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Article

Managing portfolios of interconnected customers: evidence from Russian B2B market

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing. 2013. Vol. 28. No. 3. P. 229-239.
Rebiazina V. A., Tsybina E.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to broaden the current view of customer portfolio management by including the notion of customer interconnectedness.

Design/methodology/approach – The previous research in customer portfolio theory is reviewed, with special attention to customer interconnectedness. Customer interconnectedness as a criterion to build customer portfolios is studied in the example of large Russian b2b company. First, the results of participative inquiry research within the company are presented and then the insights from five in-depth interviews are described.

Findings – Findings suggest that the assumption of customer independence in a portfolio, on which most of customer portfolio models are based, may not fit certain markets and industries. This paper sheds light on to the specifics of customer portfolio building, in the Russian context and results in the customer interconnectedness assumption.

Research limitations/implications – Additional research beyond the provided exploratory study is needed to quantitatively test the assumption and generalize the results. The main research implications relate to the new perspective on customer portfolio theory based on customer interconnectedness.

Practical implications – The paper provides researchers and practitioners with insights into customer portfolio models specifics existing in Russia. This knowledge can be helpful, also, for foreign companies entering the Russian market.

Originality/value – The process of customer portfolio building in the Russian b2b markets has been addressed for the first time in b2b marketing research. The analysis of customer portfolio building in Russian b2b context shows that customer independence assumption is challenged and should be replaced with customer interconnectedness approach.