Given this market dynamic, customers in mature markets may be aligned along the two dimensions of price and cost-to-serve according to their purchasing characteristics. Customers who demand a low price can be offered a ‘no frills’ product with minimal service. Customers who value a customized offer will pay a higher price for tailor-made adaptations to products and services. Price differentials founded on product quality differences alone tend to be small because competitors are able to offer more or less equivalent products.
Marketing planning may well involve the rationalization of customers who display blatant switching behaviors and who regard supplier relationships as purely transactional. With increased turbulence in the market place, it is clear that firms are generally moving away from transaction-orientated marketing strategies and towards relationship-orientated marketing as a means of enhancing commercial performance and customer value. The next source of competitive advantage will stem from the types of relationship that firms develop with their suppliers.
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