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Title: Creating value through relationships : a critical contribution from Social Marketing
Author: Marques, Susana Regina Bacelar de Vasconcelos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2684 0008
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2008
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Relationship marketing provides a new foundation for thinking, genuine change in values and ethics and a new logic that sees consumers as the prime drivers of the value creation process. It seems to have a lot to offer to social marketing, however, despite its potential, the social marketing field is responding slowly to relational thinking. This research demonstrates that relationship marketing helps social marketing and that its absence seriously undermines the field. Our examination is critical because it de-constructs the transactional paradigm and shows how its logic is incapable of responding to the complexities of contemporary pluralist societies. From the literature, we have identified the principles, processes and constructs of relationship marketing that are transferable to social marketing. Further, we have identified the challenges and implications of that transference, given the particular characteristics of social marketing. To empirically examine the potential of relationship marketing in social marketing, we have conducted a process evaluation and developed a specific framework that incorporates and reflects relationship marketing principles, processes and constructs. This research makes an important methodological contribution because it goes beyond current frameworks and suggests alternative evaluation components. The process evaluation was applied through an explanatory, holistic and single case-study design. The case was a parent drugs prevention programme and to examine it we have predominantly used a mix of qualitative methods and a research design which enabled triangulation. Through the application of process evaluation to the case we have de-constructed the dominant paradigm of the programme and examined its consequences. The findings indicate that the programme did not widely applied the principles, processes and constructs of relationship marketing. Despite having successfully applied relationship marketing in specific parts of the programme, these correspond to technical rather than strategic aspects of relationship marketing and worked as isolated parts rather than as a whole. More fundamentally, rather than seeing consumers as partners, the programme saw consumers as targets, not recognizing them as the main drivers of the value creation process. The programme was therefore shaped by a transactional perspective which affected its assumptions and undermined its design and implementation. The main conclusion is that, despite its theoretical potential, it is challenging and difficult to transfer relationship marketing to real live social marketing programmes. In particular, social marketing needs to be more reflexive and self-critical in order to de-construct its prevailing paradigm and start re-constructing an alternative. This demands not only a new attitude, new values and new assumptions but also a focus on resources, competences and new and more flexible organizational structures.
Supervisor: Hastings, Gerard Sponsor: Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Relationship marketing ; Social marketing ; Relationship marketing ; Social marketing