Marketing Differences between Large and Small Firms: A Test of the Industrial/consumer Dichotomy Hypothesis

By Andrus, David M.; Norvell, Wayne | Akron Business and Economic Review, Fall 1990 | Go to article overview

Marketing Differences between Large and Small Firms: A Test of the Industrial/consumer Dichotomy Hypothesis


Andrus, David M., Norvell, Wayne, Akron Business and Economic Review


Marketing Differences Between Large and Small Firms: A Test of the Industrial/Consumer Dichotomy Hypothesis

Marketing scholars often distinguish between industrial and consumer marketing course offerings, journals, conferences, theories, and textbooks. But Fern and Brown [4] argue that this distinction is unjustified. They claim that no empirical support exists for this dichotomy and that it establishes artificial intradisciplinary boundaries, interferes with the collection and dissemination of marketing knowledge, and stifles the development of effective marketing strategies. The argument centers on the hypothesis that there are many differences between industrial and consumer marketing companies. Proponents of the industrial/consumer dichotomy hypothesis argue that major differences exist between the two sectors in terms of products, markets, marketing activities, and environmental influences. Proponents of the industrial/consumer similarity hypothesis maintain that there are few differences between the two sectors. Any differences between them are based on other factors, such as company size [3,19].

Classification of marketing phenomena is important because it is often the first step in theory development and practice. According to Hunt [6], usefullness of the schema outweighs all other criteria for evaluating classification schemata. The purported utility of the industrial/consumer distinction is that different market activities should be developed for different types of products, firms, and market segments. Those who support the opposing hypothesis argue that other factors such as company size may be more important than the industrial/consumer distinction.

THE INDUSTRIAL/CONSUMER DICHOTOMY

The definitional differences between industrial and consumer marketing tend to emphasize company action, product, and/or market related differences. Consumer goods marketing includes business activities involved in the flow of goods and services destined for personal, ultimate consumer use. The good and services are supposed to be in such a form that they can be consumed without further processing. Industrial goods marketing involves business activities that deal with the flow of goods and services used in producing consumer goods, other business or industrial goods, and/or in facilitating the operation of the business. These definitions capture the essence of themes common to the dichotomy [2, 7, 8, 11, 17, 18].

Proponents of the similarity hypothesis maintain that small families and large business organizations make group decisions on large purchases in a similar fashion [14, 15, 21]. Wind [20] maintains that most consumer segmentation research can be applied to industrial market situations. In terms of theory development and strategy creation, perhaps it is best to think of differences in the dichotomy in terms of the nature of the selling firm's marketing activities, environmental influences, and the size of the firm marketing the products.

PREVIOUS RESEARCH

Differences in industrial and consumer markets imply a need to emphasize different marketing actions and to be concerned with different environmental variables. For instance, the industrial market has large purchases per customer in more geographically concentrated areas [12, 13]. Demand in the consumer market tends to be less volatile and more elastic [16]. Industrial goods are more likely to be purchased by fewer buyers who are professionally trained purchasing agents [11]. They are often cautious, deliberate, sophisticated, and product-knowledgeable.

Further, industrial products are usually more technically complex and require more servicing than consumer products [1, 16, 18]. More information is searched for, and the actual purchase is seen as being riskier in the industrial market [5, 13]. Prices are often negotiated in the industrial market, and market mix combinations typically differ [1, 2, 11, 16]. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Marketing Differences between Large and Small Firms: A Test of the Industrial/consumer Dichotomy Hypothesis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.