weaknesses of organizations.
  • 9. identify the key external and internal areas that should be analyzed when formulating marketing plans, including the importance of internal and external relationships and networks.
  • 10. explain how co-creation skills are best deployed within business networks.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities22Lectures & facilitated group discussions
Experiential Learning6Consultancy project
Guided Independent study72Reading, research, writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective Presentations on Day 110 minutes1 - 7Oral feedback
Reflective Presentations on Day 210 minutes1 - 7Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Development of a Value Proposition Toolkit 8030 PowerPoint slides1 - 10Written feedback
Group Presentation, following consultancy engagement with B2B2020 minutes (within module)1 - 10Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual assignmentIndividual assignment 3000 words1 - 106 weeks from briefing

Re-assessment notes

The referral assignment will have a brief which contains a different emphasis to the initial Value Proposition focused assignment

Syllabus plan

The Significance of B2B Marketing

Organizational Buying Behaviour,

Inter-Organizational Relationships (IORs)

Marketing Channels & Supply Chains

Industrial Networks and the Adoption Chain

B2B Marketing, Planning, Analysis, Strategy and Implementation

Business Products, Value and Pricing

Business Services

Value Proposition development

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Adner, R (2012) The Wide Lens, Penguin

Brennan, R. , Canning, L and McDowell, R (2014) Business-to-Business Marketing, Sage

Ellis, N (2011) Business-to-Business Marketing: Relationships, Networks & Strategies, OUP

Osterwalder, A. , Pigneur, Y. , Bernarda, G. and Smith, A (2014) Value Proposition Design, Wiley





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