The purpose of this study is to explore consumers’ overall attitude toward relationship marketing and to determine the influence of consumers’ overall attitude on consumers’ intentions and behaviors. Many services companies practice relationship marketing and customer relationship management. Although the benefits and drawbacks of relationship marketing for consumers have been established, little is known about whether consumers have a relatively positive or negative attitude toward relationship marketing practices.
This research investigates consumers’ attitudes toward relationship marketing using a national survey of 245 consumers and a survey of 417 consumers living in the southern region of the USA.
Although approximately 70 per cent of our national consumer sample had a somewhat positive attitude toward relationship marketing, about 30 per cent had a somewhat negative or neutral attitude. Furthermore, approximately 39 per cent of consumers in the study would choose a company that does not engage in relationship marketing over a company that does. The results also indicate that consumers’ overall attitude toward relationship marketing impacts their likelihood to respond favorably to specific relationship marketing tactics.
Some limitations should be noted. First and not uncommon to most survey research in marketing, the relationships between constructs in this study may be inflated because of common methods bias. Second, this research reports the results from two studies. Although one of the studies represents a national sample, additional research using the scales developed in this research is needed.
This research indicates that consumers’ attitudes toward relationship marketing impacts their willingness to engage in relationships with service companies and their response to specific relationship marketing tactics. Because consumer attitudes toward relationship marketing vary, companies should consider segmenting their customer base using this information.
This study extends previous research by using quantitative techniques to measure consumers’ overall attitudes toward relationship marketing and assessing the influence of those attitudes on intentions and behaviors.
Jones, M.A., Reynolds, K.E., Arnold, M.J., Gabler, C.B., Gillison, S.T. and Landers, V.M. (2015), "Exploring consumers’ attitude towards relationship marketing", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 188-199. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSM-04-2014-0134
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