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Relationship Marketing and Sustainable Competitive Advantage

For this assessment, students are expected to demonstrate their understanding of the extant, academic
literature related to an approved, business topic.
In consultation with their lecturer, students need to decide on a business-related topic/concept. Students need to select approximately eight to twelve (8-12), but at least three (3), peer-reviewed articles or
comparable sources (online resource can be accessed using ProQuest or Google Scholar) that are related to the topic (as the basis of their literature review).
In the context of their chosen topic, students need to review the articles and sources selected, i. e. read and critically analyses (compare and contrast) the literature. In doing so, students are required to discuss the key ideas/arguments put forward by authors, identify communalities/similarities, differences and conclusions drawn by different authors. Based on this analysis and discussion, students are expected to point out potential gaps in the literature that will form the basis of Assessment 2, the research proposal. 

Marking criteria of the literature review include: the quality and currency of the literature selected; the
student’s ability to compare and contrast author’s arguments/viewpoints and identify gaps in the existing literature in the context of the chosen business topic; the demonstrated ability to use Harvard referencing. 

For this assessment, students are expected to present a written research proposal that is based on the
literature review (Assessment 1) and demonstrates their understanding of business research/research
Based on their literature review, students are required to write a business research proposal outlining the details of the proposed research project that addresses the gaps identified in the literature. Derived from the business topic, the proposal needs to include clearly state research questions (primary and secondary), and provide a solid research methodology that supports the feasibility of the research project
Marking criteria of the research proposal include: the justification of the research questions that
operationalize the research topic; the demonstration of a detailed research methodology addressing research instrument, sample size and sampling approach, research location/s and schedule as well as providing a critical assessment of the limitations of the methodology and the expected outcome of the research project. 

For this assessment, students are expected to write a weekly journal over the duration of the 12-week
teaching period that documents a critical analysis of their learning process. In the journal students need to reflect/review how they have progressed with the learning goals related to assessments 1 and 2. Students need to write their individual reflective journal concurrently to performing assessment tasks 1 and 2, i.e. from the first week of the subject. For each week, students need to make journal entries that provide a reflection of their ‘journey’ of gaining, and applying knowledge of the research paradigm. For each week students should reflect and compare the theoretical knowledge with what they apply into practice. As assessment 1 and 2 are completed, students should clearly identify learning goals achieved. 

Relationship Marketing and Sustainable Competitive Advantage

A literature review is one of the major sections of the research study in which researcher includes the current knowledge of a particular topic. This section is prepared from secondary sources such as books, journals, and research articles.    

The ever-evolving use of the internet is driving explosive growth in e-commerce; hence it is also enhancing the way business entities are developing relationships with their customers. Typically, relationship marketing is the process through which business entity identifies the requirements of customers through collecting data from the marketplace (Ruben, Paparoidamis & Chung 2015).

The concept is also useful in personalizing proper relationship between an organization and its customers which are managed through marketing strategies. To sustain in the competitive marketplace, business entities are required to ensure that the policies they have made are not easily duplicable to its rivalries (Ryu & Lee 2017).

Therefore, in this context relationship marketing can be regarded as a useful agent that aids in attaining sustainable competitive advantage (Samaha, Beck & Palmatier 2014). Hence, in this context, the study has been emphasizing on the role of relationship marketing in maintaining sustainable competitive advantage.  

The main aim of conducting the present study is to analyze the role of relationship marketing in maintaining the competitive advantage. Henceforth, in this context, the case study of Vodafone Australia has been taken into account.  

Relationship marketing chiefly focuses on developing better relationships with the clients; hence the study seems to be hugely beneficial for business entities in retaining the potential buyers. Apart from this, it will also help the organizations to analyze the best way to keep customers for longer time span. Relationship marketing contributes in growth prospects of the companies; therefore the present study will assist the organizations in adopting all such measures that can help to attain customer’s attention. Furthermore, the study will also be emphasizing on challenges which usually at the time of implementing relationship marketing.

