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Business-to-Business Marketing towards Family Firms: Study of how family firm customers are perceived by non-family firm suppliers with focus on personal selling
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Problem: There are several studies that suggest that family firms’ buying behaviour differs from non-family firms’ and therefore it is important to know if family firm customers should be treated differently than non-family firm customers. Considering the effort and money that a business-to-business (B2B) seller puts into personal selling, it is critical that it is done in an effective way. Personal selling is often regarded as the most effective strategy to communicate within the B2B markets. However, B2B sellers might not always pay enough attention to the special characteristics of family firms and how these could affect their selling strategies.

Purpose: The purpose is to find out whether a non-family firm perceives family firm customers as different from non-family firm customers or if they regard them as being the same with only insignificant differences. Furthermore, the purpose of this thesis is to explore if family firm customers are treated differently than non-family firm customers within personal selling.

Method: The study is qualitative and utilised an abductive research approach. It aimed to explore how a non-family firm perceives working with a family firm with particular interest on personal selling through the application of a case study method. 16 semi-structured interviews were conducted and findings were analysed through categorisation.

Conclusion: It was discovered that the salespersons perceived there to be differences between family firm customers and non-family customers. Salespersons seemed to develop more inter-personal relationships with family firms and more inter-organisational relationships with non-family firms. Relationships with family firms were usually longer, stronger and informal as family firms were focused on building relationships with their suppliers. As an implication of this thesis, it is essential for salespersons to recognise the importance and influence the family firm owner has on the business. Even though family firms are usually quicker decision makers it is also important for the salesperson to be aware of the informal hierarchies that are typical in family firms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 50 p.
Keyword [en]
Family firm, B2B marketing, personal selling, business relationships, communication, buying behaviour
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-30121ISRN: JU-IHH-FÖA-2-20160217OAI: diva2:932332
Subject / course
IHH, Business Administration
Available from: 2016-07-05 Created: 2016-06-01 Last updated: 2016-07-05Bibliographically approved

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