B2B green marketing and innovation theory for competitive advantage

Document Type


Publication Date



Purpose In these economically and ecologically challenging times, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how innovation theory can be used to design more effective, proactive B2B green marketing strategies in order to meet the triple bottom line of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. Design-methodology-approach This conceptual paper provides a literature review of green marketing strategies and competitive advantage, and relates it to diffusion of innovation theory in a new way. First, a brief overview is described of corporate social responsibility (CSR) theories related to green marketing, with this paper providing value by adding innovation theory to address the gap in the literature. Next, a discussion is provided on reactive and proactive B2B green marketing strategies, degrees of innovation, and diffusion theory research, and propositions are developed. Then, a new model is presented on B2B green marketing innovation strategies and competitive advantage. Next, a conceptual analysis is presented using a diffusion of innovation characteristics framework to show relationships of the innovation characteristics with proactive B2B green marketing strategies and competitive advantage. Findings Five propositions are developed to reflect the relationship of B2B green marketing strategies with types of innovations and competitive advantage. In addition, a conceptual analysis found seven areas of B2B proactive green marketing strategies related to the diffusion of innovation characteristics. Findings also showed diffusion characteristics are associated with 11 key benefits of sustainable B2B green marketing competitive advantage. Research limitations-implications Limitations and managerial implications are discussed. Also, this paper suggests recommendations related to diffusion of innovation characteristics in future research. Practical implications This paper provides a diffusion of innovation characteristics framework to test the effectiveness of B2B green marketing strategies and to help generate competitive advantages in an ecologically-sustainable way. Managerial implications are discussed on how organisations can achieve successful competitive advantage while contributing to environmental sustainability for the common good of society. Originality-value This study addresses a gap in the literature on environmental-green marketing by being the first study to expand the CSR category of instrumental theories to include diffusion of innovation theory. Diffusion of innovation theory is applicable to green marketing because it includes new innovations (products, services, processes, etc.). An application of diffusion of innovation characteristics and their relationship to proactive B2B green marketing strategies can help shed light on how to increase the rate of adoption for green products, services, and processes to create a competitive advantage, and at the same time, help move the world toward greater ecological sustainability. © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Publication Title

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

First Page Number


Last Page Number




This document is currently not available here.