Relationship marketing was first used about two decades ago to define a new strategic approach to organizing the company around the figure of the customer. A whole philosophy of customer service and CRM applications were developed right after.
Some researchers (including Christopher, Payne and Ballantyne, 1991) have expressed their theories arguing this new approach is too focused on the market.
Several authors have identified a number of areas where companies must establish bidirectional communication channels:
– Functional: Suppliers, Employees and Customers.
– Industrial environment: Strategic Groups, Competitors.
– Triggers: Investors and Governments.
– Diffuse: Community, Media, Influential, NGOs, etc..
The reasons are obvious and in line with the contributions for example by Michael Porter and his five forces (The Five Forces That Shape Strategy, Porter 1979), where he was tempted recently in his update to include the government as the sixth force.
The whole industry has been applying this concept for years. CRM applications, employee portals, Lean Management, lobbies, and so on., are tools used – some with dubious success – in many organizations to positively affect the P&L.
In short, it seeks to establish and maintain relationships with stakeholders.
Some of these actions have shown the best ROI as in the case of relations with influentials.
Others are absolutely essential for sustained growth. Aligning employees with business goals is critical and is one of the most important sources of competitive advantage. “It’s about gathering the necessary human capacity to facilitate desirable social and individual change” (The Foresight Model, Slaughter 1995).
When considering the value chain – as part of in-depth analysis of the Business System in which the company operates – of a product or service, one inevitably perceive the need to strengthen relations with all these estates.
Obviously not everyone has the same impact on the company’s performance. Even more, their relative importance varies over time thus requiring the monitoring of each of them in defined time periods.
Some studies show that organizations that have implemented a methodology to apply the tools that encourage this communication have achieved a marked improvement in its ROI.
The SRM is a strategic framework that boosts synergic effects to provide sustainable growth to organizations.
The challenge is to find a simple and intuitive implementation system.