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Institute Customer Analytics Program

The Institute's B2B Customer Analytics Program (ISBM-CAP) is designed to foster research, education and interchange and to take a leadership role in the nascent and rapidly evolving domain of B2B Customer Analytics.

B2B Customer Analytics differs from B2C Customer analytics in several important ways:

  • First, the “customer” is a network of individuals, a buying center.
  • Second, aside from procuring products and services for its internal use, that buying center often seeks to satisfy demand derived from doing business with their firm’s customers (who may be consumers or other organizations).
  • Third, the roles of need identification, information search, supplier screening, purchase and use may be distributed amongst buying center members.

These and other differences (such as longer purchase cycles, greater reliance on economic drivers of purchase decisions, lack of easy access to purchase data for competitive offerings and others) lead to unique challenges and opportunities in the B2B Customer Analytics domain.

ISBM-CAP will make researchers aware of B2B Customer Analytics challenges by:

  • Creating a research agenda and call for proposals on B2B customer analytics research and practice-related issues.
  • Generate research themes through a series of manager-interviews to enable a productive discussion among academics and practitioners.
  • Hold a formative mini-conference around the emergent research themes to engage practitioners and academics with the goal of generating a research agenda.
  • Invite conference attendees to craft a research agenda for work on B2B Customer Analytics.
  • Generate “B2B Customer Analytics Research Priorities” (and update regularly) a research priorities handbook highlighting key challenges managers face in adopting and successfully deploying analytics projects.
  • Investigate opportunities for synergy with MSI, Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy (UW), and other centers in executing the surveys.
  • Design and execute surveys.

ISBM-CAP will help educate managers on B2B Customer Analytics by:

  • Supporting a Masters in Analytics Certificate/Toolkit Program Offered through the Penn State Marketing Department
  • Providing B2B content and support to this initiative for a 4-8 course certificate program, aimed at managers with 2-3 years of experience who feel the need to tool up on analytics issues which is a skillset in high demand in the marketplace.Providing targeted training to B2B marketing executives who need to understand and deploy B2B Customer Analytics within their organizations
  • Conducting perspective-based seminars for executives (mainly Institute members with 15+ years of experience who feel the need to orient their company to compete on analytics) to provide a skills and capability orientation; issues such as i) what is B2B Customer Analytics?, ii) types and scope of B2B Customer Analytics usage, iii) current trends and industry leaders in B2B Customer Analytics, and iv) highlight which B2B Customer Analytics tools plays a crucial role in impacting managerial decision-making could be covered.

ISBM-CAP will engage the B2B Customer Analytics practice by:

  • Hosting one or more teleconferences or other connections to identify an area of joint interest to one or more academic researchers and to the client organization
  • Organizing one-day site visits to identify client organization data sources; current business applications of those data sources; areas for potential joint work (mutual NDA’s will address proprietary data issues.)
  • Developing a POW (Plan of Work) by having the client organization provide the ISBM-CAP team with a sample of each relevant type of data, a data dictionary and related support to understand the nature and potential of possible projects; the ISBM-CAP team will then develop a POW that will identify one or more projects, including appropriate researchers at Penn State or at other universities, timing, costs, requirements of client organization (contacts and anticipated time needed) and anticipated outcomes; the client organization is expected to provide a grant to the Institute to cover the costs of research support, administration and out of pocket expenses.
  • Delivering a POW to the client organization that will have business benefit as well as academic output; academic output can be best practice case studies, developed for pedagogic purposes; documented data bases, made available for academic research (perhaps through arrangement with the Wharton Center for Customer Analytics); and academic research.

Hari Sridhar, ISBM-CAP Program Director

Gary Lilien, Research Director, ISBM

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