Course description

Managing Business-to-Business Relationships


Business-to-business (B2B) relationships accounts for more than half of the economic activity in developed economies. Relationship management and marketing in business-to-business (B2B) settings are in many ways different from business-to-consumer settings. An understanding of B2B marketing is essential for those who want to understand the unique needs of business customers and succeed in marketing and management roles within B2B businesses.

This course provides insights about marketing of industrial goods and services for business customers. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to B2B marketing by identifying the distinctive characteristics of the business market, exploring the way in which organizations manage their relations with their business partners, and isolating the requirements for marketing strategy success. In addition to fundamental aspects of B2B marketing, more recent developments such as the digital transformation of B2B markets will be covered.

Course content

  • The characteristics and importance of B2B markets and B2B relationships;
  • Establishment and management of inter-firm relationships and networks;
  • B2B marketing mix and strategy; and
  • Recent advances in B2B markets.

A detailed schedule with dates will be distributed during the first meeting.

Learning outcome knowledge

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  1. have a basic understanding of the nature and role of B2B relationships;
  2. understand how firms can mitigate governance problems through various governance mechanisms, such as incentive contracts, relational contracts, detailed formal contracting, and network governance;
  3. understand what constitute customer value in B2B relationships, and marketing strategies that can be adopted to deliver value, including segmentation, product form decision, branding and pricing; and
  4. gain knowledge about the digital transformation in B2B markets.

Exam organisation

  • Written assignment: 40%
  • Class participation: 20%
  • Home exam: 40%