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Customer Experience the Topic of Recent B2B Marketing-Focused Meeting

Key themes that emerged from the Institute for the Study of Business Markets’ (ISBM) recent winter meeting included managing customer experience and the importance of pricing, according to Ralph Oliva. Oliva serves as executive director of the ISBM, a research center in the Penn State Smeal College of Business focused on the practice of business-to-business marketing.
March 12, 2014

Key themes that emerged from the Institute for the Study of Business Markets’ (ISBM) recent winter meeting included managing customer experience and the importance of pricing, according to Ralph Oliva. Oliva serves as executive director of the ISBM, a research center in the Penn State Smeal College of Business focused on the practice of business-to-business marketing.

Business-to-consumer marketing has long noted the importance of managing a customer’s buying experience, but business-to-business marketers are now employing experience management techniques to differentiate their products.

“In today’s networked world, it has become easy for customers to communicate with anyone in a firm, and it’s important for everyone in the firm to live the brand.”

“What we’re discovering is that delivering a high-quality, differentiated experience—through both pricing and through all employees consistently understanding and delivering the company brand—is absolutely crucial in the business-to-business market space,” said Oliva. “This winter’s member meeting offered attendees an opportunity to share best practices and network among some of the top companies in today’s B2B space.”

Bill Becker, who manages John Deere’s Brand Center of Excellence, was one of the meeting’s first speakers. He talked about the company’s investment in a brand ambassador program that empowered more employees to provide the John Deere brand experience to customers.

“In today’s networked world, it has become easy for customers to communicate with anyone in a firm, and it’s important for everyone in the firm to live the brand,” said Oliva.

The importance of pricing as a key element of a positive experience emerged as another key issue. Paul Adair, director of strategic pricing at PolyOne, talked about telling the right kind of pricing stories to the right customers.

The ISBM Winter Meeting was held on Feb. 19-20 at the Orlando Renaissance Airport Hotel in Orlando, Fla. More than 100 people attended, representing 28 ISBM member firms. The next members’ meeting will take place Sept. 9-10 on Penn State’s University Park campus and focus on aligning marketing, sales, and innovation processes.

About the Institute for the Study of Business Markets
The Institute for the Study of Business Markets is a center of excellence in the Penn State Smeal College of Business that networks researchers, educators, and practitioners in business-to-business marketing in companies and universities throughout the world. The ISBM’s mission is to expand research and teaching in business-to-business marketing and sales in academia, and to build more efficient and effective marketing practice for member firms in industry.

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