, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 255-271

Relationship marketing in consumer markets: Antecedents and consequences

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Understanding the motivations of consumers to engage in relationships with marketers is important for both practitioners and marketing scholars. To develop an effective theory of relationship marketing, it is necessary to understand what motivates consumers to reduce their available market choices and engage in a relational market behavior by patronizing the same marketer in subsequent choice situations. This article draws on established consumer behavior literature to suggest that consumers engage in relational market behavior due to personal influences, social influences, and institutional influences. Consumers reduce their available choice and engage in relational market behavior because they want to simplify their buying and consuming tasks, simplify information processing, reduce perceived risks, and maintain cognitive consistency and a state of psychological comfort. They also engage in relational market behavior because of family and social norms, peer group pressures, government mandates, religious tenets, employer influences, and marketer policies. The willingness and ability of both consumers and marketers to engage in relational marketing will lead to greater marketing productivity, unless either consumers or marketers abuse the mutual interdependence and cooperation.

He has published more than 200 books and research papers in different areas of marketing. His bookThe Theory of Buyer Behavior (1969) with John A. Howard is a classic in the field. He has recently published two scholarly books:Marketing Theory: Evolution and Evaluation (1988) andConsumption Values and Market Choices (1991). He is on the editorial boards of at least a dozen scholarly journals in marketing, international business, and quantitative methods; he is also series editor ofResearch in Marketing (JAI Press).
Prior to joining Emory, he was an associate professor of marketing at XLRI Jamshedpur in India. He received his M.B.A. and Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University, India. He has authored a number of articles in the area of international marketing, business alliances, and environmental marketing. He is coeditor ofResearch in Marketing (Annual Series, JAI Press) and serves on the editorial review board ofInternational Marketing Review.