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Principles of Marketing

4.3 Major Influences on B2B Buyer Behavior

Principles of Marketing4.3 Major Influences on B2B Buyer Behavior

Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. Setting the Stage
    1. 1 Unit Introduction
    2. 1 Marketing and Customer Value
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 1.1 Marketing and the Marketing Process
      3. 1.2 The Marketing Mix and the 4Ps of Marketing
      4. 1.3 Factors Comprising and Affecting the Marketing Environment
      5. 1.4 Evolution of the Marketing Concept
      6. 1.5 Determining Consumer Needs and Wants
      7. 1.6 Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
      8. 1.7 Ethical Marketing
      9. Chapter Summary
      10. Key Terms
      11. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      12. Critical Thinking Exercises
      13. Building Your Personal Brand
      14. What Do Marketers Do?
      15. Marketing Plan Exercise
      16. Closing Company Case
      17. References
    3. 2 Strategic Planning in Marketing
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 2.1 Developing a Strategic Plan
      3. 2.2 The Role of Marketing in the Strategic Planning Process
      4. 2.3 Purpose and Structure of the Marketing Plan
      5. 2.4 Marketing Plan Progress Using Metrics
      6. 2.5 Ethical Issues in Developing a Marketing Strategy
      7. Chapter Summary
      8. Key Terms
      9. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      10. Critical Thinking Exercises
      11. Building Your Personal Brand
      12. What Do Marketers Do?
      13. Marketing Plan Exercise
      14. Closing Company Case
      15. References
  3. Understanding the Marketplace
    1. 2 Unit Introduction
    2. 3 Consumer Markets and Purchasing Behavior
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 3.1 Understanding Consumer Markets and Buying Behavior
      3. 3.2 Factors That Influence Consumer Buying Behavior
      4. 3.3 The Consumer Purchasing Decision Process
      5. 3.4 Ethical Issues in Consumer Buying Behavior
      6. Chapter Summary
      7. Key Terms
      8. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      9. Critical Thinking Exercises
      10. Building Your Personal Brand
      11. What Do Marketers Do?
      12. Closing Company Case
      13. References
    3. 4 Business Markets and Purchasing Behavior
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 4.1 The Business-to-Business (B2B) Market
      3. 4.2 Buyers and Buying Situations in a B2B Market
      4. 4.3 Major Influences on B2B Buyer Behavior
      5. 4.4 Stages in the B2B Buying Process
      6. 4.5 Ethical Issues in B2B Marketing
      7. Chapter Summary
      8. Key Terms
      9. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      10. Critical Thinking Exercises
      11. Building Your Personal Brand
      12. What Do Marketers Do?
      13. Closing Company Case
      14. References
    4. 5 Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 5.1 Market Segmentation and Consumer Markets
      3. 5.2 Segmentation of B2B Markets
      4. 5.3 Segmentation of International Markets
      5. 5.4 Essential Factors in Effective Market Segmentation
      6. 5.5 Selecting Target Markets
      7. 5.6 Product Positioning
      8. 5.7 Ethical Concerns and Target Marketing
      9. Chapter Summary
      10. Key Terms
      11. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      12. Critical Thinking Exercises
      13. Building Your Personal Brand
      14. What Do Marketers Do?
      15. Marketing Plan Exercise
      16. Closing Company Case
      17. References
    5. 6 Marketing Research and Market Intelligence
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 6.1 Marketing Research and Big Data
      3. 6.2 Sources of Marketing Information
      4. 6.3 Steps in a Successful Marketing Research Plan
      5. 6.4 Ethical Issues in Marketing Research
      6. Chapter Summary
      7. Key Terms
      8. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      9. Critical Thinking Exercises
      10. Building Your Personal Brand
      11. What Do Marketers Do?
      12. Marketing Plan Exercise
      13. Closing Company Case
      14. References
    6. 7 Marketing in a Global Environment
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 7.1 The Global Market and Advantages of International Trade
      3. 7.2 Assessment of Global Markets for Opportunities
