Purpose - The purpose of this article is to challenge the applicability of the traditional micro-economic framework for analysing marketing situations and actions in the contemporary marketing environment. To assess the validity and value of relationship marketing as an alternative paradigm. To identify fruitful directions for further research. Design/methodology/approach - The literature of relationships and relationship marketing was systematically reviewed and thoroughly analysed, and a conceptual framework built from the findings. Findings - Three key schools of thought are identified, examined and discussed, and their main components explained and examined. Various perspectives on exchange relationships are discussed. Two specific tools for implementation of relationship marketing are evaluated. With a clear conceptual frame of reference thus established, the second part proposes a number of fruitful directions for further research. These include a bibliometric study to assess whether or not a consistent theory of relationship marketing exists, and a rigorous identification of contextual factors determining different marketing styles. Research limitations/implications - The second part of the paper explicitly discusses research directions to take the new paradigm forward, in theory and in practice. Practical implications - The combination of a more rigorous conceptual framework and a clear research agenda holds the promise of significant progress in the practical implementation of a young sub-discipline. Originality/value - The paper presents a distinctively wide-ranging and thorough overview of the subject of value to both academic researchers and marketing practitioners.

Relationship marketing, Research, Working patterns
dx.doi.org/10.1108/02634500510597337, hdl.handle.net/1765/66097
Marketing Intelligence and Planning
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Palmer, R, Lindgreen, A, & Vanhamme, J. (2005). Relationship marketing: Schools of thought and future research directions. Marketing Intelligence and Planning (Vol. 23, pp. 313–330). doi:10.1108/02634500510597337