Marketing Cluster Seminar: Dr Erik Mooi
Technological collaboration with customers is common in the B2B domain. Customer collaboration may serve at least two strategic goals. First, firms may seek customers’ (technological) input for product innovation. Second, firms may collaborate technologically to bring product innovations to the market. Mostly due to a lack of data, existing research does not answer the question as to which strategic role dominates in which situation. With the analysis of a unique large-scale database, we aim to fill this gap. Our data inform us about the annual number of product innovations and whether a firm engaged in technological collaboration with its customers for over 3,000 firms over a nine year window. Results from fixed-effects panel data models show strong association between technological customer collaboration and product innovation, while controlling for firm size, R&D expenditures, financial leverage and year fixed effects. Moreover, by leveraging the time-dimension of our panel data, we show that small firms are more likely to innovate after collaborating technologically with customers. Large firms, on the other hand, are likely to engage in technological collaboration with customers after product innovation. Our results are consistent with a resource-based view of the firm, where small firms need customers’ resources to compensate for the lack of own resources for product innovation. Large firms have sufficient resources for product innovation but need customer input to ensure a smooth uptake of the product in the market. Managers need to value customers along the different dimensions. For a manager of a small firm, customers can be active inputs into the knowledge process, helping to overcome the large initial hurdles of product development. On the other hand, for a manager of a large firm, customers are more important for their help in reaping the benefits of the firm’s product innovation investments.
Erik Mooi is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Melbourne His research interests focus on business marketing including topics such as inter-firm contracting, technology licensing, and franchising. He has published his research in the Journal of Marketing, the International Journal of Research in Marketing, The Journal of Business Research and others. He is also the author of A Concise Guide to Market Research , published by Springer.