APPLYING RELATIONSHIP MARKETING PRINCIPLES BASED ON CUSTOMER SATISFACTION RESEARCH IN A DIRECT MARKETING COMPANY IN ROMANIA Ioan Fotea Emanuel University of Oradea Nufarului 87 St., Oradea, Romania email@example.com Silvia Fotea Emanuel University of Oradea Nufarului 87 St., Oradea, Romania firstname.lastname@example.org Emanuel Poli Emanuel University of Oradea Nufarului 87 St., Oradea, Romania email@example.com -AbstractThe present paper focuses on presenting how customer satisfaction research can enable companies to build long-term relationships with their customers. Relationship marketing approach is of paramount importance to companies that want to thrive in this highly competitive environment. Scholars affirm that maintaining and building a relationship (Hollensen, 2010) with your already existing customers is a better focus than the one time deal approach. The paper proceeds in the following manner: first, the theoretical foundations of relationship marketing and customer satisfaction research are reviewed; second, there are analyzed the possibilities of implementing the principles in a direct marketing company; third, the research team presents a case study consisting of an empirical research with 392 respondents on measuring customer satisfaction of a Romanian direct marketing company with the aim of identifying the specific elements that help build satisfying and long-term relationships. Keywords: relationship, direct marketing, customer satisfaction research JEL Classification: M31
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT STUDIES Vol 3, No 2, 2011 ISSN: 1309-8047 (Online)
1. INTRODUCTION 1.1. The Role of Relationship Marketing in Organizations In today’s competitive business environment, companies can no longer survive with a transactional attitude towards customers. They need to focus their marketing lenses to a more relational dimension, which is considered to be the most suitable approach for satisfying and maintaining customers (Hollensen, 2010). Unlike transactional marketing, the relational approach focuses on the customers and long-term relationship with them. In the relationship approach of marketing, the relationship with the customer is given the status of a “capital asset” within the company, which consequently means an allocation and prioritization of resources and investments directed towards this area (HennigThurau and Hansen, 2000). The main goal of relationship marketing is to build mutually satisfactory longterm relationships with key constituents in order to gain and maintain their business (Gummesson, 2008). But this approach influences not just the companyclient relationship, but also company-employee, company-marketing partner and company-financial community relationships. This holistic dimension empowers the company through long-term relationships with all its key stakeholders. The purpose of relationship marketing within a company is to identify and understand customers as much as possible and to build a unique company asset, which is a marketing network (Kotler and Keller, 2009). Relationship marketing also involves (Pop, 2006): • monitoring customer satisfaction • taking action towards reduction of risk and uncertainty perceived by the client • implementing actions aiming at customer loyalty and long-term relationships • satisfaction of customers on both short and long-term. 1.2. The key principles of relationship marketing The key principles of relationship marketing have been illustrated during its conceptual development mainly through a comparison with transactional marketing. Individualization of service, information about customer, investment in customer, interactivity with the customer, integration of customer, intention and selectivity have also been identified as relationship marketing key principles. (Diller, 2000).