Supportive Elements of a Long-Term B2B Communication: The Case of a Norwegian SME
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A successful relationship marketing requires a company to manage the communication with its customers in a way that it creates value for all parties. Therefore, the strategic role of communication has become a managerial priority for firms in all industries. Even though the concept of communication process has been thoroughly studied, the issue of long-term B2B communication between industrial companies has been scantly represented in the literature. Responding to the call for more examination of this issue against empirical evidence, this paper examines the long-term B2B communication process established by the industrial company, using the case of one Norwegian small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) communicating with its international customers. The purpose of the paper is to reveal and describe elements which are supportive and contribute to a successful long-term cooperation. The paper is based on primary data collected from the interviews with the company representatives. Secondary data collected from public sources was used as well. The case company chosen for the study is a world leader in the polyurethane foam market, family-owned SME. It was assumed that the key elements of the communication process in this company are prominent and accessible for empirical examination. The empirical description is structured around the interactive communication model. The study traced the communication process in a case company and revealed that (1) actors providing communication, (2) the subject for communication, and (3) the stages of the sales process configure and modify elements of the communication process and ways these are applied.