Relationship marketing and sustainable competitive advantage in large Pre-hospital service companies in Kenya
Relationship marketing includes key principles ranging from obtaining data on customers to analyzing the gathered data and personalizing the relationship between an organization and its customers through enhanced marketing strategies. For a firm to sustain its competitiveness for a period of time, it should ensure that its strategies are not easily duplicable to its competitors. Relationship marketing can therefore be used as an agent of achieving sustainable competitive advantage. This study sought to establish the effect of relationship marketing and sustainable competitive advantage in large pre-hospital service companies in Kenya. The variables of the study included use of technology, customer acquisition, brand strategy and customer trust. To achieve its objective, the study used questionnaires. The 30 targeted respondents included employees from the sales and marketing departments of the 7 largest pre hospital services companies in Kenya that include EPLUS Limited, AAR Health services, AMREF Flying doctors, Nairobi hospital, Medics 24, St. John‟s Ambulance and Swift Medics companies. Censoring method was used to obtain 14 respondents. The study absorbed a descriptive research design. The study collected both quantitative and qualitative data and analyzed it through SPSS and content analysis respectively. The findings were presented using frequency tables. The study found out that relationship marketing strategies that are well stipulated greatly influence in success achieving and sustaining competitive advantage within pre hospital industry. The findings revealed that use of technology facilitates the organizations in achieving competitive advantage through enhancing organizational processes and understanding customer behaviour. This is however limited by the high costs involved in technological integration. The companies are also keen on acquiring customers and more resources are used to acquire new ones than maintain the existing relationships. The study also established that the companies use brand and customer trust strategies to gain competiveness. The customer trust strategies used by the organizations include enhancing deliverables, upgrade customer interaction systems and process and stabilizing the products and services. The study therefore concluded that customer acquisition, brand strategy, use of technology and customer trust affect sustainable competitive advantage and recommends that they should be keenly considered when developing relationship marketing strategies.
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