Marketing Letters

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 323–337 | Cite as

Marketing’s roles in innovation in business-to-business firms: Status, issues, and research agenda

  • Abbie Griffin
  • Brett W. Josephson
  • Gary LilienEmail author
  • Fred Wiersema
  • Barry Bayus
  • Rajesh Chandy
  • Ely Dahan
  • Steve Gaskin
  • Ajay Kohli
  • Christopher Miller
  • Ralph Oliva
  • Jelena Spanjol


A project funded by the Institute for the Study of Business Markets to develop an understanding of the current state of business-to-business marketing and a research agenda for the field identified a lack of understanding of how the marketing function can or should best contribute to firmsinnovation efforts as the top priority. A workshop of senior academics and research-oriented practitioners explored this topic further, identifying four specific themes: (1) improving customer needs understanding and customer involvement in developing new products, (2) innovating beyond the lab, (3) disseminating and implementing research findings in firms, and (4) marketing’s overall role in innovation. This article defines these themes, sketches the current status of knowledge about each theme, frames practitioners’ issues with them, and proposes research agendas for each theme to move the field forward. The goal is to encourage rigorously executed academic research that can also help firms innovate more successfully.


Innovation B2B New products Open innovation 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Institute for the Study of Business Markets for its support.


  1. Adams, D. (2008). New product blueprinting: the handbook for B2B organic growth. Cuyahoga Falls: AIM.Google Scholar
  2. Ahearne, M., Rapp, A., Hughes, D. E., & Jindal, R. (2010). Managing sales force product perceptions and control systems in the success of new product introductions. Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 764–776. August.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, P. F. (1982). Marketing, strategic planning and the theory of the firm. Journal of Marketing, 48, 15–26. Spring.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, E. W. (2006). Linking service and finance. Marketing Science, 25(6), 587–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barczak, G., Griffin, A., & Kahn, K. B. (2009). Perspective: trends and drivers of success in NPD practices: results of the 2003 PDMA best practices study. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 25(1), 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bayus, B. L. (2013). Crowdsourcing new product ideas over time: an analysis of the Dell IdeaStorm community. Management Science, 59(1), 226–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, J. R., Fazzari, S. M., & Petersen, B. C. (2009). Financing innovation and growth: cash flow, external equity, and the 1990s R&D boom. Journal of Finance, 64(1), 151–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chakravarty, A., & Grewal, R. (2011). The stock market in the driver’s seat! Implications for R&D and marketing. Management Science, 57(9), 1595–1609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chandy, R., & Tellis, G. J. (1998). Organizing for radical product innovation: the overlooked role of willingness to cannibalize. Journal of Marketing, 35(4), 474–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chandy, R., & Tellis, G. J. (2000). The incumbent’s curse? Incumbency, size, and radical product innovation. Journal of Marketing, 64(3), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chandy, R., Hopstaken, B., Narasimhan, O., & Prabhu, J. (2006). From invention to innovation: conversion ability in product development. Journal of Marketing Research, 43(3), 494–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chesbrough, H. W. (2003). Open innovation: the new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cohen, W. M., & Levinthal, D. A. (1990). Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1), 128–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cooper, R. (2011). Winning at new products: creating value through innovation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  15. Cropanzano, R., Howes, J. C., Grandey, A. A., & Toth, P. (1999). The relationship of organizational politics and support to work behaviors, attitudes, and stress. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 18(April), 159–180.Google Scholar