Experts have given a different opinion about relationship marketing through the aspect of customer retention (Abeza, O’Reilly & Reid 2013). According to the general overview, transactional marketing improves organizational benefits; while at the same time enhanced customer loyalty is the core purpose of relationship marketing. However, here it can be argued that relationship marketing is the way through which organization can attract new clients and can maintain the existing ones (Armstrong et al. 2015).

Relationship marketing is an essential form through which better relationship can be developed with the customers, and at the same time, it provides economic benefits to the business entity. The concept includes fundamental principles such as collecting data about the customers and personalizing relationships with them (Berndt & Tait 2014). However, it can also be supported that the keys to successful implementation of the strategy include defining company’s mission, vision, and culture, developing relationship strategy and allocating organizational resources (Samiee, Chabowski & Hult 2015).

Role of Relationship Marketing in Maintaining Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Relationship marketing has been proved to amend corporate benefits through customers. Customer loyalty gives tremendous benefits to the business entity; simultaneously it also enhances growth and success opportunities. Ideally, the concept of relationship marketing is defined as a business strategy that proactively builds a plan of activities that chiefly focuses on managing interest of clients (Bilgihan & Bujisic 2015). The concept of relationship marketing not only involves proper interaction with customers but also it requires implementation of different benefits to the clients.       

The primary purpose of relationship marketing is to develop loyalty between a particular brand and targeted customer base (Sarmento, Simões & Farhangmehr 2015). On small business perspective, the following strategy is helpful in differentiating company’s level of services and attention towards client’s requirements. Since relationship marketing contributes in customer loyalty; therefore it has a direct integration with the delivery of additional benefits to the end users (Brodie & Brodie 2017). Rewards, discounts and other benefits are some of the advantages which company needs to provide to its customers.

Massive return on investment is one of the benefits that could be attained through implementing relationship marketing strategy, and it also enhances customer base on the greater extent (Sheth & Sisodia 2015). For instance- satisfied customers always provide positive reviews about the company which gives deeper impact on the business entity. Therefore, this develops awareness among people and as a result, some customers get connected with the business entity (Brun, Durif & Ricard 2014).  

With the help of relationship marketing, companies can get appropriate feedback from clients who give more chances of improving the existing business services. A collection of feedback from the clients is essential because that helps in determining the areas of modifications. However, on the other hand, certain times, a customer also poses negative review about the services; thus it impacts the behavior and attitude of other customers (Christopher, Payne & Ballantyne 2013).     

Relationship marketing is suitable for developing word of mouth publicity; henceforth it not only raises customer base but also gives the chance to promote the brand on greater extent. Thus, providing value to the customers is highly important in amending the scope of business (Ekpo et al. 2015). However, relationship marketing is not only considered as an approach to small and large firms; but it is also adopted by offline business models.     

Relationship marketing provides proper communication opportunities with the customers; thus companies can also keep track records about all the transaction that takes place. Furthermore, promotional incentives such as loyalty discounts and perks help foster appreciation and reward for facilitating repeat business (Giannakis & Harker 2014). It also requires proper collaboration with the customers to promote optimum use of business resources.

Case Study of Vodafone Australia

Relationship marketing has a direct contribution in attaining competitive advantage through many ways (Theron 2015). Relevant communication and numerous benefits encourage consumers to comprehend the services which thereby also lead to grab the attention of other customers as well. Moreover, focusing more on relationship marketing leads to innovation and creativity since it involves ideas and opinions of clients in business dimensions (Gummesson 2014). Fundamentally, customer relationship management strategy gives the solution to the business entity regarding the right form of delivering products and services. It is also linked to existing corporate capabilities which help the business to become more customer oriented in competitive market place. However, the success of relationship marketing is largely dependent on the availability of accurate information about the customers and their relationships with the organization (Hambrick & Kang 2015).   

The primary purpose of implementing relationship marketing strategy is to develop the customer base wherein, different fragments of customer data can be assembled through bringing new dimensions in the service provision (Hambrick & Kang 2015). This further contributes to enhancing the value of the business asset. With the help of relationship marketing, organizations can begin to realign the processes of business and technology. Moreover, it also provides a better solution to business entities in comprehending the and influencing customer behavior and profitability. Ultimately, when customer base increases, it enhances the capability of the organization in responding to needs of new clients. It also gives more opportunity for improving business sustainability (Hollensen 2015).     

