Relationship Marketing

1.1 Relationship Marketing defined

Relationship Marketing clearly does not have a single definition, and it means different things to different people. (Harker,M.J.,1999).   However, it is written about to an extent whereby a common understanding of the main characteristics of the approach can be usefully derived. Some studies have only looked at ‘Business to business’ (where Relationship Marketing’ has its roots, and an interesting area concerning how collaborative relationships between businesses, often based on trust, (Selnes,F.,1998), can work in an increasingly litigious environment); but this report will consider conventional models of marketing strategy, including Transactional Marketing, and look at how they compare to the accepted Relationship Marketing approach. More specifically the key areas considered will be:

 The broader scope of markets including suppliers, business referral and ‘influence’ sources and importantly, the internal market.
 Bringing together quality, customer service and marketing
 A focus on customer retention an loyalty issues
 An organisation wide approach to a cross-functional, integrated, Marketing strategy
 A resolution of the competing interests of customers, staff and shareholders by changing the way in which the organisation is managed.

Whether this constitutes a new paradigm or best practice from Marketing theory which is now applicable in twenty-first century business is, arguably, a semantic difference and is therefore not significant. What is important is whether real organisational benefits are demonstrably obtainable, and whether, or not, Relationship Marketing is a model of modern Marketing best-practice.

2 An Overview of Relationship Marketing

An overview of the characteristics of Relationship Marketing should clearly differentiate the approach from that of the one-time sale or Transactional model. Some regard this as a transition to a more suitable model for modern business (Payne A. 1995)...