Service and Relationship Marketing


Traditional marketing involves the marketing of a company’s product to a group of potential customers. However, in today’s economy it is the service sector that is becoming increasing important.

Overall, service industries account for 70% of the UK GDP. Services are important because as consumers we use services on a daily basis and in conjunction with the importance of services to the UK economy, it is important that we engage in research in this subject.

To set services marketing in the context of the current economic issues we will examine the history of services marketing.

When studying services marketing, there are particular characteristics of services that make them difficult to precisely define.

The main issue being that there is a lack of tangibility or substance to focus upon, unlike traditional marketing thought where the emphasis is on the tangible product.

The emphasis on the intangibility of the service introduces a new set of variables and issues into the marketing equation. The services marketing concept combines customer focus, co-ordinated marketing and profitability.

Many organisations today, wish to invest in long term relationships with their customers. Indeed, you may be familiar with the use of ‘loyalty’ cards as a strategy to engage with customers.

We will examine why loyalty cards do not create truly loyal customers, the components of loyalty and how organisations manage customer data.

The focus of the course will be on understanding that not all services are the same and therefore it is important to understand the characteristics of different types of service organisations and how marketing objectives and strategies need to be tailored to address these points.

In addition to the focus on services marketing, this course will also address the key issues within relationship marketing, in particular both the opportunities and limitations presented within relationship marketing.

Topics covered are:

  • The fundamentals of services marketing
  • Service Marketing Models
  • The role of the customer and customer behaviour (within a services marketing context)
  • The role of the environment (servicescape)
  • Relationship Marketing
  • The nature of customer loyalty
  • The role of employees
  • International services marketing
  • Market research for service organisations
  • Services marketing communications

To effectively engage in this module you will need to complete the reading for each lecture. To complement each lecture additional information and handouts will be available.

In addition to the piece of coursework and final examination students will be expected to take part in individual and group exercises/ case studies, to discuss different issues, in order to demonstrate their wider knowledge gained about the subject.


  • 25% of the course assessment is based on a group report
  • 75% of the course assessment is based on an individual exam in May/ June

In order to assist the revision process all lectures will be recorded and placed online so that you can revise at a later date.

Key skills

After completing the module students will be able to:

  • To be able to understand the philosophy and practice of relationship marketing
  • To be able to understand the importance of the services sector to the UK economy
  • To be able to understand the defining features of services and relationship marketing
  • To be able to analyse the possible problems and opportunities encountered by different types of service organisations
  • To be able to understand the alternative approaches to developing successful marketing in service organisations and critically analyse these approaches
  • To be able to learn to manage the challenges of delivering quality service and building strong customer relationships