Purpose – The term customer intimacy has been used both in academia and business, albeit lacking clear definition and empirical validation. The authors in this paper aim to develop a measure of customer intimacy in business-to-business contexts and to assess its reliability and validity, as well as its relevance, within a nomological relationship marketing network. Design/methodology/approach – A multi-method (qualitative/exploratory and quantitative/confirmatory structural modelling), multi-staged (test, re-test) research approach is used and applied in the UK and Germany. Findings – The results show that customer intimacy is a second order construct reflected by the three formative dimensions of mutual understanding, closeness, and value perception. The results also show that customer intimacy is a relevant relationship indicator, distinct from the central relationship indicators of trust and commitment. It impacts relationship commitment levels, customer induced word-of-mouth, repurchase intentions, information disclosure, customer availability, and leads to an advisor status with the customer. Moreover, customer intimacy mediates relationship marketing's central trust commitment link. Research limitations/implications – The main limitations that should be addressed by future studies are: reliance on the key informant technique on one side of the supplier-buyer dyad; cross-sectional design. Practical implications – This study shows that achieving and managing customer intimacy is a relevant managerial goal and task for firms and shows managers how it can be measured and managed. Originality/value. – This study, for the first time, presents a measure for customer intimacy and assesses its quality and impact empirically. The measure will be of significant value in making customer-centric, relationship management approaches more accountable.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose – The question of R&D and marketing cooperation (RMC) in new product development (NPD) is of increasing relevance. However, it is unclear whether RMC really leads to new product success (NPS) and whether and to what extent other elements of market orientation (MO) impact on NPS and the RMC-NPS relationship. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on this important question and to verify the existence and degree of direct and indirect causalities between the core elements of MO and NPS.
Design/methodology/approach – An empirical study has been carried out to test the conceptual framework and the five hypotheses developed based on seminal literature. The conceptual framework and hypotheses are tested using both SEM and regression methods with survey data from 217 respondents from the electronics industry in China.
Findings – The results demonstrate that RMC has a significant and positive influence on NPS. The results on customer orientation support previous findings and the research offers interesting insights with respect to the role of customer orientation in NPD. While results from SEM analysis reject the hypothesized direct effect of competitor orientation on NPS and the predicted mediating effect of competitor orientation on the RMC-NPS link, results from regression analysis, however, suggest otherwise.
Practical implications – The results of the research help to assure practitioners of the primacy role of RMC in NPD and the positive effects of customer orientation on NPS. Such findings should enable NPD team leaders to make best possible decisions in allocating resources among competing priorities. Divergent results on the effects of competitor orientation on NPS and the RMC-NPS link remind practitioners that knowing the assumptions behind an analysis is actually a precondition for correctly assessing and implementing the results of any research.
Originality/value – Results of the study will fill a research gap in marketing studies which have largely neglected the interplay among the three core elements of MO and the mediating effects, individual and combined, of customer and competitor orientations on the RMC-NPS link. Divergent findings derived from the use of two different analysis tools yield new insights to both academics and practitioners and may warrant further investigation.
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing 12/2013; 28(7):589-601. DOI:10.1108/JBIM-04-2011-0046 · 0.69 Impact Factor
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