Edited by Ronald Paul Hill and Ryan Langan
A business organization exists and succeeds because of critical internal and external relationships with stakeholders, including customers, investors, employees, supply chain partners, regulators, communities and others. These relationships are built on the creation, delivery and exchange of both economic and non-economic resources, such as trust, time, information and understanding, toward the goal of creating long-term mutual interests and sustained value. While the exchange concept undergirded several decades of marketing scholarship, researchers and practitioners now emphasize a more relational and less transactional nature of marketing. Duncan and Moriarty (1998) recognize the centrality of communication in the development of business and marketing relationships, noting that ‘When communication is foremost and listening is given as much importance as saying, interactive relationships become the focus’ (p. 2). Like many authors, Duncan and Moriarty (1998) also note that relationships are impossible without communication and that ‘communication is a central integrative process in marketing . . . closing the distance between a company, its customers, and other stakeholders’ (p. 3). Current marketing practice and academic theory increasingly acknowledge an expanded role for marketing within both organizations and society. This broader orientation is also reflected in recent definitions of marketing promulgated by the American Marketing Association. The 2004 definition and the current 2007 definition repositioned the discipline in several ways, most notably through formal recognition of (1) the role and responsibility of marketing to provide value for society and (2) important stakeholders beyond customers and investors and a purely economic focus.
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