Revisit: Customer Value Propositions


Understanding and Managing, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline now 31 Mar 2019


Call for Papers

Understanding and Managing Customer Value Propositions

Extended deadline for manuscript submission: 31 March 2019

Overview and Purpose

Recognized as a company’s “single most important organizing principle” (Webster, 2002, p. 61) and crucial to its value creation process (Payne & Frow, 2005), the customer value proposition (CVP) represents one of the most widely used terms in business (Anderson, Narus, & Van Rossum, 2006). Its origins go back to the early 1980s, when strategy consultants developed the concept to facilitate the implementation of market orientation in production-centered firms (Michaels, 2008). Since then, dissemination of the term CVP has experienced rapid growth, reflected by a plethora of references in managerial as well as academic literature (Payne, Frow, & Eggert, 2017).

The CVP is a strategic communication tool delineating what superior contribution to their goals targeted customers can expect from engaging with the company (Payne, Frow, & Eggert, 2017). Building on the company’s resources and capabilities, the CVP distills the essence of the firm’s strategic marketing decisions. It seeks to facilitate both the communication and subsequent implementation of the company’s marketing strategy. The CVP therefore goes beyond related concepts such as unique selling propositions or positioning statements, which have a more operational nature and are typically managed by firms’ advertising departments.

The management of CVPs is poorly executed in many firms and the term is often used in a trivial fashion, rather than constituting a clearly defined construct and an actionable strategic tool (Ballantyne et al., 2011; Skålén et al., 2015). Yet practitioners and researchers agree that effectively deploying this strategic tool should have significant implications for company performance. This special issue invites empirical (qualitative and quantitative) as well as conceptual research that contributes to a deeper understanding of CVPs as a strategic communication tool, its antecedents and performance consequences in business markets. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

– Mix and relevance of salient market-based resources of a CVP:

  • Which market-based resources are most salient in effective CVPs?
  • How do CVPs stimulate innovation within an organization and with their customers?
  • What is the most effective mix of CVP benefits and how do these relate to context, e.g., market & industry characteristics?
  • Can CVPs hinder attracting new resources to a firm, thus stifling innovation?
  • Do CVPs assist in shaping new markets? If so, what is the mechanism for market shaping and how do CVPs contribute to this process?

– Mix and relevance of salient firm-based resources of a CVP:

  • Which firm-based resources are most salient in effective CVPs, e.g., measurable vs. abstract benefits?
  • Are there generic characteristics that are consistent across CVPs and/or represent best practice in CVP design, development and implementation?
  • Does the salience of different firm based resources vary with market characteristics?

– Impact of CVPs on the effectiveness of marketing strategy implementation:

  • What CVP practices help engender market orientation in firms?
  • Which processes are most effective in aligning employees to the CVP across customer touch points?
  • How do explicit and implicit CVPs differ in their effectiveness in different contexts?
  • How do organizations implement and use value propositions?
  • How do organizations measure the success of their value proposition initiatives?
  • How can an organization manage a CVP that may potentially create value in some customer segments and destroy value in others?
  • What impact do CVPs have on employee value propositions and vice-versa?

– CVPs and their impact on customer perceptions:

  • Do channels impact the mix of attributes within a CVP?
  • Should CVPs in digital markets focus on a different mix of attributes to CVPs in other markets?
  • How do customer perceptions of a CVP change over time and with what effect?
  • What are the consequences of when the CVP is viewed differently by a supplier and the market?

– CVPs, supplier orientation and customer behavior:

  • How do CVPs impact market orientation and customer engagement? What is the mechanism?
  • When are CVPs most impactful on customer engagement?
  • Over time, does the impact of CVP on customer engagement vary? How?
  • How does adopting CVPs change organizational and customer practices?

– CVPs leadership and formalization:

  • How do organizations create a fit between the design of their business model and their CVPs?
  • How does the focus of CVPs evolve over time? How do CVPs impact the organization of firm-based structures, including cooperation between functions and cross-functional teams?
  • What functional/cross-functional mechanisms are most effective in encouraging sales people to develop customer level CVPs and in educating product engineers and R&D staff to “think CVP” rather than “product”?

– Impact of brand reputation and customer relationship:

  • How do brand reputation and customer relationships impact the success of CVPs?
  • How does context impact the role of price as a component of CVPs?
  • How does context impact the development of CVPs at different stages of company development, e.g., benefits of initial adoption versus later benefits of increased users and usage adoption?
  • What are the financial outcomes of adopting a CVP? What is the time line between implementing a CVP and pay-off and how does this vary according to context?
  • Is there a scorecard that can be developed to measure success of CVPs over time?

– CVP design characteristics:

  • How do organizations choose between different CVP options, e.g., level of granularity (firm, segment, customer); input vs. output- based decision; meaningful vs. meaningless attributes; mix of benefits offered; one sided vs. two-sided markets?
  • How do CVPs at each strategic level fit with each other?
  • Are CVPs at any one level of granularity more successful in stimulating innovation?
  • How does context impact decisions about adopting a granular approach to CVPs?

– Link between CVPs, sustainability and ecosystems:

  • How do considerations of social and environmental issues impact the design of CVPs?
  • What is the role of CVPs in transformative service research?
  • How does a CVP link service with consumer ecosystems?
  • How do CVPs help shape and sustain an ecosystem?
  • How do CVPs at different levels of an ecosystem and between various stakeholders relate to each other?

(Please refer to Payne, Frow, & Eggert, 2017 for a more detailed discussion of a CVP research agenda).

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 no later than 31 March 2019. When you get to the step in the process that asks you for the type of paper, select VSI: Value Propositions. 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

Andreas Eggert, Professor of Marketing, University of Paderborn, Germany.

Pennie Frow, Professor of Marketing, The University of Sydney, Australia.

Adrian Payne, Professor of Marketing, University of New South Wales, Australia.

Lena Steinhoff, Assistant Professor of Service Management, University of Rostock, Germany.


Anderson, J., Narus, J., & Van Rossum, W. (2006). Customer value propositions in business markets. Harvard Business Review, 84(3), 91–99.

Ballantyne, D., Frow, P., Varey, R. J., & Payne, A. (2011). Value propositions as communication practice. Industrial Marketing Management, 40(2), 202–210.

Michaels, E. (2008). Interview with guest editors, 11 September.

Payne, A., & Frow, P. (2005). A strategic framework for customer relationship management. Journal of Marketing, 69(4), 167–176.

Payne, A., Frow, P., & Eggert, A. (2017). The customer value proposition: evolution, development, and application in marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45(4), 467–489.

Skålén, P., Gummerus, J., von Koskull, C., & Magnusson, P. R. (2015). Exploring value propositions and service innovation: A service-dominant logic study. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 43(2), 137–158.

Webster, F. E. (2002). Market-driven management: How to define, develop and deliver customer value (2nd ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.