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Customer Relationship Marketing: much more about Corporate Social Responsibility than just Technology

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Abstract:

The concept of Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) has during the last few decades risen to such prominence that CRM is now almost arguably regarded as a stand alone domain within the fields of Marketing and Management. In line with the wide coverage, which it has attracted from academia and practitioners alike, CRM has been defined, categorised and even referred to as a major trend. Notwithstanding the avid interest in the subject, it has been argued that the concept has been perceived and implemented within organisations in an almost haphazard manner. Indeed, in spite of many forthcoming attempts to define it, no working definition has yet been agreed upon. Meanwhile, Customer Relationship Marketing has been used to reflect a number of differing perspectives. This has arguably partly contributed to the misunderstanding and cynicism which have often shrouded the fundamentals of the concept. In spite of this lack of clarity, Customer Relationship Marketing appears to be persistently hailed by practitioners and academics alike as having the power to help companies optimize their relationships with new customers as well as with existing customers.

The aim of this chapter is two-fold. On the one hand, it seeks to dispel the vagueness all too often associated with the term CRM whilst extending the understanding of the concept by characterising its general nature. On the other hand, although it identifies and sheds light on the pivotal dimension, which technology increasingly represents, this chapter also reflects upon how the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility is fundamentally associated with the concept of Customer Relationship Marketing. Although it is not intended to discuss the concept in line with any binary polarity, the prevailing dichotomy within this discourse arguably resides in determining whether the fundamental underpinnings of Customer Relationship Marketing as a concept revolve more closely to the principles, albeit still debatable, of Corporate Social Responsibility than to mere technological progress. Should CRM thus be regarded more in line with its inherent ethical characteristics rather than as business strategies, which pivot on technology and on the embracing of technological progress?

In contemporary terms, the acronym CRM is used to refer to both Customer Relationship Marketing and Customer Relationship Management. Although Customer Relationship Marketing and Customer Relationship Management may indeed be regarded as specialised fields of study, it is argued that they are in fact inter-related. Subsequently, it is advocated that the scope of CRM spans from the development and marketing of relationships between organisations and their customers to the day-to-day management of these relationships.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5848/CSP.0231.00010

Publication date: January 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Globalization and Social Responsibility
    There are however many different perspectives upon what is meant by corporate social responsibility and how this might be applied within organisations. This book explores some of these different perspectives based upon the experiences of different people in different parts of the world. This book recognises the international scope of the interest in corporate social responsibility both through the contributions made by the authors of the respective chapters, who come from various parts of the world, and also through the international importance of the perspectives offered by these contributors.
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