  16. Day, G. S., & Montgomery, D. B. (1999). Charting new directions for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 63(4), 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Day, G. S., & Wensley, R. (1988). Assessing advantage—a framework for diagnosing competitive superiority. Journal of Marketing, 52(2), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. de Ven Van, A. H., & Johnson, P. E. (2006). Knowledge for theory and practice. Academy of Management Review, 31(4), 802–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eggert, A., Hogreve, J., Ulaga, W., & Muenkhoff, E. (2011). Industrial services, product innovations, and firm profitability: a multiple-group latent growth curve analysis. Industrial Marketing Management, 40, 661–670. June.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fang, E. (2008). Customer participation and the trade-off between new product innovativeness and speed to market. Journal of Marketing, 72(4), 90–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fang, E., Palmatier, R. W., & Steenkamp, J. B. E. M. (2008). Effect of service transitions on firm value. Journal of Marketing, 72, 1–14. September.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Frazier, G. L., & Rody, R. C. (1991). The use of influence strategies in interfirm relationships in industrial-product channels. Journal of Marketing, 55(1), 52–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Frazier, G. L., & Summers, J. O. (1984). Interfirm influence strategies and their application within distribution channels. Journal of Marketing, 48(3), 43–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gatignon, H., & Xuereb, J. (1997). Strategic orientation of the firm and new product performance. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(1), 77–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Griffin, A. (1993). Metrics for measuring product development cycles times. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 10(2), 112–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Griffin, A., & Hauser, J. R. (1993). The Voice of the Customer. Marketing Science, 12(1), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Griffin, A., Price, R. L., & Vojak, B. (2012). Serial innovators: how individuals create and deliver breakthrough innovations in existing organizations. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hauser, J., Tellis, G. J., & Griffin, A. (2006). Research on innovation: a review and agenda for marketing science. Marketing Science, 25(6), 687–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hayes, R. H., & Abernathy, W. J. (1980). Managing our way to economic decline. Harvard Business Review, 58, 67–77.Google Scholar
  30. Hoffman, D. L., Kopalle, P. K., & Novak, T. P. (2010). The “right” consumers for better concepts: identifying consumers high in emergent nature to develop new product concepts. Journal of Marketing Research, 47(5), 854–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jaruzelski, B., Loehr, J., and R. Holman (2012) The 2012 global innovation 1000 study.
  32. Jaworski, B. J. (2011). On managerial relevance. Journal of Marketing, 75(4), 211–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Katz, G. (2011). Nine myths about the voice of the customer. Visions (October), 24–25.Google Scholar
  34. Kohli, A. K., & Jaworski, B. J. (1990). Market orientation: the construct, research propositions, and managerial implications. Journal of Marketing, 54(2), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Levitt, T. (1980). Marketing success through differentiation—of anything. Harvard Business Review, 58(1), 83–91.Google Scholar
  36. Lilien, G. L. (2011). Bridging the academic–practitioner divide in marketing decision models. Journal of Marketing, 75(4), 196–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lilien, L. G., Morrison Pamela, D., Searls, K., Sonnack, M., & Von Hippel, E. (2002). Performance assessment of the lead user idea-generation process for new product development. Management Science, 48(8), 1042–1059.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Little, R. W. (1970). The marketing channel: who should lead this extra-corporate organization? Journal of Marketing, 34(1), 31–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McAlister, L., Srinivasan, R., & Kim, M. C. (2007). Advertising, research and development, and systematic risk of the firm. Journal of Marketing, 71(1), 35–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McQuarrie, E. (2008). Customer visits: building a better market focus (3rd ed.). New York: Sharpe.Google Scholar
  41. Mizik, N. (2010). The theory and practice of myopic management. Journal of Marketing Research, 47, 594–611. August.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mizik, N., & Jacobson, R. (2007). Myopic marketing management: evidence of the phenomenon and its long-term performance consequences in the SEO context. Marketing Science, 26(3), 361–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Moorman, C., Zaltman, G., & Deshpandé, R. (1992). Relationships between providers and users of market research: the dynamics of trust within and between organizations. Journal of Marketing Research, 29(3), 314–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Moorman, C., Deshpandé, R., & Zaltman, G. (1993). Factors affecting trust in market research relationships. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 81–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Narver, J. C., & Slater, S. F. (1990). The effect of a market orientation on business profitability. Journal of Marketing, 54(4), 20–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Noordhoff, C. S., Kriakopoulos, K., Moorman, C., Pauwels, P., & Dellaert, B. G. C. (2011). The bright side and dark side of embedded ties in business-to-business innovation. Journal of Marketing, 75(5), 34–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Olsen, E. L., & Bakke, G. (2001). Implementing the lead user method in a high technology firm: a longitudinal study of intentions versus actions. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 18(2), 388–395. November.Google Scholar
