What is relationship marketing?

By Priya Chetty on October 29, 2011

First surfacing in the 1980’s; relationship marketing as a concept gained popularity in the 1990’s with more and more number of organisations adopting the term. The term was widely acclaimed even before the internet came to be recognized as a marketing tool. During this time, organisations realized the need to shift from traditional marketing tools which concentrate on the masses, to an approach that enabled them to build long-lasting, fruitful relationships with their customers (Egan, 2004). McKenna (1992) explained the need for such a realization, stating that companies were increasingly observing the end of brand loyalty due to the substantial increase in customer choice. The solution to this issue was to ‘increased customer involvement in the organisation, to create a long-lasting relationship between the organisation and the customer’.

The importance of relationship marketing can be explained in the following definition given by Duncan (2002) and Kotler (2003):

“It can be seen as relationships, networks and interaction, aimed at establishing long term win-win relationships with customers. It has the ambition to climb the loyalty ladder: from prospect over first-time customer, to client, supporter, advocate and partner”.

Flynn (2006) in her study on Blog Rules established the role of blogs in relationship-building with customers: “If you’re only in business to make money, you probably don’t need a blog. If you have a corporate mission, a blog keeps you engaged with the world”.

Nacht and Chaney (2006) further stated that “blogs are an effective way to establish meaningful relatiosnhips with the customers; as its sole purpose is to create a substantive bond based on trust”.

Gunelius (2010) said the “a blog is an excellent tool to enhance customer relationships”, as it is the best platform to deliver information on customer service issues.


  • McKenna, R. (1992) Relationship Marketing: successful strategies for the age of the consumer. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley
  • Egan, J. (2004) Relationship marketing. 2nd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education.
  • Flynn, N (2006): “Blog rules: a business guide to managing policy, public relations, and legal issues”. Published by AMACOM. pp 86.
  • Nacht, R; Chaney, P. (2006): “Realty blogging: build your brand and out-smart your competition”. Published by McGraw-Hill
  • Gunelius, S. (2010): “Blogging All-in-One For Dummies”. Published by Wiley, pp. 164-166


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