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EMAC 2022 Annual

From box-movers to lacemakers: When logistics becomes the backbone of BtoB distributors’ marketing strategy

Published: May 24, 2022


Elsa DESSAIGNE, Excelia Business School; Catherine Pardo, EM Lyon Business School; Gilles Paché, CERGAM Aix-Marseille University


Research analysing the resources of BtoB distributors from their own point of view is scarce. Yet in a global world, more and more complex supply chains require actors with coordination and adaptation skills to the local demand. This article sets BtoB distributors in a systemic conception of marketing and attempts to describe their contribution to efficient supply chains. Building on the notion of transvection, and on the analysis of the electrical equipment sector, the work shows how BtoB distributors rely on their logistics expertise to develop their marketing strategy and sell solutions to their heterogenous professional clients. The authors highlight that the logistics expertise of BtoB distributors underpins their marketing strategy in terms of: (1) organizational efficiency; (2) ability to adapt to heterogenous demand; and (3) ability to co-create value with clients. This research also identifies four types of contributions of BtoB distributors to efficient supply chains (integration, personalization, facilitation, and influence).