Customer relationship building on the Internet in B2B marketing


Jean Harrison-Walker, L., Sue E. Neeley, S.E., Winter 2004, Customer relationship building on the Internet in B2B marketing: a proposed typology

Journal of MarketingTheory and Practice, Winter, pp 19-35


The results of this practitioner oriented research conclude that Internet Marketing can be used to foster customer relationships and by so doing will increase customer satisfaction – with the well documented effects on customer loyalty and commitment following on. The nature of the relationship between Internet Marketing and customer satisfaction is explored by Bitner and Brown (2000) who discuss the positive impact of bringing Internet Marketing into play within service encounters.  They suggest that web based self-service technologies result in the user feeling “empowered” and so encourage customers to enter into repeat transactions on a more frequent basis.  The implication being that this sense of involvement in the customer service process may ultimately lead to enhanced customer satisfaction levels.


Smith and Chaffey (2002) suggest that the tools of Internet Marketing come may be joined to the list of primary determinants of customer loyalty identified by Reicheld and Schefter (2000) such as:


(1) The quality of customer support

(2) On-time delivery

(3) Compelling product presentations

(4) Reasonably priced and convenient handling and shipping of product

(5) Trustworthy and clear privacy policies.


These writers believe that Internet Marketing tools are able to:


(1) Provide extra service and value

(2) Personalize the offering or experience of purchasing

(3) Create communities and so to engage participating customers,

(4) Use structural techniques to lock in the customer, creating a switching cost.


Of course, using Internet Marketing in Key Account Management may have some disadvantages.  Firstly, doing business on the Internet raises the expectations of customers, not only for the online activities but also for the regular off-line business as well.  Indeed, customers may soon come to expect firms to make full use of the Internet in their on-line dealings.  But then again – so they should!


Bitner, M. J. and Brown, S. W. 2000, Technology Infusion in Service Encounters, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 28(1), (Winter), pp138-149.


Smith, P.R. and Chaffey, D., (2002, E-Marketing Excellence: The Heart of e-Business, Wobum, MA:Butterworth-Heinemann.


Reichheld, F. F., and Schefler P., 2000, "E-Loyalty: Your Secret Weapon on the Web," Harvard Business Review, 78(4), (July-August), pp 105-113.  

Contact me: paul"at"paulsudnik"dot"com