The purpose of Experiment 1 was to determine how external and internal reviews may differentially influence engagement across two stages of the B2B customer journey. Further, we were interested in how reviews of different valence originating from these different sources might further influence the level of engagement.
Holistically, then, engagement is the degree of participation, involvement and positive affect that a buyer has for a supplier.
To tease out the hypothesized differences of stage, source and valence, we conducted a field experiment with 265 purchasing professionals across industries. Purchasing professionals read one of eight scenarios at random. Each scenario represented a combination of the variables of interest.
Given a general fear of suppliers about receiving negative reviews, yet the willingness of purchasing professionals to explore more about the conditions of a supplier’s negative review, we decided to investigate further with a second field experiment.