Customer in several sub-disciplines of marketing, such as

Customer relationship management (CRM) has been considered
widely among many practitioners and scholars as one of the new shining star among
recent marketing trends. Nowadays several companies are either inheriting or
creating their own customer-focused strategies, software programs and utilizing
their organizational schemes to leverage from an effective customer
relationship management to meet their long term business goals. Day by day,
brands are realizing the importance of having in-depth and integrated customer
knowledge against the emerging customer needs to have a close and sustainable
relationship with their customers.

 

Marketing scholars are studying the nature and scope of CRM
and are developing conceptualizations regarding the value and process of
cooperative and collaborative relationships between buyers and sellers. Many
scholars with interests in several sub-disciplines of marketing, such as
channels, services marketing, business-to-business marketing, advertising, and
so forth, are actively engaged in studying and exploring the conceptual foundations
of managing relationships with customers. They are interested in strategies and
processes for customer classification and selectivity; one-to-one relationships
with individual customers; key account management and customer business
development processes; frequency marketing, loyalty programs, cross-selling and
up-selling opportunities; and various forms of partnering with customers
including co-branding, joint-marketing, co-development, and other forms of
strategic alliances (Parvatiyar & Sheth, 2000).

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 In the new marketing world, customer
relationship management and relationship marketing terms are commonly used as
substitutes. As Nevin (1995) points out, these terms have been used to
reflect a variety of themes and perspectives.  Some of these themes offer
a narrow functional marketing perspective while others offer a perspective that
is broad and somewhat paradigmatic in approach and orientation.  A narrow
perspective of customer relationship management is database marketing
emphasizing the promotional aspects of marketing linked to database efforts
(Bickert, 1992)

 

Another viewpoint is to consider CRM only as seeking customer retention
by using a variety of after marketing tactics that lead to customer bonding or
staying in touch with the customer after a sale is made (Vavra, 1992).  A
more popular approach with the recent application of information technology is
to focus on individual or one-to-one relationships with customers that
integrate database knowledge with a long- term customer retention and growth
strategy (Peppers & Rogers, 1993). Thus, Shani and Chalasani (1992) have
defined relationship marketing as “an integrated effort to identify, maintain,
and build up a network with individual consumers and to continuously
strengthen the network for the mutual benefit of both sides, through
interactive, individualized and value- added contacts over a long period of
time”.

 

During the recent years, customers’ needs and wants have
changed, as well as demographics, lifestyles and shopping patterns (Kotler et
al., 2009). This is forcing retailers to meet customers’ demands in different
places and by having the brand appeal to the customers in several ways
(Ailawadi & Keller, 2004; Kotler et al., 2009). This signifies that
retailers are constantly seeking to adopt relationship marketing in order to
stand out (Zehir et al., 2011). A retailer, who does not manage to adopt
relationship marketing, will have a negative impact on customer’s loyalty that
can minimize their competitive advantage. Hence, to establish a long-term
relationship it is substantial to consider factors such as brand experience,
brand satisfaction and brand trust. These are factors that are important for
retail stores that are aiming at gaining brand loyalty from their customers
(?ahin et al., 2011).

 

The emergency of adopting customer
centric strategies increased the importance of building a reliable, structural
and compatible Customer Relationship Management approach to maintain the
relationship between the customers and the organizations in its best possible
way.

The key factor to boost an organization’s competitive power
is the relationship built with a customer. 
As stated by Peter Drucker (2002) “The business of business is getting
and keeping customers”. In a rapidly growing marketing marketplace, it is
getting harder and harder for organizations to engage with their customers and
be the first option for their customer’s needs. Traditional marketing
strategies no longer help organizations to meet their financial goals as well
as measuring the pulse of customers constantly. At that point many
organizations fail to focus on their short term financial goals and leave their
customers unattended. This leaves customers no other option to substitute the
organization with some other and in some cases even with better ones. Therefore,
the key problem organizations face nowadays is to be in a constant dialogue
with their customers, understand and listen to them as well as adapt their
organizational culture to meet their customer’s expectations as well as meet
the financial goals set by the shareholders. This might sound excessive but
marketing field is nowadays welcoming a new approach which can help
organizations to save more time and money on tracking their customers and use
it to focus on inner company agenda’s.

Customer Relationship Management offers a new solution for
the organizations that pursue the dream of creating a healthy and profitable
long term relationship with their customers. Every company may take advantage of
a relationship marketing approach.

Till
1999, Gartner Group first put forward the “Customer Relationship Management” to
a marketing concept, and then the CRM has become a complete set of management
theory system. (Zhang 2009) In general, the reasons which cause the emergence
of CRM can be analyzed from three factors as pull of demand, push of technology
and update of management concept