The Influence of Electronic Word of Mouth in B2B Buying Relations: A theoretical study of end-consumers´ influence on organizational buying behavior

Emilie Høyer

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

Word of Mouth is a powerful communication tool that influences buying behavior. Due to new communication technologies that arise from the diffusion of the Internet, structures of communication changes between organizations, and between organizations and customers. This in sum suggests that electronic Word of Mouth is influential within a large context, meaning that multiple markets, industries and products hold the revival of electronic Word-of-Mouth. Hence, the possibilities that occur when listening to, engaging in, and facilitating electronic Word of Mouth are evident to examine, when seeking ways through which the influence of electronic Word of Mouth can be facilitated to improve businesses. This paper addresses the need of facilitating electronic Word of Mouth within the context of a specific case. The case represents an entrepreneurial start-up, which seeks ways through which end-consumers can be mobilized to influence organizational buying behavior of relevant buying organizations. To accommodate this aim the paper has conducted a literature review about organizational buying behavior, and the influence of electronic Word of Mouth. Understanding the structures of communication within the buying center of buying organizations is relevant, to examine ways through which organizational buying behavior is susceptible and possible to influence. Furthermore, to understand the influence of electronic Word of Mouth, the characteristics of traditional Word of Mouth is relevant to examine given that electronic Word of Mouth originates from its fundament. On the background of the literature reviews three guidelines are suggested to accommodate the aim of facilitating electronic Word of Mouth in favor of influencing organizational buying behavior. The three guidelines take into consideration motives for listening to- and engaging in electronic Word of Mouth and how communication through social media should be incorporated into the communication paradigm of the organization. In order to demonstrate the applicability and relevance of the guidelines, the paper includes two expert interviews to verify propositions from the theory, upon which the guidelines are built. Furthermore, the interviews suggest some overall perspectives through which the usability of the guidelines is made generalizable to a broader context than the specific case in question.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2013
Number of pages120