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APPLICATION OF RELATIONSHIP MARKETING IN PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY. A CASE OF GLAXOSMITHKLINE

Customer relationships are the lifeblood of every good company. Relationships between a
company and its customers, distributors, employees, referral sources, are vital to continued,
sustained growth, and stability. Loyal relationships with these valued individuals make for a
strong bottom line (Peck et al., 1999). As markets become increasingly competitive, price
competition intensifies and reduced loyalty appears to be the norm. In many industries,
marketing budgets are being restructured to devote more resources to defensive marketing, i.e,
customer retention (Kotler, 1992). With the growth of marketing databases and the Internet, the
ability to reach customers individually became a viable strategy for a wide range of firms
including consumer products companies (Gummesson, 1999).
This study aimed at establishing the effect of relationship marketing in the pharmaceutical
industry with reference to GSK. This was a case study since the unit of analysis was one
organisation. The population for this study included the stakeholders in GlaxoSmithKline
pharmaceuticals including managers, heads of departments and medical representatives. Primary
data was collected from the company staff by use of interview guides and content analysis was
used to analyse the data.
The researcher concludes that GSK had improved relationship marketing through creation of
new services and improvement of existing services and products. In addition, there was a
positive relationship between communication and relational marketing. Managers and
stakeholder relationships were found to be positive. To sustain stakeholder trust, the study
established that there was need to ensure transparency and eliminate negative publicity. In
addition, there was need to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.
The study recommends that to ensure successful relationship marketing, there needs to be
customer focus, in particular, different groups and needs should be identified so that relational
techniques target the group dynamics and ensure success.

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