Relationship marketing research to date has focused for the most part on two sets of issues. First, what are the benefits of relationship marketing adoption? Second, how are marketing relationships built and maintained? Although these are important questions for researchers to address, we believe an understanding of the strategic impact of relationship marketing is equally important. We hold that relationship marketing should only be adopted when it offers, or contributes to, a firm's competitive advantage - a competitive advantage that, it is hoped, proves sustainable. As a first step toward better understanding the strategic role of relationship marketing, adopting a resource-based approach, we first clarify the role that resources gained through relationships may play in marketing relationships. Then we isolate and discuss the various kinds of resources that might be gained through relationships. Finally, we develop five propositions for assessing the strategic worth of these resources in marketing relationships. J Busn Res 1999. 46.281-290.