The contemporary business environment is characterized by dynamic changes taking place every moment. These changes are often so significant that they even question the survival of some companies in the market. The marketing environment today is so uncertain that companies need to transform their marketing tactics occasionally so as to attract new and retain existing customers. Ozsomer et al. (1997, p403) refer to such uncertainty in the market as, “ it is possible to equate uncertainty with unpredictability, which is the inability to foretell future events. .. Whatever occurs in the environment is likely to affect the degree of uncertainty experienced by its members” .
In such a scenario, a marketer confronts the problem of conducting and engaging the company’ s marketing activities under uncertainty. The marketing strategies, tactics, and activities all need to change with the changes taking place in the market. Brownlie and Spender (1995, p40) illuminate that, “ unforeseen changes in the economic climate, or in the behavior of a client, of an agent or a supplier, can suddenly emasculate even the most careful and rigorous market analysis and planning” . The whole process of marketing engages a marketer in interaction with several other parties such as customers, suppliers and also the competitors.
Hence, uncertainty lies in any unpredictability concerning the actions and behaviors of any of these parties. Relationship marketing concept helps the marketer in conducting marketing activities under uncertainty. As a matter of fact, it is the main purpose of this theory to enable a company market its product and services under unpredictable future conditions. Andersen (2001, p168) propound that the heart of the relationship marketing is, “ to decrease exchange uncertainty and to create customer collaboration and commitment through gradual development and ongoing adjustment of mutual norms and shared routines” .
Under relationship marketing, when a company enters into a mutually beneficial exchange activity with its customers, it needs to focus not on current sales but on initiating a relationship that can evoke customer loyalty and retention.
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