The future of B2B marketing theory: A historical and prospective analysis

Roberto Mora Cortez*, Wesley J. Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The economic power of B2B transactions hasn't been reflected in the amount of published research in marketing journals, and the relevance for practitioners of the studies issued has been questioned during the last 20 years. How can we bring academicians and practitioners together? After studying the history of B2B marketing, building on configuration theory, and prospecting the future challenges for marketers, the authors argue that the research efforts should be focused on six major areas of inquiry: Innovation, Customer Journey and Relationship Value, Data Analytics, Harnessing Technology, Marketing/Finance Interface and Revenue Growth, and Industry Context or Ecosystem. Specifically, they propose 20 theoretical sub-categories that are compelling for academicians and relevant for B2B marketers. The research conclusions and propositions were established by an expert panel through an exhaustive ranking-type Delphi method and refined using a coding scheme from grounded theory. The authors discuss the implications for theory development and managerial interest.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Pages (from-to)90-102
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • B2B marketing
  • Coding
  • Delphi method
  • Future challenges
  • Historical development
  • Theory construction


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