GRA 6444 B2B Marketing

GRA 6444 B2B Marketing

Course code: 
GRA 6444
Course coordinator: 
Jon Bingen Sande
Stefan Worm
Course name in Norwegian: 
B2B Marketing
Product category: 
MSc in Strategic Marketing Management
2021 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Business-to-business (B2B) marketing has huge economic importance. B2B transactions accounted for nearly 42% of all reported US revenues in 2010 (Lilien, 2016, doi:10.1016/j.ijresmar.2016.01.003), and in 2012 B2B firms accounted for 37% of all US employment (Delgado & Mills, 2017, doi:10.2139/ssrn.3050296). Input-output tables from Statistics Norway (Statistics Norway, 2018) suggest that the relative size of B2B transactions in Norway is about as high as in the US. 

Because of the size and importance of B2B firms, many marketing students find jobs in B2B firms. However, B2B marketing and B2B firms are different from business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing and B2C firms. For example, B2B firms produce inputs that enter the value chains of other businesses, non-profit organizations and the government. Also, B2B firms tend to have a more technically oriented culture; they often help their customers to innovate; and their customers emphasize the tangible value-in-use of the products and services they procure. Transactions in B2B markets also tend to be larger and more complex and strategic, involve more decision participants, and emphasize ongoing and often personal relationships and process management. Customers of B2B firms tend to be geographically more concentrated, as opposed consumers that are located everywhere. Because of these, and other differences, B2B marketing requires different skills than B2C marketing. 

This course aims to introduce you to B2B marketing to develop your skills as a B2B marketing manager in two main areas: 1) B2B marketing strategy analysis and formulation, and 2) B2B marketing strategy implementation. The course also provides an up-to-date description of B2B marketing practice, including topics such as analytics, data-driven strategy development, e-commerce, servitization and solutions-selling.

This course is taught using a combination of interactive lectures, data analytics tutorials for the Marketing Engineering software, and a practice-oriented group project. 

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

Upon completion of this course, students will:

  • understand the key B2B marketing strategy concepts and frameworks;
  • understand the B2B marketing-value chain, linking marketing actions and assets to financial performance; and
  • understand the key decision areas that marketers influence: STP, branding, innovation, sales management, pricing and customer relationships.
Learning outcomes - Skills

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

(analysis and formulation)

  • structure B2B marketing problems and business decisions using the key marketing concepts and frameworks;
  • develop a basic command of the most common marketing metrics used to quantify and measure B2B marketing concepts and actions;
  • analyze individual customer relationships to identify potential cooperation and coordination problems;
  • describe and analyze the characteristics of a specific B2B market using data on environment, customers, transactions, and competitors (Marketing Intelligence);
  • develop and formulate a B2B marketing strategy based on a consideration of firm resources and market opportunities using the STP approach;


  • establish chains of effect linking actions, causes, and outcomes in B2B marketing management;
  • estimate the potential financial consequences of strategic B2B marketing decisions by quantifying the links among the various marketing actions and concepts; and
  • develop implementation plans for the key decision areas in B2B marketing.
General Competence

Upon completion of the course, the students will have reflected upon:

  • the nature and importance of B2B marketing for firms, their profitability, and society at large;
  • how they, as individuals, can contribute to create value in B2B relationships and mitigate conflicts and opportunistic and unethical behavior; and
  • the special nature of B2B marketing strategies and how they differ from B2C marketing strategies.
Course content

B2B Marketing Strategy Analysis and Formulation

  • Foundations of B2B marketing strategy
    • Understanding buyer behavior in B2B markets
    • Understanding value creation and value capture in B2B marketing
    • Understanding cooperation and coordination problems in B2B transactions
  • Analyzing B2B markets
  • Segmentation, targeting, and positioning in B2B markets
  • Formulating, evaluating, and selecting B2B marketing strategies

Implementing B2B Marketing Strategies

  • Managing customer relationships, individually and as a portfolio
  • Innovation management
  • Brand management 
  • Value-based pricing in business markets
  • Sales managemen
Teaching and learning activities

A set of required readings will be assigned for each meeting. The readings will be a mix of scientific articles and case descriptions. Students are expected to thoroughly read and analyze all of the required readings prior to each meeting. Our style is to combine some lecture time with discussion time and in-class analyses.

We may ask students to prepare presentations or discussion questions for specific readings. Depending on the number of course participants, students may be asked to make such preparations for more than one meeting. A copy of the questions should be distributed to each of the course participants prior to the meeting (TBD). The discussion leader(s) will have the responsibilities of leading the discussion and summarizing and synthesizing the readings with some brief closing remarks.

For each session, two students are assigned the role of scribes. Using an excel-sheet provided on It's learning, they will make notes of what all students contribute with during class. The scribes must hand in their notes to the lecturer the same day. We use the scribes' notes as additional reference material when judging class-participation grades.

To a large extent, the value of this course will depend on the students' level of preparation and participation in the discussion. Course credit will be given based on quality of class participation, a final exam, and a term paper (see Evaluation below).

If students have to miss class on a particular day, it is the students' responsibility to get notes from a classmate. Let us know as soon as possible if you have to miss a class.

During the semester, if students experience any problem(s) with the class or any of the classmates we expect the students to report any problem(s) that they are not able to resolve themselves to us as soon as possible.

In this course class attendance is not mandatory.  However, unexcused absence will result in a lower participation grade.

We may be using the Marketing Engineering for Excel Software in class.

Software tools
Software defined under the section "Teaching and learning activities".
Additional information

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. Information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades, will be given when the course starts.

Please note that it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be deviations in teaching and learning activities as well as exams, compared with what is described in this course description.

Required prerequisite knowledge

The pre requisites for this course includes basic knowledge of statistics. Knowledge in any other programming language is an added advantage but not a must.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Class participation
1 Semester(s)
A document containing detailed criteria for how we evaluate class-participation will be provided in class. Generally, both quantity, quality, and attendance count towards class the participation grade. However, sheer quantity of comments with little depth or relevance to focal issues will not be rewarded.
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group/Individual (2 - 3)
1 Semester(s)
A document with details on the written assignment will be distributed via Itslearning.
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Structured test
Support materials: 
  • Bilingual dictionary
2 Hour(s)
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
Total weight: 
Student workload
36 Hour(s)
Group work / Assignments
54 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
63 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
25 Hour(s)
2 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.