The impact of marketing communications on customer relationships: an investigation into the UK banking sector

Dalziel, Nurdilek (2008). The impact of marketing communications on customer relationships: an investigation into the UK banking sector. PhD thesis The Open University.



This exploratory research provides a valuable insight into the communication aspect of relationships. In particular, this research investigates the impact of marketing communications on customer relationships from customers' view. Two main types of communication settings are focused on: service encounters and planned marketing communications. Taking a broader approach, service encounters are examined from the perspective of: (1) interactions with service providers (as human and remote interactions), (2) service environment, and (3) interactions with other customers (i. e. word-of-mouth communication). In terms of planned marketing communications, three key communication channels are focused on: advertising, corporate sponsorship and direct marketing.

The context of the research is the UK banking sector. Adopting a primarily qualitative approach, data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews with bank customers. Research participants were recruited through advertising and snowballing methods. The analysis was guided by the principles of content analysis.

This research offers three main contributions. Firstly, the current research has extended the work on service provider and customer relationships by presenting an insight into the nature of customer relationships and their underlying dimensions. In particular, four relationship types were identified which can represent various types of relationships customers may establish with financial institutions: (1) faltering, (2) functional, (3) interactive and (4) affective. Secondly, the research presented empirical evidence on the potential of advertising, corporate sponsorship and direct marketing to promote various types of relationships. Thirdly, this research provides an enhanced understanding about the aspects of service encounters, that are likely to promote (or threaten) the development of certain relationship types.

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