Exploring the gap between expectations of Relationship Marketing and the reality of e-CRM

Neil F Doherty, Nigel Lockett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


The much debated relationship marketing paradigm suggests that the marketing strategy should be framed in terms of the development of long-term and mutually rewarding customer relationships, rather than simply focussing upon the promotion and selling of products and services. Moreover, customer relation management, typically enacted through electronic CRM software, is often promoted as the ideal mechanism for implementing relationship marketing on a company-wide basis. However, the question of whether the anticipated benefits of relationship marketing can actually be delivered through the application of e-CRM software is still one that needs to be addressed, empirically. To this end, this study develops a conceptual framework, which models the links between relationship marketing and e-CRM, before using this to explore the outcomes of the adoption of e-CRM applications by a sample of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), operating in the mail order sector. The key findings presented in this paper are twofold: the driver for e-CRM adoption has primarily been the need to integrate the front and back offices when operating in an increasingly complex multi-channel environment and, consequently, e-CRM has not delivered relationship marketing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship 28th National Conference (Blackpool, UK) - 2005
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • relationship marketing
  • customer relationship management
  • e-CRM
  • SMEs


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