Fragment: Relationship Marketing
By Evert Gummesson
Directions in a new economy
Surveying perceived trends – not just falling in love with the popular hype but settling for the solid and sustainable – is a laborious task. Despite the uncertainty, we need to wrestle with the trends to design future scenarios in our marketing and business plans. The following review of conclusions and recommendations is here to serve as food for thought
Need for theory and context.
Marketing management today suffers from theory anorexia and cannot properly feed on and digest what is happening in a new economy. Both practitioners and academics are vulnerable to con men offering panaceas and explanations supported by the ever-present media hype. There is need for more healthy and vitamin-rich feeding of the marketing mind. We need marketing theory, good theory, essential for scholars and practicing managers alike. There is currently no general theory of marketing in existence, just reminiscences of outdated microeconomics and fragmented models or concepts, often called theories but so out of management context that they do not survive beyond the shelter of an academic ivory tower.
Healthier marketing theory
General marketing theory in the making.
The total offering. We must eventually learn to see the offering trade-off between eCRM and hCRM. We need to properly absorb the values of relationship marketing or CRM will forever be no more than an expensive computer system.
Value and networks. A new economy has been described from two perspectives, as value output and network input. We need to think in those terms, but thinking is not enough; we also need to commit ourselves and take action. It includes viewing the roles of the supplier and the customer in a dimmer light. We must accept that a supplier can add value but the customer also adds value.
Complex and ambiguous
Complexity and ambiguity.
The world is bewildering and so is marketing. It is complex and ambiguous. Research in marketing must put a halt to the excessive, even obscene indulgence in quantification and surveys. We need less deductive hypotheses-testing of isolated concepts out of context, and more inductive research where true observation is encouraged. Our observations as practitioners, consumers and researchers must be given priority over repositories of old theories, concepts, axioms and other claims of marketing. In discussions, a new economy is more often than not treated on the terms of an old economy, using its concepts and trying to squeeze a reluctant reality into it.
Balanced centricity. The marketing concept, holding that companies should focus on customer needs and not become navel watchers of their own products and manufacturing, is the foundation of today’s interest in the customer. However, both perspectives are needed. Customer-centricity and production-centricity need one another. They must shake hands and make friends in a balanced production-consumption centricity.