Three schools of thought within relationship marketing, inter-organizational, customer relationship, and customer valuation research, are all analyzed within the scope of marketing practice. Each school of thought is analyzed in line with marketing productivity, and the research that follows helps to demonstrate the success of each approach. Furthermore, the success of relationship marketing, and attempting to give it a specific definition, is analyzed. Each approach to pinpointing a more specific example of what relationship marketing entails is explored; from including all concepts of relationship marketing, to including the most used keywords experts use when defining relationship marketing, to finally, allowing the expert to apply the definition using his or her own approach are all analyzed. A study was also conducted to use customer feedback regarding a specific definition of relationship marketing, since generally scholars, experts, and businesspeople are the ones defining relationship marketing. Based on our findings and our consensus of analysis, we feel it is best to allow relationship marketing to be defined on an as needed approach by the scholar or the customer (client), since it encompasses so much, and can be applied successfully in many arenas. Although they are used rather interchangeably, there exists a clear distinction between the terms "customer" and "client". According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "customer is one that purchases a commodity or service" (https://www.merriam-webster.com), while in the business world customers are assumed to be "kings" and/or "always right". Instead, "client is one that is under the protection of another", or "a person who engages the professional advice or services of another" (https://www.merriam-webster.com). The difference is that customers trust their own judgement to assess a purchase, while clients rely on professionals who will explain what they really need. Interestingly, the key element of trust is common in both definitions, although it may be argued that it is even more important in the case of clients and/or in B2B transactions.


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pp. 423-430
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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