      4. 7.3 Entering the Global Arena
      5. 7.4 Marketing in a Global Environment
      6. 7.5 Ethical Issues in the Global Marketplace
      7. Chapter Summary
      8. Key Terms
      9. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      10. Critical Thinking Exercises
      11. Building Your Personal Brand
      12. What Do Marketers Do?
      13. Closing Company Case
      14. References
    7. 8 Marketing in a Diverse Marketplace
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 8.1 Strategic Marketing: Standardization versus Adaptation
      3. 8.2 Diversity and Inclusion Marketing
      4. 8.3 Multicultural Marketing
      5. 8.4 Marketing to Hispanic, Black, and Asian Consumers
      6. 8.5 Marketing to Sociodemographic Groups
      7. 8.6 Ethical Issues in Diversity Marketing
      8. Chapter Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      11. Critical Thinking Exercises
      12. Building Your Personal Brand
      13. What Do Marketers Do?
      14. Closing Company Case
      15. References
  4. Product, Promotion, Price, and Place
    1. 3 Unit Introduction
    2. 9 Products: Consumer Offerings
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 9.1 Products, Services, and Experiences
      3. 9.2 Product Items, Product Lines, and Product Mixes
      4. 9.3 The Product Life Cycle
      5. 9.4 Marketing Strategies at Each Stage of the Product Life Cycle
      6. 9.5 Branding and Brand Development
      7. 9.6 Forms of Brand Development, Brand Loyalty, and Brand Metrics
      8. 9.7 Creating Value through Packaging and Labeling
      9. 9.8 Environmental Concerns Regarding Packaging
      10. 9.9 Ethical Issues in Packaging
      11. Chapter Summary
      12. Key Terms
      13. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      14. Critical Thinking Exercises
      15. Building Your Personal Brand
      16. What Do Marketers Do?
      17. Marketing Plan Exercise
      18. Closing Company Case
      19. References
    3. 10 Maintaining a Competitive Edge with New Offerings
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 10.1 New Products from a Customer’s Perspective
      3. 10.2 Stages of the New Product Development Process
      4. 10.3 The Use of Metrics in Evaluating New Products
      5. 10.4 Factors Contributing to the Success or Failure of New Products
      6. 10.5 Stages in the Consumer Adoption Process for New Products
      7. 10.6 Ethical Considerations in New Product Development
      8. Chapter Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      11. Critical Thinking Exercises
      12. Building Your Personal Brand
      13. What Do Marketers Do?
      14. Closing Company Case
      15. References
    4. 11 Services: The Intangible Product
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 11.1 Classification of Services
      3. 11.2 The Service-Profit Chain Model and the Service Marketing Triangle
      4. 11.3 The Gap Model of Service Quality
      5. 11.4 Ethical Considerations in Providing Services
      6. Chapter Summary
      7. Key Terms
      8. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      9. Critical Thinking Exercises
      10. Building Your Personal Brand
      11. What Do Marketers Do?
      12. Closing Company Case
      13. References
    5. 12 Pricing Products and Services
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 12.1 Pricing and Its Role in the Marketing Mix
      3. 12.2 The Five Critical Cs of Pricing
      4. 12.3 The Five-Step Procedure for Establishing Pricing Policy
      5. 12.4 Pricing Strategies for New Products
      6. 12.5 Pricing Strategies and Tactics for Existing Products
      7. 12.6 Ethical Considerations in Pricing
      8. Chapter Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      11. Critical Thinking Exercises
      12. Building Your Personal Brand
      13. What Do Marketers Do?
      14. Marketing Plan Exercise
      15. Closing Company Case
      16. References
    6. 13 Integrated Marketing Communications
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 13.1 The Promotion Mix and Its Elements
      3. 13.2 The Communication Process
      4. 13.3 Integrated Marketing Communications
      5. 13.4 Steps in the IMC Planning Process
      6. 13.5 Ethical Issues in Marketing Communication
      7. Chapter Summary
      8. Key Terms
      9. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      10. Critical Thinking Exercises
