Retail Buyer and Manufacturer Influence

B2B marketing has been a huge topic in the field of marketing. Many studies, frameworks and textbooks have looked at this activity from the perspective of the B2B seller and how to make B2B selling more effective. But what about the perspective of the B2B customer? How should they manage and respond to B2B selling, especially given that the selling influence is not always in their best interests? And, what are the implications for the customer as well as the seller organization? In this paper, we study B2B marketing from this more holistic perspective in the context of a retail channel. To the usual dyadic model of a manufacturer-retailer distribution channel, we introduce the role of the retail buyer (who is present in many real-world channels) as a distinct player employed by the retailer, but is open to influence by the manufacturer through kickbacks (or other incentives in various names and forms) as part of the B2B sales process. Our model captures the tug-of-war over the buyer between the retailer and the manufacturer that occurs in many retail channels and provides insights for retail channel management, especially from the B2B customer (the retailer) perspective. Our analysis also offers a new perspective on why kickbacks occur and can be difficult to eliminate, as well as how to combat them or counter their deleterious effects.