Business, market, customers
Gabriel Pérez (University ETAC CEDE Roma, Mexico)
Social network analysis has been used to understand how business relations evolve and how corporate and individual customers behave. The first aim of this session is to discuss the networked, multilevel and multilayered relationships of interfirm relationships. In simplified form, interfirm relationships can be represented as dyadic interactions between two corporate actors: the supplier firm and the customer firm, but when reviewing in detail they are embedded in larger network structures, with other customers, competitors, providers, and customers of customers, among others. Whether for example trust develops in a dyadic relationship depends also on surrounding relationships. Also, ties among corporate actors can be disaggregated to relations between the company and its employees, between the employees and the employees of the client, and last between the employees of the client and the client company. These internal networks help explain corporate relationships. Additionally, it is helpful to review in more detail the multilayered and dynamic nature of interfirm relations.
Second, presentations may focus on explaining the behaviors of individual customers in the context of larger communities. Again, it is assumed that behaviors of individual customers do not occur in isolation, but that they are influenced by others. In this sense, SNA is a fruitful tool for for developing better marketing strategies (such as viral marketing), for predicting trends, or for identifying new business opportunities.
The study of such relationships allows a clearer vision about sales and personal selling.