The sphere of marketing as one of the main forces of influence on modern consumers is open to innovations, new technologies, and improved strategies. This area is interesting to me for several reasons, in particular, due to an opportunity to implement new ideas in practice and verify their effects on consumer behavior. The scope of relationship marketing is one of the most fascinating and, at the same time, valuable in terms of business benefits.
An ability to introduce productive approaches to managing customer demand opens up broad growth prospects. Moreover, this area has not only practical but also theoretical value since based on the developed concepts, new methods of interaction between sellers and buyers may be created. My work is aimed at defining my future research directions related to relationship marketing, the role of emotions in this area, and identifying the merits of the Service Marketing Triangle in the context of curing business benefits and strengthening consumer demand.
Future Research Directions
Relationship Marketing and Its Practical Uses
In many cases, customers’ intention to buy a product is not enough for successful sales transactions. It often happens that the latter strictly depend on the relationships between companies and clients and their quality. One more aspect of the mentioned question is the degree to which companies’ ability to analyze the needs of target clients and rely on this information in communication predicts their commercial and reputational success. As a researcher in the field of marketing and business, I am deeply interested in studying relationship marketing and further developing the scientific potential of the concept.
Nowadays, relationship marketing can be listed among the fields that need contributions from new researchers most of all. Originally, the term “relationship marketing” was introduced by Berry in 1983, whereas the first high-quality book devoted to the concept was published less than thirty years ago (Payne and Frow 11). Apart from the practical uses of relationship marketing, my interests include studying the variety of theoretical approaches to it that can depend on sociocultural differences and researchers’ worldview.
Modern scholars single out three schools of relationship marketing that set priorities differently, and these dissimilarities are partially reflective of culturally conditioned business values. Thus, Nordic and Anglo-Australian approaches to studying the field are drastically different from the North American one since the latter gives pride of place to reciprocal interactions between clients and suppliers in organizational contexts (Payne and Frow 11).
In contrast, the first two schools utilize more complicated theoretical frameworks that consider the role of quality management in marketing and the theory of interactive networks (Payne and Frow 11). In my future research projects, I am planning to study the practical uses of relationship marketing concerning the existing theoretical approaches.
The aforementioned field attracts my attention due to its potential practical value related to success in business activities and customer loyalty. Apart from studying the current state of the art, I am going to put a priority on the right and wrong practical uses of relationship marketing. Modern scholars acknowledge that the misuse of this CRM facet is harmful to business relationships; despite this threat, the question of “dark side behaviors” in practical strategies is still underresearched (Payne and Frow 13). Studying and analyzing the examples of popular and unsuccessful companies, I would like to eliminate the identified research gap.
The improper or unethical application of relationship marketing techniques can manifest itself in a variety of forms, ranging from the intention to avoid business transparency to an imbalance between marketing and quality improvement efforts. In contrast, when customers are sure that their personal information is well-protected and all contract terms are clear and unambivalent, a company has a proper communication strategy that guarantees success and consumer retention. The ability of suppliers and service providers to design effective RM strategies that follow the principles of transparency, loyalty and client-centeredness define their long-term success and competitive advantage. With that in mind, I am going to contribute to the field by generalizing on effective RM strategies and their common features.
Relationship Marketing and the Role of Emotions
In addition to studying the ways of applying research findings in the field of relationship marketing, I have one more area of interest such as the use of emotional appeals in RM strategies. The topic is of great importance to the sector because the correct use of emotional marketing techniques helps companies to stand out of the herd and create a competitive advantage. In marketing, emotions are regarded as the key “driving force” that sometimes acts as a stronger predictor of purchasing decisions compared to rational thoughts and logical reasoning (Kumar and Kumar 50).
Just like other tools commonly presented in marketing strategies, emotional appeals should not be overutilized. Thus, to make the best use of emotional marketing in RM strategies, it is pivotal to strike the right balance between relying on rationality too much and exploiting customers’ emotions.
In my future academic career, I would like to delve into the topic of emotions and study effective approaches to emotional marketing in a detailed way. There are many interesting techniques, the effectiveness of which can be tested experimentally. For instance, a company can improve its RM strategy with the help of emotions when it makes all communication with important customers and other categories of stakeholders more personalized.
It may include the use of individuals’ details or preferences for the creation of individual greeting cards and gifts to celebrate some occasions (Kumar and Kumar 50). However, not only pleasant emotions can be used as a tool to influence potential buyers. According to Harvey, the whole range of feelings that a person can experience may be utilized by marketers to create the maximum possible effect – sadness, joy, surprise, fear, and other expressions of the inner state. Such a unique style may allow updating usual and sometimes outdated marketing techniques and arouse consumer interest.
Other examples of effective emotional marketing strategies that may need to be studied include the establishment of loyalty programs for key business partners and clients. Such programs are aimed at customer retention and involve status systems, incentive plans, and corporate events with sports games or other activities (Kumar and Kumar 53). Apart from that, there is a variety of strategies that focus on marketing and communication activities on certain themes associated with emotional reactions, be it familial relationships, love to nature, or inspirational messages (Khuong and Tram 524). The importance of emotions in well-developed RM strategies explains my great interest in the question.
The Services Marketing Triangle in Employee Empowerment
In addition to the aforementioned consumer engagement techniques, proven schemes and methods may be utilized to strengthen trust between customers and sellers. The Service Marketing Triangle is a special model that “shows the key actors involved in marketing a service business” and determines the ways of interaction among participants (“Services Marketing Triangle”). This scheme involves the roles assigned to the members of the market and determines the marketing strategies that arise in the process of cooperation.
A company, customers, and employees are the main market participants, and their interaction is viewed for internal (employees-company), external (company-customer), and interactive (customer-employees) marketing (“Services Marketing Triangle”). In general, such a mechanism makes it possible to coordinate roles and promotes fruitful cooperation.
This method of work can be used to empower employees, which, in turn, will help to strengthen customer confidence in promises made by sellers. By the scheme principle, all market participants are accountable to one another. In case each of the participants follows the promises given strictly, the concept of relationship marketing will be introduced freely, and none of the Triangle representatives will experience difficulties. Consequently, this model is suitable for the considered methodology of interaction with the target audience and may contribute to the growth of consumer interest.
Relationship marketing is a promising area that is open to innovation and the introduction of new product strategies. Therefore, the considered tactical moves, including emotional appeals and the Services Marketing Triangle, provide an opportunity to benefit and contribute to the growth of customer interest. Demand indicators are key parameters for the success of the applied strategies, and if the proposed steps are successful, the considered concepts of relationship marketing may be incorporated into modern business realities.
Harvey, Steve. “The Power of Emotional Marketing: Once More with Feeling.” Fabrik. 2018. Web.
Khuong, Mai Ngoc, and Vu Ngoc Bich Tram. “The Effects of Emotional Marketing on Consumer Product Perception, Brand Awareness and Purchase Decision – A Study in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.” Journal of Economics, Business and Management, vol. 3, no. 5, 2015, pp. 524-530.
Kumar, Ashutosh, and Prabhat Kumar. “Role of Emotions and Relationship in Marketing: A Case Study.”Management, vol. 6, no. 8, 2015, pp. 49-56.
Payne, Adrian, and Pennie Frow. “Relationship Marketing: Looking Backwards Towards the Future.” Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 31, no. 1, 2017, pp. 11-15.
“Services Marketing Triangle.” Expert Program Management. Web.