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Management of customer assets for increased value capture in business markets

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The last two decades have seen a surge of interest in the concept of value in business markets. Furthermore, extant literature suggests that value capture can be conceptualized as the return on the firm's customer assets. However, the existing customer asset management literature has a strong bias towards consumer markets. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to create a conceptual framework for managing customer assets for improved value capture in a business market context, and to illustrate the use of the framework empirically. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The authors approach the topic with conceptual development and a longitudinal case illustration from a globally operating forestry product firm. Findings ‐ The findings of the study indicate that B2B firms can increase their value capture by dividing their customer base into customer portfolios, which are managed with differentiated customer management concepts targeted to increase the economic profit contribution of each customer portfolio. Practical implications ‐ The business practitioners in B2B contexts are likely to find the proposed customer portfolio approach to managing the customer assets more approachable than the prevailing customer lifetime models. In order to gain maximum value capture benefits from portfolio-specific customer management concepts, they should be approached cross-functionally instead of limiting them to the domains of marketing and sales. Originality/value ‐ The study contributes to literature on value capture and customer asset management by providing a framework for managing customer assets for increased value capture that is applicable to business markets and circumvents the majority of challenges associated with the customer lifetime value models.
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