Nonetheless, the world is changing fast for every business organization; hence the application of new things is necessary. Therefore, to maintain competitiveness and long-term sustainability, organizations are required to comprehensively understand the likes and dislikes of customers (Hoppner, Griffith & White 2015). Hence, it gives the appropriate idea about lifestyle and preferences of end users. It also lays the foundation for business organizations to manage profitability and success. There are myriad ways which leverage customer relationship management and which also enhances business opportunities. However, the need for collecting customer information is critical to the firm because it aids in bringing outstanding products and services.     

Apparently, all the business entities are focusing on attaining competitive advantage; hence for that, they adopt various measures respectively, and relationship marketing is one such method. The level of competition has been increasing in the marketplace as more substitute products are available (Hollensen 2015). Therefore, customer retention has become the top priority for business entities which help them to acknowledge the opportunities of growth and prosperity. The paradigm shift has taken place in marketing domain; hence relationship marketing has become now a competitive weapon for an organization to win the interest of customers.

Benefits of Relationship Marketing

Competitive advantage is all about enhancing profitability and long-term sustainability; thus it becomes much easier process when clients are satisfied with the services (Huang 2015). For instance- when the company provides numerous benefits and schemes to the clients, it not only encourages customer satisfaction; but also it gives the chance to acquire other advantages. Repeat purchase is one of the benefits of relationship marketing in which satisfied client show their interest and loyalty in business services.

Relationship marketing helps in holding the customers for the longer period and at the same time, it also builds competitiveness of the organization. In this situation, even if the competitor launches a better product, potential customer does not shift to other brands, unless the product is overwhelming better (Hutchinson et al. 2015). Therefore, competitors need to have a compelling offer to attract existing customers of the business.

Management of relationship marketing spawns competitive advantage; however, it also requires higher organizational efforts. Thus, business needs to develop processes to ingrain the importance of customer relationship deep in the organizational way of managing the business (Iacobucci 2014). Today, customer prefers to deal with only those companies that are most consistently accessible. Convenient services ensure the business entity to retain a maximum number of end users which is an essential element of business success.

Companies have become more competitive because of relationship marketing, and that also leads them to enhance the value of organizational assets. Relationship marketing helps the business to become more customer-oriented, and it also gives numerous opportunities to expand the services (Keller & Kotler 2016). Competitive advantage is not only about long-term sustainability, but it is more of a business tool; hence organizations have adopted different ways to attain the same benefit. Apart from this, it can also be said that relationship marketing improves the performance of the business through undertaking numerous measures (Kozlenkova et al. 2015).    

Challenges usually arise at the time when business entity experience issues during its implementation (Lusch & Vargo 2014). Relationship marketing requires greater commitment towards needs of customers and absence of such thing can bring problems and challenges to the organization. While implementing relationship marketing strategy, business needs to ensure that they are developing proper coordination with the clients so that to acquire information about their needs and demands (MacInnis, Park & Priester 2014). However, the major issue arises when the business does not develop direct communication with the end users.

Challenges of Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing requires customer interaction; therefore it is essential for the business entities to train all the employees. It ensures proper delivery of business services. Employees must possess the knowledge to deal with requirements and doubts of the customers; however, the lack of capability among the employees can lead to numerous business issues (Miquel-Romero, Caplliure-Giner & Adame-Sánchez 2014 ). To develop the proper relationship with business entities, it is crucial for the organizations to devote time. It ensures to conduct all the business practices appropriately.     

Moreover, challenges also arise due to lack of time when companies are unable to focus on needs and demands of customers (Morgan 2015). Relationship marketing is not about considering long-term business benefits, but it is also more of retaining potential clients for longer time span. A firm that believes in relationship marketing needs to establish the strong connection with the end users even in changing the period. Relationship marketing has a direct impact on the performance of the company; therefore inappropriate attention can impede organizational aspects (Peck et al. 2013). Henceforth, relationship marketing has become a marketing strategy in which focus is laid on changing needs and demands of customers. Thus, an absence of valuable services can affect the overall marketing efforts of the business.   

