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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Volume 27, Issue 3
Welcome to 27(3). This issue is based around the theme of relationships. The viewpoint from Leyland Pitt et al. introduces the Global Text Project and discusses the challenges and opportunities created by the Open Source movement. This initiative builds on collegiality and community contribution. This viewpoint describes how a Wikibook was created, in collaboration with the participants of a graduate programme leading to the initiation of the Global Text Project. The authors believe the Open Source movement has created new ways of thinking and acting and that the contributions, modifications and improvements by all users to the original product provide a platform of continuous improvement and development. These authors are clearly extremely enthusiastic about this project. We get a different perspective from David Cox of Pearson plc who replies to the viewpoint defending textbooks, arguing that the focus on appropriate and targeted quality material means that there will always be a place for the academic textbook.
Claire Brown, Peter Varley and John Pal present their paper on how applicants select courses and discuss this in a services marketing framework. Their main emphasis is on the final stage of the process – the purchase decision, they conclude that university personnel need to be mindful that the decision process is essentially a two-way relationship that takes place over an extended period of time. They suggest that universities should refine and target their communications efforts, and pay close attention to the quality of the interactions with potential students throughout this relationship, furthermore they contest that the adoption of a services marketing framework will make the recruitment process more effective.
Kallol Das from the International Institute of Information Technology in India presents a review of research on Relationship Marketing spanning 1994-2006 and has undertaken a content analysis of this. Thus, this paper provides a comprehensive bibliography, a classification structure for the domain and an agenda for further research.
The next paper also addresses relationships and is set in a context close to many Marketing Intelligence & Planning readers hearts – recruiting students, customers, to university programmes. Arminda do Paço and Mário Raposo of the University of Beira Interior in Portugal contribute a paper on green consumer market segmentation. This paper aims to identify distinct market segments based on several environmental variables. The paper combinines demographic variables with items covering concern, affect, knowledge, environmentally friendly behaviours, information search, activism, green product buying behaviour, price sensitivity, waste separation/recycling, perceived efficiency and skepticism. There is evidence to profile those (Portuguese) consumers who are most likely to buy greener products. Interestingly though, the results indicate that generally, despite support for green policies, concerns do not translate into actions. Green behavior is often characterized by protecting the environment through saving electricity and water, perhaps indicating economic drivers rather than purely environmental consciousness. The paper concludes that firms that do not respond to the green challenge with products that are safer for the environment will risk losing credibility in the eyes of those consumers who are concerned with environmental issues. Again, this highlights the importance in marketing of relationships with our markets.
In a marketing environment of increasing electronic purchase, Kittipong Sophonthummapharn of Umeå University in Sweden presents a paper that considers a framework for electronic customer relationship management. The top five influential factors that differentiate between eCRM adopters and non-adopters are compatibility, industry pressure, customer pressure, subjective norm and attitude. The findings offer insight for public and private sector organization and technology suppliers who wish to influence the development of eCRM.
Steve Dix and Ian Phau from Curtin University of Technology in Australia address an element of the marketing communications mix that is often used in an attempt to build relationships – editorials. This is often put forward as a misleading, even unethical approach to promotion yet this research does not substantiate concerns that blurring content is misleading. Companies and agencies show positive attitudes towards blurring practices. This paper offers advertisers and agencies a guide to shifts over the last 15 years in how blurring practices are perceived, providing insight as to how editorials contribute to customer relationships.
We accept that organisations as well as customers are complex in their behaviours. The next paper from Michael Lillis and Robert Tian of Medaille College in New York, emphasises how emotional Intelligence can help us understand and differentiate people in diverse and complex organisations and thus be in a position to build meaningful customer relationships. The results are considered in the context of cross-cultural competencies and skills that are essential for an effective multinational enterprise.
Pentti Järvi, and Juha Munnukka at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland consider the dynamics and characteristics of buying. This paper explores how the structure of a buying centre might change depending on buying situations and even during a single buying process. This paper acknowledges how the relationships inherent in a buying situation need to be sensitive and adaptive to a specific context. Relationships need to be acknowledged and managed. This research found that the structure of buying centre networks needs to be highly dynamic and change significantly between buying situations and phases of the buying process. The authors identify five types of networks: expert, informal inward-oriented; extensive, formal specialist, inward-oriented; extensive, outward and more management-oriented co-operative; specification-oriented management and responsibility-led co-operative; and versatile management-led specialist-oriented. The results also suggest power distance, risk tolerance, and individualism/collectivism are useful constructs to apply in influencing the structure of buying centre networks.
I hope you find these contributions to relationship challenges interesting and useful.
Michael HarkerAssociate Editor