Relationship Management versus Brand Management in SME Business-to-Business Marketing
Companies are increasingly adopting a relational approach when designing and delivering their marketing activities (De Wulf, 2001; Nancarrow et al, 2003; Lemon et al, 2002). This trend is presented as a shift from a transactional approach where brands are built and managed through broad based communication via mass media (Aaker, 1991). Though activities associated with this relational trend to marketing were initially aimed at industrial and service markets (Gr nroos, 1994), technological advances in database design and capability enabled firms to apply relationship management principles and practices to mass consumer markets (OMalley and Tynan, 1998; Winer, 2001; Corner and Hinton, 2002). This widespread application needs to be viewed with a degree of caution, for, as OMalley and Tynan (1998) observe, there has been a tendency to approach the relationship paradigm without sufficient critical analysis. This paper discusses the suitability of relational approaches versus more transactional oriented brand management practices to inform the firms marketing activities. We set this discussion in a case study involving a specific small to medium sized firm in the business-to-business market.