Annotated Bibliography and Summary
Gok, O - Annotated Bibliography and Summary introduction. (2007, March). Marketing and Marketing Managers in the New Era: A Relational Perspective. Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 10 (2), 218-224
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In this article, the author discusses the shift from the traditional marketing viewpoint based on the 4-P marketing mix to a more contemporary outlook, where long term relationships with customers are being given priority in the face of changing industrial and service markets. Where marketing management was earlier dependent on analyzing units of products, prices, firms and transactions, today, relationships with customers, suppliers, resellers and other actors of market or non-market environment of the system must be understood and managed effectively to ensure profitability and a sustainable competitive edge. This obviously calls for marketing managers with the requisite skills and qualities beyond traditional qualifications who can adapt to the changing demands of modern times.
It has been argued extensively that the traditional marketing approach based on the marketing mix is very product-oriented and useful only in the very short run. As researchers started delving in to the world of industrial markets, business relationships between two companies and their relationships in a wider network started gaining importance. At this time, the marketing of services also started to emerge as a separate field of marketing, relational approaches started to gain recognition as a way of gaining key competitive advantage and gradually, the face of consumer marketing also started to evolve. This would ensure companies of long term profitability as the firm enjoys increased customer trust, cooperation and commitment. Also, this is a benefit which can not be replicated easily by competitors.
Contemporary views on marketing management cite the importance of focusing on knowledge resources, the firm’s position in the value chain and on customers, services, benefits, relationships, collaborating with business partners and customers to create value. A more collaborating marketing model is emerging where the firm must work together with its customers, channel intermediaries as well as competitors to build strategic partnerships to ensure survival in today’s competitive world.
This has also led the organization to be viewed as a set of processes rather than functions where marketing is the definition, development and delivery to customer value, comprising an array of marketing processes, spread over a number of departments, rather than the role of one department in the organization. That being said, the role of marketing managers remains inherently crucial, as they must have their pulse on customer values and beliefs, ensure that customer needs are met and subsequently communicate this value proposition within the organization as well as to the firm’s external stakeholders.
This article provides a comprehensive view of the importance of relationship marketing in recent times and substantiates its claims with authentic and relevant research. Customer retention, the mainstay of the relational approach to marketing, can definitely enhance the profitability of a company as the concept of customer lifetime value has shown. And this is only possible if cross-functional teams are employed and the creation and delivery of customer value is perceived as the responsibility of the entire company and not just that of one department. This article was very consistent in its message and managed to drive home the need for a relational approach, as well as the importance of the role of the marketing manager as an integrator, organizer, information coordinator and relationship manager. While the classical or traditional approach to marketing based on the 4Ps and the functionalistic view was also effective, it provided a very tangible advantage which could easily be copied by competitors and hence, the positive results derived from it were usually short-lived. Also, firms had to constantly focus on acquiring new customers to keep expanding their market share and stay competitive. With customer relationships and strategic partnerships becoming more important, focus has rightly shifted to retaining customers, which is less than half the cost of acquiring customers and ensures a sustainable advantage to companies. As customer beliefs and values change and as markets evolve, marketing strategies must also change accordingly – it is not necessary that the old tried and tested methods continue to work. Maintaining long term relationships is today’s marketing mantra and marketing managers must pay attention to it to ensure survival in this competitive arena.