Conclusion :

Concluding, the entire description it can be said that relationship marketing provides numerous benefits to the company and it also aids in cultivating a culture that believes in meeting all the needs of customers. It is also ascertained that with the help of relationship marketing, client base can be encouraged and it also underpins marketing strategies of business entity. Thus, in contemporary market place, it is essential for every business entity to ensure that they are emphasizing on the needs and demands of customers on greater extent.

A research proposal is termed as a reasoned summarized form of the proposed research. It mainly emphasizes on central issues that are intended to address in every research work. The present research proposal has been made to analyze the contribution of relationship marketing in attaining competitive advantage. The major focus of the study will be laid on ascertaining the link between relationship marketing and competitive benefits. Therefore, in this context, the study will reveal the major contribution of relationship marketing in meeting business objectives. The discussion will also be made regarding challenges that exist especially at the time of implementing relationship marketing strategy.


The main aim of conducting the present study is to analyze the role of relationship marketing in maintaining the competitive advantage. Henceforth, in this context, a case study of Vodafone Australia has been taken into account.

The main aim of adopting the policy of relationship marketing is to make the customers feel that they are the crucial part of the organization. Regarding scope, the project will be useful for all the business entities in knowing the importance of developing direct interaction with the clients. When the business entity has the idea about the requirements of customers, then it improves the chances of customer satisfaction. The study will be exploring certain ways through which customers can be satisfied and can be retained for longer time span.

Moreover, the research study seems to be beneficial in assisting the business organizations to adopt all such measures through which customer’s attention can be acquired on greater extent. Relationship marketing has a direct impact on business performance; hence the study will be assisting certain ways through which business can develop its performance level. Furthermore, the study will also be exploring the challenges that occur usually when business implements relationship marketing strategy. 

In the current scenario, all the business entities are focusing on attaining competitive advantage; hence considering the same objective, the emphasis is laid on adopting the customer-centric approach. Customer loyalty and repeat purchase bring more opportunities for the business, and it also helps in creating a competitive edge over the rivalries. Relationship marketing involves the focus on needs and requirements of customers so that the chances of growth and prosperity can be encouraged (Van der Aa, Bloemer & Henseler 2015). The following marketing strategy seems to be a different concept through which customer loyalty can be acquired in the competitive scenario.

Relationship marketing aims to generate more customers; hence business entities emphasizes on providing greater value to the clients. Rendering quality services is one of the ways through which customer base can be enhanced, and at the same time, it also increases business profitability and growth (Verma, Sharma & Sheth 2016). However, relationship marketing involves direct communication with the end users as that allows them to integrate business services with customer’s requirements. When any business entity gives benefits along with the services, customers get higher satisfaction, and similarly, it facilitates word of mouth publicity.

Customer loyalty and retention depicts that buyers are highly satisfied with company’s services which not only encourages the brand value but also aids in sustaining a marketplace for longer time span (Wagner & Eggert 2016). Every business establishes itself with the purpose of maximizing growth opportunities; therefore relationship marketing holds much importance in this domain. In an ever-changing world, needs and preferences of customers are transforming; thus this encourages the development of substitute products and services (Yildirim 2015).


In the highly competitive marketplace, customer retention gives many benefits to the companies; therefore this maximizes the scope of business prosperity. To measure the competency of business, it is crucial for the organization to measure its existing customer base as this has become the indication through which success of the firm can be ascertained. Moreover, relationship marketing shows concern of business towards customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention (Winer & Neslin 2014). The customer always prefers to get products from those entities only which consider the importance of delivering valuable benefits.

Many challenges are present in this domain which states that relationship marketing requires efforts, time and cost; however most often such considerations are avoided which gradually impedes business performance (Armstrong et al. 2015). The key foundation of relationship marketing is proper communication which not only leads to proper interaction with clients; but also it helps in developing business service provision. However, most of the scholars have confronted that business networks can be developed through appropriate focus on relationship marketing tools (Ekpo et al. 2015). Thus, it seems to be the most vital part of the marketing process in current scenario which essentially requires business consideration. 

