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Paper info: The Essence and the Essentials: A Distillation of Relationship Marketing


The Essence and the Essentials: A Distillation of Relationship Marketing


Roger Palmer

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 16th IMP-conference in Bath, U.K in 2000.



Much of the published work in the field of relationship marketing is normative anddescriptive. Only a limited amount of empirical work has been conducted. That which hasbeen carried out demonstrates the gap between the academic and practitioner domains. The?paradigm shift? widely proposed in the literature is not yet demonstrated in practice, withcompanies being shown to adopt a range of marketing stances ranging from transactional torelational.This ongoing research project has elicited from the literature a series of constructs thatsummarise relationship marketing. These constructs have been developed into a tentativeframework or model that describes relationship marketing. The objective is to offer a betterdescription and explanation of observed practice.It is proposed that a relationship approach is most appropriate and suitable for a business in amature or declining market where customers and their retention is a more strategic issue. Adetailed and comprehensive case study has been conducted in a mature, global manufacturingbusiness. The results of the case study have been used to inform and modify the initialframework in order to arrive at a more comprehensive explanation of relationship marketingpractice. This takes the form of an improved model and a set of theoretical propositions toguide further work, reported in this paper.This research adopts a comparative approach to theory building and testing with the aim ofdeveloping a model within which company practice can be understood. It is also hoped thatmanagerial guidelines within the context of a mature business can eventually be proposed.