      11. Building Your Personal Brand
      12. What Do Marketers Do?
      13. Marketing Plan Exercise
      14. Closing Company Case
      15. References
    7. 14 The Promotion Mix: Advertising and Public Relations
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 14.1 Advertising in the Promotion Mix
      3. 14.2 Major Decisions in Developing an Advertising Plan
      4. 14.3 The Use of Metrics to Measure Advertising Campaign Effectiveness
      5. 14.4 Public Relations and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
      6. 14.5 The Advantages and Disadvantages of Public Relations
      7. 14.6 Ethical Concerns in Advertising and Public Relations
      8. Chapter Summary
      9. Key Terms
      10. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      11. Critical Thinking Exercises
      12. Building Your Personal Brand
      13. What Do Marketers Do?
      14. Closing Company Case
      15. References
    8. 15 The Promotion Mix: Personal Selling and Sales Promotion
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 15.1 Personal Selling and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
      3. 15.2 Classifications of Salespeople Involved in Personal Selling
      4. 15.3 Steps in the Personal Selling Process
      5. 15.4 Management of the Sales Force
      6. 15.5 Sales Promotion and Its Role in the Promotion Mix
      7. 15.6 Main Types of Sales Promotion
      8. 15.7 Ethical Issues in Personal Selling and Sales Promotion
      9. Chapter Summary
      10. Key Terms
      11. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      12. Critical Thinking Exercises
      13. Building Your Personal Brand
      14. What Do Marketers Do?
      15. Closing Company Case
      16. References
    9. 16 Direct, Online, Social Media, and Mobile Marketing
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 16.1 Traditional Direct Marketing
      3. 16.2 Social Media and Mobile Marketing
      4. 16.3 Metrics Used to Evaluate the Success of Online Marketing
      5. 16.4 Ethical Issues in Digital Marketing and Social Media
      6. Chapter Summary
      7. Key Terms
      8. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      9. Critical Thinking Exercises
      10. Building Your Personal Brand
      11. What Do Marketers Do?
      12. Closing Company Case
      13. References
    10. 17 Distribution: Delivering Customer Value
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 17.1 The Use and Value of Marketing Channels
      3. 17.2 Types of Marketing Channels
      4. 17.3 Factors Influencing Channel Choice
      5. 17.4 Managing the Distribution Channel
      6. 17.5 The Supply Chain and Its Functions
      7. 17.6 Logistics and Its Functions
      8. 17.7 Ethical Issues in Supply Chain Management
      9. Chapter Summary
      10. Key Terms
      11. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      12. Critical Thinking Exercises
      13. Building Your Personal Brand
      14. What Do Marketers Do?
      15. Marketing Plan Exercise
      16. Closing Company Case
      17. References
    11. 18 Retailing and Wholesaling
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 18.1 Retailing and the Role of Retailers in the Distribution Channel
      3. 18.2 Major Types of Retailers
      4. 18.3 Retailing Strategy Decisions
      5. 18.4 Recent Trends in Retailing
      6. 18.5 Wholesaling
      7. 18.6 Recent Trends in Wholesaling
      8. 18.7 Ethical Issues in Retailing and Wholesaling
      9. Chapter Summary
      10. Key Terms
      11. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      12. Critical Thinking Exercises
      13. Building Your Personal Brand
      14. What Do Marketers Do?
      15. Marketing Plan Exercise
      16. Closing Company Case
      17. References
    12. 19 Sustainable Marketing: The New Paradigm
      1. In the Spotlight
      2. 19.1 Sustainable Marketing
      3. 19.2 Traditional Marketing versus Sustainable Marketing
      4. 19.3 The Benefits of Sustainable Marketing
      5. 19.4 Sustainable Marketing Principles
      6. 19.5 Purpose-Driven Marketing
      7. Chapter Summary
      8. Key Terms
      9. Applied Marketing Knowledge: Discussion Questions
      10. Critical Thinking Exercises
      11. Building Your Personal Brand
      12. References
  5. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
    17. Chapter 17
    18. Chapter 18
    19. Chapter 19
  6. Index

