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EMAC 2022 Annual

Comparing Value Propositions and Reference Cases for Persuading Customers in Business Markets

Published: May 24, 2022


Dominik Ebinger, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology


To convince customers in B2B settings to buy an offering over a competitor’s alternative, particular evidence about the offering’s value can be presented. In this paper, we focus on two different kinds of value evidence: value propositions and reference cases. Which one is more persuasive? We develop a two-dimensional conceptualization of “value evidence” with the dimensions “reference congruency” and “type of evidence”. We expect that both dimensions increase the customer’s perception about the value evidence’s usefulness and customer’s purchase intention. Furthermore, we introduce supplier status as a moderating variable. The results of our experiment partially support hypotheses reflecting that the importance of the individual dimensions depends on the supplier status. Moreover, the experiment provides initial evidence that suppliers should prefer value propositions over reference cases for incumbent customers. This paper contributes to the literature by developing a conceptualization of value evidence and by providing proof about the dimensions’ importance.