The explanatory foundations of relationship marketing theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations


Purpose - Drawing on resource-advantage theory and a diverse literature base, this article seeks to further the development of the explanatory foundations of relationship marketing theory by proposing, and then providing, tentative answers to three "why?" questions in relationship marketing: why is relationship marketing so prominent now? Why do firms and consumers enter into relationships with other firms and consumers? Why are some efforts at relationship marketing more successful than others? Design/methodology/approach - Before addressing the three questions, the paper begins by discussing the different forms of relationship marketing. Findings - Although relationship marketing is a relatively young field of inquiry, relationship marketing theory is an extremely rich area of research. Relationship marketing can take many forms and, as a result, relationship marketing theory has the potential to increase one's understanding of many aspects of business strategy. Research limitations/implications - The answers to the three questions in this paper provide a strong foundation for the further development relationship marketing theory and are useful for both relationship marketing theorists and practitioners. Originality/value - As relationship marketing theory and practice are developed further, the authors hope that the article will provide useful guidance to those involved. From a marketing theory standpoint, the eight kinds of factors provide guidance to researchers exploring the many forms of relational marketing. For practitioners, they provide a useful framework for evaluating extant relationship marketing strategies and for developing future strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-87
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Competences
  • Public policy
  • Relationship marketing
  • Resources


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