Sustainability starts from within: A critical analysis of internal marketing in supporting sustainable value co-creation in B2B organisations

David M. Brown, Chrysostomos Apostolidis*, Bidit Lal Dey, Pallavi Singh, Alkis Thrassou, Lefteris Kretsos, Mujahid Mohiuddin Babu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


The role of value co-creation in embedding sustainability within B2B marketing is well-documented. However, little is known about how employees enact this value co-creation, or how they can be supported to do so by their organisations. This article addresses this theoretical gap by analysing the role of employees and Internal Marketing in B2B organisations' efforts to co-create sustainable value. We propose that, since employees are tasked with delivering their organisation's ‘promise’, they can also purposely generate value for a broader range of stakeholders. As such, Internal Marketing can be a key enabler (or inhibitor) in these efforts. Adopting a Service-Dominant Logic and Service Gap lens, the research utilises Template Analysis of 17 semi-structured interviews with employees from a range of B2B organisations, which have adopted ‘sustainability-oriented’ practices. The findings highlight the contribution of Internal Marketing in supporting sustainable value, and demonstrate that, whilst employees can play a key role in the co-creation of sustainable value, value co-destruction can occur due to a ‘Sustainability gap’ within their organisations. This study contributes significantly to extant knowledge by offering a taxonomized analysis of the ‘sustainability gap’ and identifying how B2B organisations can address these at the awareness, design, internal communication, and implementation stages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-27
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Early online date19 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • B2B marketing
  • Internal marketing
  • Sustainability
  • Value co-creation
  • Value co-destruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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