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The effect of marketing communication on business relationship loyalty

Nora Hänninen (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)
Heikki Karjaluoto (School of Business and Economics, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 6 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to create a new understanding of industrial business-to-business (B2B) relationships by connecting the theoretical streams of marketing communications and relationship marketing. This study tests how various marketing communication channels and communication quality increase the transformation of customer-perceived value into customer loyalty.


The theoretical framework consists of links between customer-perceived value, marketing communication quality, channel effectiveness, and customer loyalty. The age of the business relationship is also taken into consideration. Empirical testing is based on global survey data (n=121) collected from customers of Finnish manufacturing companies operating in the paper, mineral, and metal-processing industries.


The effects of customer-perceived value on customer loyalty are both direct and indirect, as marketing communications partially mediate this relationship. The customer-perceived effectiveness of various marketing communication channels adds more to loyalty formation than the perceived quality of marketing communications.

Practical implications

Of special interest for marketing practitioners is the channel-specific approach to the effectiveness of marketing communications. Results suggest that personalized channels would be the most important mediators of the effects of perceived value on loyalty and also bring up the possibility of combining personalized direct communication with new cost-effective digital channels.


Relatively little research has examined the mediating role of marketing communications in the relationship between perceived value and loyalty in the B2B context.



Financial support from the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES), Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the Foundation for Economic Education (Finland) is gratefully acknowledged.


Hänninen, N. and Karjaluoto, H. (2017), "The effect of marketing communication on business relationship loyalty", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 458-472.



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