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • 1 List and describe the external influences on B2B buyer behavior.
  • 2 Explain the internal factors that influence B2B buyer behavior.
  • 3 Examine the individual factors that impact B2B buyer behavior.
  • 4 List and describe the interpersonal factors that influence B2B buyer behavior.
  • 5 Explain the conditional factors that impact B2B buyer behavior.

Think about it: B2B buyers are people just like you. They don’t make buying decisions in a vacuum; rather, they are influenced by a number of different factors throughout the B2B buying process, just as consumers are influenced in making purchases for their own consumption. These factors can be grouped into five major categories: external factors, internal factors, individual factors, interpersonal factors, and conditional factors (as shown in Figure 4.6). Let’s take a closer look.

Influences on B2B behavior include external factors, internal factors, organizational factors, interpersonal factors, and conditional factors.
Figure 4.6 Influences on B2B Behavior (attribution: Copyright Rice University, OpenStax, under CC BY 4.0 license)

External Factors

External factors at work in the B2B buying decision can be economic conditions, the political/legal environment, competition, and the social environment.

First consider economic factors, such as the level of primary demand, the economic outlook, and the cost of money (i.e., interest rates). When the economy is strong, when unemployment is low, and when personal income is up, B2C demand increases, driving upward demand in the B2B market. Conversely, during economic recession, B2B buyers look for ways to cut costs, and buying is significantly reduced.

Political and legal factors also influence B2B buying decisions. These factors include the political system, the political situation, and government policies. Legal factors include laws, rules, and regulations, including tariffs (which are taxes on imported goods) and exchange rates (the value of one country’s currency versus another.) To give you an idea of how such legal factors can negatively impact a firm, consider that, in 2018, after an expert panel found possibilities of health risks, the Indian government banned approximately 6,000 brands of medicine, dealing a blow to both domestic and foreign pharmaceutical firms.14 It doesn’t take much imagination to recognize the impact this policy had on these pharmaceutical firms.

Competition also affects B2B buying behavior. It stands to reason that, when a competitor changes its product offering and garners more market share, a business will want to respond by going on the defensive and changing its product offering as well, triggering one or more B2B buying situations. The fast-food industry is just one example of this. Wendy’s was the first national fast-food chain to introduce salads in response to consumers’ desires for healthier food options.15 Shortly thereafter, many other competitors, including Arby’s, McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and Burger King, followed suit.

Finally, the social environment influences B2B buying behavior because each member of the class will likely approach the situation armed with different information, different perspectives, and perhaps different personal agendas. For example, the vice president of the marketing department may want to spend money on a new customer relationship management software package, whereas the vice president of the finance department may be more inclined to reserve capital and forego the purchase.

Internal Factors

Organizational factors are those factors internal to the organization that affect buying decisions. Every organization has certain business objectives and goals, and goods and services should be purchased according to these objectives. For example, if a company experiences a period of poor sales performance, management might slow down or halt major purchasing decisions until the financial performance of the company improves. Conversely, a company with a strong track record of sales may push for more strategic purchases to gain or maintain a competitive edge.

Consider how an organization’s technology influences B2B buying behavior, particularly if the purchases must be compatible with the technology that is already in place in the organization. When purchasing a new product or service, decision makers are often reluctant to change the existing technology and go with something new.

Finally, workforce skills are as important as the decision makers and the products or services themselves since the workers are the ones who are going to use the new equipment or service and (hopefully) will make the most of it. Thus, new purchases must be compatible with the existing workforce skills, or employees must be offered training on the new technology.

