We study the effects of customer-specific marketing expenses on customer retention and customer profitability in a business-to-business setting. Using data from a company providing hygiene services, we look at the impact of a hitherto unstudied type of expense targeted at individual customer relationships: the offering of free equipment to customers. The data allow tracking the activities performed in more than 4,500 customer relationships over a period of 4 years. Retention rates are higher for customers targeted with free equipment, but this effect results from an interaction with customer size. First-order dynamic panel data analyses show that the impact of targeted marketing expenses on customer dollar profit is positive for large customers, but there is no effect for smaller customers. Thus, targeted marketing expenses seem to be a tool for relationship maintenance rather than customer development: they help in retaining large customers that generate more profit, but they do not seem to work in developing new customers into larger, more profitable ones.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Customer profitability, Customer-specific marketing expenses, Panel data
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11002-008-9061-2, hdl.handle.net/1765/17989
Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Marketing Letters: a journal of research in marketing
Citation
van Triest, S, Bun, M.J.G, van Raaij, E.M, & Vernooij, M.J.A. (2009). The impact of customer-specific marketing expenses on customer retention and customer profitability. Marketing Letters: a journal of research in marketing, 20(2), 125–138. doi:10.1007/s11002-008-9061-2