Thursday, March 18,  2021


Björn IVENS – Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg (Germany)

The business world is experiencing a shift away from ‘physicality’ due to the ubiquitous growth of the service sector and a progressive shift from selling product to offering service. Yet, at the same time, with regard to technology-based phenomena such as the Internet of Things (IoT), it is physical products equipped with sensors that are at the centre of the transformation. Our research (Pardo, Yvens, Pagani 2020) seeks to understand how business products become smart products. It focuses on how product physicality (visibility of smartness; additional functions) and product ecosystems (product connectedness; degree of autonomy) are changing, and the resulting issues for marketing managers. We propose a typology of smart products along two dimensions: ‘Product Attributes’ and ‘Ecosystemic attributes’. We distinguish four categories of smart products: More Efficient Products (MEPs), Augmented Products (APs), Products as a Node (PN), and Products as a Hub (PH). In each category, a product acquires a certain degree of ‘digital enhancement’, ‘embeddedness’ and ‘transformativeness’, as we describe. We also discuss several implications of our work both at the theoretical and managerial levels.

BIO  Björn IVENS – Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg (Germany)

Björn Ivens is chair professor of sales and marketing at Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, Germany. He holds a PhD and an HDR from the University of Nuremberg, Germany. Prior to joining the University of Bamberg, he was a full professor at HEC Lausanne. His research focuses on business-to-business markets and relationships, encompassing the digital transformation, digital business models, strategic account management, governance mechanisms, pricing, and the role of sustainability initiatives on business markets. His research has been published in numerous journals.He has also served as guest editor of special issues of Industrial Marketing Management on topics such as open sustainability, the integration of purchasing and marketing, or the management of food waste, and has published text books on customer management, on pricing, and a general introduction to marketing. He has supervised 30+ PhD theses and several HDR projects. Björn Ivens regularly teaches in executive programs at business schools such as St. Gallen or WU Vienna.