The present paper examines the issue of whether interpersonal relationships are critical for global marketing of industrial products. The fields of relationship marketing, IMP group research, sales research, and network theory have stressed the importance of interpersonal relationships in the business-to-business or industrial marketing context. In contrast to this emphasis on interpersonal relationships, we argue that industrial firms can both conceive and enhance marketing strategies based on developing high quality and consistent processes, products, services or outcomes (consistent processes and outcomes). Such strategies are especially important given the fact that developing interpersonal relationships is expensive due to their reliance on frequent and/or face-to-face communications. In this paper, we examine industry and country contexts that lead to the choice of alternative industrial product marketing strategies and highlight some future research directions and managerial implications.
- relationship marketing
- inter-personal trust
- process and outcome performance