Primary question

  • What is the role of relationship marketing on competitive advantage?

Secondary question

  • What are the benefits of relationship marketing for business entity?
  • What is the role of relationship marketing in maintaining competitive advantage?
  • What is the impact of relationship marketing on business performance and productivity?

Introduction -The section of research methodology is linked with essential tools and techniques which are employed by the researcher to conduct entire research in best possible manner and attain ultimate outcomes. It can be stated that a researcher is required to be very careful while selecting research methodology as the entire quality and outcome of the study are affected by choice of method.

Research philosophy – It is associated with the core belief, and values of the researcher and the philosophy play a crucial role in a process such as gathering and evaluation of data collected from different sources. To analyze the role of relationship marketing in maintaining the competitive advantage, interpretivism philosophy will be used. The reason behind the selection of mentioned above philosophy is that it will help in analyzing the data collected more effectively and it is much suitable as per the nature of present research.

Research design – The term research design reflects the action plan or overall strategy employed by a researcher to attain the aim and objective of the research. With regards to the current investigation, exploratory research design will be adopted. The primary benefits of using this design are that it will assist in exploring different facts and information linked with the concept and role of relationship marketing.

Data collection – In the present investigation, both secondary and primary sources will be used to obtain adequate and reliable information. A questionnaire will be developed by objectives and aim of the research to collect primary data. In addition to this, sources such as journals, books and online websites published after 2013, will be used to gather secondary information. Relationship marketing, company’s performance, and competitive advantage are going to be the key variables for this investigation.

Sampling – It is termed as the process in which appropriate sample is selected from the entire population. Marketing managers of Vodafone Australia will be chosen as the sample, and the sample size is going to be 20 (Giannakis & Harker 2014). The reason behind selecting marketing managers as a sample is that they will be able to deliver more reliable and valid information about the role of relationship marketing in maintaining competitive advantaged.   

Data analysis – Qualitative technique of data analysis will be used in the current study to obtain ultimate outcomes. It can be stated that the present research is going to have non-numeric data and therefore, the qualitative technique is more suitable. On the other hand, the use of qualitative data analysis will also support in carrying out the in-depth evaluation of the information collected from various sources.

Reliability and validity - To ensure the validity and reliability of the existing study, only authentic sources published after the year 2013, will be taken into consideration. Apart from this, no assumption will be made with the regards to the topic under investigation. To maintain the validity and reliability of study, no partiality will be carried out in the analysis of the data gathered from various sources.  

The present study carried out will hold some limitations. Firstly the entire research will be restricted to relationship marketing where the key elements associated with this concept will be undertaken rather than focusing on other areas. Apart from this, various other areas in marketing are present that are crucial and they are not at all undertaken in this research. So, in this way the present research will be restricted to relationship marketing only.


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Writing Research Proposal

Reading various literature

Finalizing the aims and objectives

Draft literature review

Collect secondary data

Analyze secondary data

Develop research approach

Draft research methodology

Develop questionnaire

Arrange the interview

Conduct the interview

Accumulate the data

Draft Findings

Analyze data

Complete remaining chapters

Submit it to tutor and await for feedback

Revise the draft

Print and bind



The entire study carried out has supported in knowing about the concept of relationship marketing and its significance to businesses. Further, timely and frequent interaction with the end users of products is essential regarding knowing their changing needs and demands. Implementation of relationship marketing strategy aids the business entity to become more personalized towards needs and requirements of customers. Henceforth, in the current business environment, relationship marketing is counted as a significant business strategy.

In the present scenario, learning is essential for long-term growth and development of an individual. Furthermore, learning support in enhancing the morale and motivational level of a person and thus, makes an individual more productive. It can be expressed that lifelong learning assists in improving the overall personal productivity and effectiveness. In the modern era, the competition among public and private sector has become highly intense and to stay competitive; it is required by the individual to continue learning.  