Individual Factors

Just as with consumers, B2B buying decisions are influenced by the characteristics of the individuals in the buying center. Consider just one factor: age. FINN Partners compiled its B2B Buyer’s Influence Report and discovered several interesting statistics. Millennials (i.e., those born between 1981 and 1995) are generally the most optimistic about purchase decisions. A whopping 83% are confident that they are paying a reasonable price, and 97% believed that the vendor would deliver as promised. This compares to only single digits for baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).16

The B2B buyer’s education also plays a role. A more educated buyer is assumed to select goods and services carefully and approach the buying decision rationally, whereas a buyer with less education may make the buying decision based on a hunch.

Job position typically conveys an individual’s status within the organization. Those individuals involved in the buying decision who are higher up in the organization’s hierarchy may have more influence than those with less formal authority within the organization.

Those involved in B2B buying decisions are, after all, human beings, so it stands to reason that personality will play a role. Personality refers to an individual’s distinctive patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior, and these factors will play a role in making buying decisions. Examples of the many personality traits that B2B buyers and consumers have include things like self-confidence, aggression, and competitiveness. For example, some risk-averse individuals may prefer to do business with a known supplier rather than a vendor they are not familiar with. Likewise, personal preferences play a role in the B2B buying situation. Some individuals in the buying center may favor products of a certain quality, brand, price point, and so on.

Interpersonal Factors

Business buying decisions are typically collective and follow procedures established by the organization. The buying center usually consists of several individuals with different formal or informal authority, status within the organization, and technical expertise.

If the buying situation involves a highly complex product or service, an individual with significant expertise will have and exert more influence in the buying decision. It’s also important to note that some individuals in the buying center may have more influence than others, whether due to their position within the organization or their personal persuasiveness.

Finally, organizational politics and culture may also impact who the decision makers are and the degree of power or influence they exert on the decision process. Companies with a strong hierarchical structure may foster a tendency for decisions to be made at a higher level within the organization. This may be particularly true in international B2B transactions, which will be covered in more depth in Marketing in a Global Environment.

Conditional Factors

It stands to reason that the present financial condition of the organization will play a large role in the buying decision. If the organization is financially struggling and cash is in short supply, it may decide to make a purchase from suppliers who offer credit or may choose to purchase a less expensive product that is within its budget.

Likewise, availability of the product or service will play a significant role in the buying decision. An organization may choose to go with a supplier who can readily deliver the product or service within the time constraints of the project, even if the price is higher.

Knowledge Check

It’s time to check your knowledge on the concepts presented in this section. Refer to the Answer Key at the end of the book for feedback.

1.
Garrett’s company is considering whether or not to purchase new manufacturing equipment that will lower its manufacturing cost significantly and improve its profit margins. Which factor appears to be influencing the B2B purchase?
  1. Workforce skills
  2. Personality
  3. Business objectives and goals
  4. Social environment
2.
The local government has just passed an ordinance requiring manufacturing firms to reduce pollutants from their manufacturing processes. As a result, Shereace Manufacturing Company is investigating the purchase of pollution control equipment. What factor appears to be influencing the B2B purchase?
  1. Political and legal factors
  2. Economic factors
  3. Competition
  4. Workforce skills
3.
Shane’s company has been experiencing a downturn in sales, and cash is tight right now. This has caused Shane to look only at suppliers who offer credit to the company. Which factor appears to be influencing the B2B purchase?
  1. External factors
  2. Internal factors
  3. Interpersonal factors
  4. Conditional factors
4.
Interest rates have gone up significantly in the past few months, prompting Johnson Manufacturing to reconsider purchasing a new building. Which factor appears to be at play in this B2B transaction?
  1. Political and legal factors
  2. Economic factors
  3. Workforce skills
  4. Competition
5.
A worldwide shortage of microchips has prompted Vorderman Enterprises to use a new vendor who has higher prices but can deliver the product on time. Which factor appears to be at play in this B2B transaction?
  1. External factors
  2. Political and legal factors
  3. Economic factors
  4. Conditional factors
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