Edited by Robert M. Morgan, Janet Turner Parish and George Deitz
Chapter 2: Relationship marketing: Berry’s insights from the past and for the future
In 1983, Leonard L. Berry introduced the term “relationship marketing” to the services marketing literature (Berry 1983). He defined relationship marketing as “attracting, maintaining, and – in multi-service organizations – enhancing customer relationships” (1983: 25). While acknowledging the attraction of new customers as an important step in the marketing process, Berry emphasized that “cementing the relationship, transforming indifferent customers into loyal ones, [and] serving customers as clients” (1983: 25) was also an integral part of marketing and should not be overlooked or underestimated. Encouraging both marketing academics and practitioners to take note, Berry called for a strategic focus on how to retain, not just acquire, customers. Following that call, research into relationship marketing (RM) has grown and flourished over the past three decades. In fact, by 1999, over 26 definitions of RM had been identified in the literature (Harker 1999). Relationship marketing has become a prevalent term in the marketing field and is growing in importance to marketers as they try to win over consumers in an increasingly competitive environment. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the emergence of RM into the marketing literature and identify fertile areas of future research to stimulate knowledge and understanding of this potentially powerful marketing tool. The chapter begins with a discussion of how Dr. Leonard L. Berry’s exploration of RM emerged since the concept’s inception in 1983.
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