My opinion about the present learning experience is that it helped me to develop professionally. The present study was based on analyzing the role of relationship marketing in maintaining competitive advantage. The learning experience has supported me to open up my mind and improve the same. It can be stated that the experience has helped me in getting insight the overall usefulness and significance of relationship marketing. Through this experience, I am well aware of the role which relationship marketing plays with regards to maintaining competitive advantages for businesses.

Value of this experience

The experience can be considered as of great value as it has directly contributed to my personal and professional development. In future, I will be able to get better employment opportunities with the help of this learning. In addition to this, it will also provide me with the competitive edge over another individual as now I am having a better understanding of the concept and use of relationship marketing in overall business practices. The learning can be termed as of great value because it has supported me in enhancing my skillset and knowledge base.

Course – The learning experience can be termed as very useful in the context of the process in which I have enrolled. It can be expressed that the learning experience is going to support me in getting better grades in the course and carry out my overall academic development. It has helped me to develop better understating and enhance my knowledge level regarding my selected course.

Program – With regards to the program, it can be expressed that the experience will help in completing the entire program in the desired manner. At the time of selecting this program, I was looking forward to acquiring both practical and theoretical learning. Furthermore, the learning experience which I have gained has provided me with more useful practical experience, and now I can complete the entire program as per the desired manner.

Future career - I will be getting more potential opportunities for employment through this learning experience. Practical knowledge linked with the application and use of relationship marketing will assist me to build a great career in the field of marketing.   

Life generally – In general life, the experience has contributed me in enhancing my soft skills and communication skills. Further, I am now able to interact and pass on my information in an efficient manner. The experience is going to help me in becoming a valuable person and maintain the long-lasting relationship with individuals in the society.

How you will transfer or apply your new knowledge and insights in the future

In future, I will use my knowledge and ideas with the work and activities which I am going to carry out. I am looking forward to building my career in the field of marketing and will try to apply the concept of relationship marketing within overall business practices of the firm for which I will be working.

I have carried out an intense amount of primary and secondary research to collect data with the regards to the topic selected for investigation. In addition to this, I have read various books, journals and online sources linked with the field of relationship marketing. I have also heard the views and opinions of different people on the role of relationship marketing in maintaining the competitive advantage.

The business research was beneficial regarding research learning process. It has helped me to understand how a topic of the investigation is developed and how aim and objective of a study are framed. In addition to this, it has helped me in getting insight into the overall concept of research methodology and how suitable tools and techniques of research are selected. The business research has also provided me knowledge regarding how a sample is selected and approached to collect the required data.

The process begins with a selection of topic where I selected the role of relationship marketing in maintaining competitive advantage as my subject for investigation. During the initial stage, I was very nervous and worried because I had only theoretical knowledge regarding business research. On the other hand, my objective behind assessment 1 was to understand how secondary data linked with the topic selected for investigation is collected. Furthermore, the rationale behind carrying out assessment 1 was to know how critical review of the key references is conducted. On the other hand, the reason behind implementing assessment 2 was to understand how a proposal of research is developed practically. I was looking forward to learning how research questions/hypothesis is framed and how appropriate methodology for analysis is selected.

I am looking forward to work on the position of marketing executive in the retail industry. Furthermore, I will be responsible for carrying out marketing and promotion of products and services of the enterprise. Here, I will be applying the concept of relationship marketing at the time of dealing with customers. I have gained knowledge about the overall concept, and in future, I will be looking forward to enhancing the degree of customer engagement and loyalty within the firm for which I will be working. Further, I will also be focusing on lifelong learning and will research more on relationship marketing to enhance my existing knowledge base. I will be taking help of my seniors and other coworkers to acquire more knowledge about the practical implication of concepts such as relationship marketing. These practices will give me a hand to become an efficient and skilled marketing professional.      


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My Assignment Help. The Role Of Relationship Marketing In Maintaining Sustainable Competitive Advantage - A Case Study Of Vodafone Australia Essay. [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2021 [cited 12 July 2024]. Available from:

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