- Preferred customer
- Reverse marketing
To perform well, firms need competent suppliers who are ready to invest time and resources. However, the best suppliers can choose the clients that they prefer to work closely with; therefore, clients have to compete for these suppliers’ attention and find ways to become more attractive. Developing different relationships with suppliers according to the role they are expected to play for the firm is vital (Bensaou, 1999) and, regardless of the nature of the relationship, it is important to define and implement appropriate operating procedures to develop a cooperative advantage (Kanter, 1994) or a collaborative advantage (Dyer, 2000). Marketing strategies used by clients to attract customers are well studied; the “other side” of the attractiveness issue exists as well (Brokaw and Davidson, 1978; Leenders and Blenkhorn, 1988). More recently, the related concepts of customer attractiveness, supplier satisfaction, and preferential customer status have interested several researchers in supply management. In this empirical research we decided to focus on the concept of “preferred customer”. Since this concept is complex and strongly determined by contextual factors, we chose the case study method as an explanatory method (Johnston et al., 1999; Dubois and Araujo, 2007), to understand how a purchasing firm can convince a supplier to be its preferred customer.