The trends and developments in the market put strong pressure on companies and put into spotlight relationship marketing.
Relationship marketing is an idea which dates back as far as the 1960s evolving from direct response marketing during the period. Its re-emergence in the 1980s is prompted by the initial research done by Leonard Berry and Jag Sheth at Emory which states that, What is surprising is that researchers and businessmen have concentrated far more on how to attract customers to products and services than to retain them (Pressey and Matthews 2000, pg. 272) Relationship marketing has been elaborated and broadened by the marketing theorists Theodore Levitt in 1983.
Relationship marketing is defined as a philosophy of doing business and strategic orientation that focuses on keeping and improving relationships with the current customer rather than acquiring a new one (Relationship Marketing 2007). Relationship marketing thereby marks a transition from the traditional marketing approach of finding more customers for a product. In essence, relationship marketing is in recognition that a customer contributes to an organization his lifetime purchases of the company’s product if it is able to design marketing strategies which can cultivate loyalty and develop good relationships (Kotler 2005).
From its origin, relationship marketing has introduced a radical change in how business organizations think and conduct their operations. Traditionally companies have focused on attracting customers thereby facilitating only one-time transactions. However, the loyalty of a customer for a product and brand will facilitate repeat sales transactions thereby enhancing the firm’s total profit and revenue. Thus, it becomes imperative for companies to a long-term relationship with customers rather than on individual transactions by understanding the needs of the current customer as they go through their life cycles (Relationship Marketing 2007).