Revisit: B2B Advertising


Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline now 18 Mar 2018

Call for Papers
B2B Advertising

New deadline for submission: March 18th, 2018

Overview and Purpose

According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), advertising is “the placement of announcements and persuasive messages in time or space purchased in any of the mass media by business firms, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and individuals who seek to inform and/ or persuade members of a particular target market or audience about their products, services, organizations, or ideas” (AMA 2016). It is recognized as an effective tool for building strong brands and increasing firm value in business-to-consumer (B2C) contexts (Joshi and Hanssens 2010; Fischer and Himme 2016; Sridhar, Germann, Kang, and Grewal 2016). Its role in business-to-business (B2B) contexts is less clear however.

Perhaps due to classic organizational buying models (Sheth 1973; Webster and Wind 1972), buyers have been portrayed as rational decision makers unlikely to be influenced by anything other than personal relationships or objective attributes. This view has been challenged of late. Recent academic research points to the influence of emotions, heuristics and subjective attributes on buyer decisions (Brown et al. 2012; Lynch and de Chernatony 2004; Mudambi 2002), and B2B managers have successfully launched multi-million dollar branding and advertising campaigns that rival their B2C counterparts’ efforts (Lamons 2005). Indeed, B2B marketers are increasing their advertising spending and are expected to allocate over $161 billion to advertising their brands this year (Outsell Inc. 2016).

With few exceptions (e.g., Gilliland and Johnston 1997), academic research has not kept pace with the growth of and investment in B2B advertising. While academics have begun to explore a number of related topics previously limited to consumer settings (e.g., branding, social media), few, if any, studies have explored B2B advertising in substantial depth. This is a critical oversight because the two domains differ enough to suggest that simply applying consumer advertising models or mimicking the strategies of B2C managers will not reap similar results (Swani, Brown and Milne 2014). There is a clear need to develop a distinct stream of academic research on the B2B advertising topic.

B2B practitioners are increasing their use of advertising, but academic researchers have been slow to offer guidance on how best to develop and execute advertising that addresses their unique customer and market characteristics. The objective of this special issue therefore is to further our knowledge and theoretical understanding of B2B advertising and provide insight and applications relevant to managers. This special issue invites B2B academics to apply fresh perspectives, conceptual frameworks, and methodological approaches to advance knowledge related to advertising. Topics of interest include:

B2B advertising models and methodology

  • B2B advertising theories, conceptual frameworks and models
  • Implementation of new technologies and innovations in B2B advertising
  • New methodologies (i.e., eye tracking, fMRI, etc.) in B2B advertising
  • Role of advertising in buyer purchasing cycle
  • How the unique aspects of organizational buying (e.g., buy cycle, level of risk, buying center, etc.) affects B2B advertising strategy.

B2B advertising media

  • B2B advertising in new media – social media
  • Media choice in B2B advertising: Traditional vs. non-traditional media
  • B2B mobile app advertising
  • The successful integration of new media with traditional media (IMC) in reaching buyers

B2B advertising content and strategies

  • Role and importance of rational vs. emotional appeals (e.g., fear and humor) in B2B advertising
  • B2B content engagement
  • Role of narration (‘story-telling’) in B2B advertising
  • Current advertising practices of B2B managers
  • B2B viral advertising
  • Use of creativity in B2B advertising
  • B2B mass communication strategies
  • B2B advertising spending and media planning
  • International B2B advertisements
  • Comparative B2B advertising strategies
  • Push and pull B2B advertising strategies
  • B2B advertising and corporate social responsibility (CSR)

B2B advertising effectiveness

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of advertisements in various media
  • Measuring effectiveness of B2B advertising strategies
  • Impact of B2B advertisements on brand and financial outcomes
  • Evaluating effectiveness of B2B advertising in new media – social media

Aside from the topics mentioned above, we welcome any others that may be suited to this special issue. We encourage the submission of case-based, conceptual, and empirically-based papers that offer managerial relevance. In particular, we are interested in those papers that apply strong theory, and innovative methodologies and analytical techniques.

Manuscript Preparation and Submission

To submit a paper please visit the IMM editorial site at

Please login, register as an author, and submit the paper as the site will instruct you. Submissions are welcome per February 2018. When you get to the step in the process that asks you for the type of paper, select SI: B2B Advertising. All papers will be reviewed through the standard double-blind peer review process of IMM. In preparation of their manuscripts, authors are asked to follow the Author Guidelines closely. A guide for authors, sample articles and other relevant information for submitting papers are available at:

All queries about the special issue should be sent to the Guest Editors (see below).

Guest Editors

Brian P. Brown
Associate Professor of Marketing, Virginia Commonwealth University,

Kunal Swani
Assistant Professor of Marketing, Wright State University,

Susan M. Mudambi
Associate Professor of Marketing, Temple University,


AMA (2016). Dictionary. Accessed September 21, 2016 at

Brown, B. P., Zablah, A. R., Bellenger, D. N., & Donthu, N. (2012). What factors influence buying center brand sensitivity?. Industrial Marketing Management, 41(3), 508-520.

Fischer, M., & Himme, A. (2016). The financial brand value chain: How brand investments contribute to the financial health of firms. International Journal of Research in Marketing. DOI:

Gilliland, D. I., & Johnston, W. J. (1997). Toward a model of business-to-business marketing communications effects. Industrial Marketing Management, 26(1), 15-29.

Joshi, A., & Hanssens, D. M. (2010). The direct and indirect effects of advertising spending on firm value. Journal of Marketing, 74(1), 20-33.

Lamons, B. (2005). The case for B2B branding. Thomson South-Western, Mason, OH.

Lynch, J., & De Chernatony, L. (2004). The power of emotion: Brand communication in business-to-business markets. Journal of Brand Management, 11(5), 403-419.

Mudambi, Susan (2002). “Branding Importance in Business-to-Business Markets: Three Buyer Clusters,” Industrial Marketing Management, 31 (6), 525-533.

Outsell Inc (2016). Annual advertising and marketing study 2016: B2B advertising. Accessed September 2, 2016 at

Sheth, J. N. (1973). A model of industrial buyer behavior. Journal of Marketing, 37, 50-56.

Sridhar, S., Germann, F., Kang, C., & Grewal, R. (2016). Relating Online, Regional, and National Advertising to Firm Value. Journal of Marketing, 80(4), 39-55

Swani, K., Brown, B. P., & Milne, G. R. (2014). Should tweets differ for B2B and B2C? An analysis of Fortune 500 companies’ Twitter communications. Industrial Marketing Management, 43(5), 873-881.

Webster Jr, F. E., & Wind, Y. (1972). A general model for understanding organizational buying behavior. Journal of Marketing, 36, 12-19.