Relationship marketing and networks in entrepreneurship
Relationships and networks are vital to entrepreneurship and marketing. New businesses need to be entrepreneurial in their marketing as well as in their business ideas. Research indicates that greater profits lie in the direction of developing ongoing relationships with customers, despite the necessary costs of investing in both product and service quality, and in relationship-building competences (Chaston, 1997). Relationship Marketing brings into question the assumptions inherent in traditional consumer goods marketing. It has long been stated that marketing cannot continue in a transactional and adversarial manner, but needs to build up relationships of many sorts (Webster, 1992). It is about seeing a relationship from the customer’s perspective and understanding just what they seek in a relationship (Palmer, 1994). Relationships are often the result of past history and so an issue of checking on the political environment becomes important- asking what role government policy has in influence marketing networks is always a worthwhile question. Relationships also lead to an emphasis on politics with a lower-case ‘p’- on the informal, sometimes illicit power structures such as the influence of the old boy network/ old school tie which has to be analysed in order for the entrepreneur to assess her market opportunities and develop relational strategies (Gummesson, 1987).