Defining, measuring, and managing business reference value

V. Kumar, J. Andrew Petersen, Robert P. Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


It is common for business-to-business firms to use references from client firms when trying to influence prospects to become new customers. In this study, the authors define the concept of business reference value (BRV) as the ability of a client's reference to influence prospects to purchase and the degree to which it does so. They develop a three-step method to compute BRV for a given client using a retrospective reported measure of reference value. Next, they use data from a financial services and a telecommunications firm to identify and empirically test the drivers of BRV. These drivers fall into four categories: (1) length of client relationship, (2) client firm size, (3) reference media format, and (4) reference congruency. Next, the authors empirically show that clients that have the highest BRV are not the same as the clients that have the highest customer lifetime value. They also show that an average client that is high on BRV has significantly different characteristics from the average client that is low on BRV. Finally, they derive implications for managing BRV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-86
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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