  48. Pauwels, K., Silva-Risso, J., Srinivasan, S., & Hanssens, D. M. (2004). New products, sales promotions, and firm value: the case of the automobile industry. Journal of Marketing, 68(4), 142–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pfeffer, J., & Salancik, G. R. (1978). The external control of organizations. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  50. Porter, M. E. (1985). Competitive advantage. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  51. Reibstein, D. J., Day, G., & Wind, J. (2009). Guest editorial: is marketing academia losing its way? Journal of Marketing, 73, 1–3. July.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rindfleisch, A., & Moorman, C. (2001). The acquisition and utilization of information in new product alliances: a strength-of-ties perspective. Journal of Marketing, 65(3), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rubera, G., & Kirca, A. H. (2012). Firm innovativeness and its performance outcomes: a meta-analytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of Marketing, 76(3), 130–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Schumpeter, J. A. (1942). Capitalism, socialism, and democracy. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  55. Sheth, J. N., & Sisodia, R. S. (2005). A dangerous divergence: marketing and society. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 24(1), 160–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Slater, S. F., & Narver, J. C. (1995). Market orientation and the learning organization. Journal of Marketing, 59, 63–74. July.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sood, A., & Tellis, G. J. (2009). Do innovations really pay off? Total stock market returns to innovation. Marketing Science, 28(3), 442–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Taylor, A., Wagner, K. & Zablit, H. (2012). The most innovative companies 2012.
  59. Tellis, G. J., Prabhu, J. C., & Chandy, R. K. (2009). Radical innovation across nations: the preeminence of corporate culture. Journal of Marketing, 73(1), 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tuli, K. R., Kohli, A. K., & Bharadwaj, S. G. (2007). Rethinking customer solutions: from product bundles to relational processes. Journal of Marketing, 71, 1–17. July.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ulwick, A. (2005). What customers want: using outcome-driven innovation to create breakthrough products and services. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  62. Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2004). Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Verhoef, P. C., & Leeflang, P. S. H. (2009). Understanding the marketing department’s influence within the firm. Journal of Marketing, 73(2), 14–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. von Hippel, E. (1986). Lead users: a source of novel product concepts. Management Science, 32, 791–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. von Hippel, E. (2005). Democratizing innovation. Cambridge: MIT Free Press.Google Scholar
  66. Wiersema, F. (2012). The B2B Agenda: the current state of B2B marketing and a look ahead. University Park, PA: The Institute for the Study of Business Markets.Google Scholar
  67. Workman, J. P., Jr. (1993). Marketing’s limited role in new product development in one computer systems firm. Journal of Marketing Research, 30, 405–421. November.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abbie Griffin
    • 1
  • Brett W. Josephson
    • 2
  • Gary Lilien
    • 3
    Email author
  • Fred Wiersema
    • 4
  • Barry Bayus
    • 5
  • Rajesh Chandy
    • 6
  • Ely Dahan
    • 7
  • Steve Gaskin
    • 8
  • Ajay Kohli
    • 9
  • Christopher Miller
    • 10
  • Ralph Oliva
    • 11
  • Jelena Spanjol
    • 12
  1. 1.University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  3. 3.Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.B2B Leadership BoardISBMUniversity ParkUSA
  5. 5.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  6. 6.London Business SchoolLondonUK
  7. 7.UCLALos AngelesUSA
  8. 8.Applied Marketing ScienceWalthamUSA
  9. 9.Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  10. 10.Innovation FocusLancasterUSA
  11. 11.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  12. 12.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations