Custom «Use of Relationship Marketing as a Strategy for the Success of Investment Banks» Essay Paper

Custom «Use of Relationship Marketing as a Strategy for the Success of Investment Banks» Essay Paper

Chapter 1: Introduction

The success of a bank depends more on the perceptions and preferences of its customers (Yavas et al., 2004) identified the significant impact of customer perceptions and preferences on the growth of a banking institution. According to Chumpitaz & Paparoidamis, (2004) analyzed markets based on the perceptions of the customers and designing a customer delivery system based on such analysis enables the banks to gain competitive advantages. Similarly when a bank follows the objective of meeting the customer needs and enhancing the quality of its services, the bank is sure to gain and sustain distinct competitive advantages. The development of information and communication technology has had significant influence on the way a bank or other financial services organization conduct its business and maintain the relationship with its customers (Dabholkar & Bagozzi, 2002). The pressure on banks to enhance their profitability has forced them to move away from the traditional transactional and quick sale approach towards an improved relationship-based approach to market their products and retain the customers (Duddy & Kandampully, 1999; Moria, 1997).

Several studies have analyzed the relationship between service quality and customer retention in the context of banks and other financial institutions (e.g. Ranaweera & Neely, 2003; Caruana, 2002). In this context, Bei and Chiao, (2001) identified the quality of service level as an important element in attracting and retaining customers by financial institutions. Reichheld and Schefter, (2000) concurred by affirming that by providing superior quality service through the use of automated services, the financial institutions could accomplish higher rate of customer retention. Within this context, this study analyzes the role of marketing strategies by Investment Management Institutions including Investment Banks in attracting and retaining customers. This study focuses on the concept of relationship marketing.

1.1 Investment Banking – An Overview

There exists a close relationship between banks, financial markets and the macro economy. This relationship has been studied in the past in detail by several researchers (Cameron, 1997; Goldsmith, 1969) ). These studies reveal that well-developed financial markets are necessary for the overall economic development of any nation. The Investment Banks form the foundation for the development of financial markets.

In broad terms, Investment Management Companies consist of firms whose activities relate to issuing, distributing, selling securities and other related financial products. The activities of investment banks include underwriting, brokerage and market making. Commercial banks and several other financial institutions are involved in investment banking activities. The firms operating in this industry appear to have significant competitive advantage in undertaking investment banking activities and other brokerage related activities. “Historically many of the securities firms have specialized in one or more of the product market areas, such as institutional brokerage, retail brokerage, exchange floor brokerage or corporate and municipal finance. Other firms have engaged in a relatively full range of securities activities, but have limited themselves to a particular region of the country” (Hayes et al., 1983).

Competition among the investment banking institutions has received great attention during the recent period. Proliferation of Internet and other information and communication technologies has increased the customer knowledge on the availability of various financial products, services, relative merits and demerits. Consequently, the customers have become well informed of the intricacies of investing their surplus funds and their choices and expectations of services from the investment banks have gone up tremendously. This has compelled Investment Banking Institutions to adopt suitable marketing strategies to market their products and services successfully.

Economic globalization, cross-border activities and consolidation have made the investment banking industry go through incredible transformation. The business environment today witnesses a number of banks crossing international borders to market their products and services in various geographical locations across the world. The role and importance of investment banking can be seen from their engagement in public and private market transactions for corporations, governments and investors and in providing a number of benefits to these participants. Importance of investment banks is also enhanced because the services and efficiency of them affect the financial markets and ability of investment banks in minimizing the cost and maximizing profits is important for both the banks and their clients. Investment banks also contribute to the facilitation of various industry segments (Radic & Fiordelisi, 2008).

Investment banking can be defined as the service of intermediation between issuers of stocks and investors through their involvement in advisory, mergers and acquisitions, debt capital markets and equity capital markets. There are a number of factors, which have acted as key drivers for the proliferation of investment banking institutions and their expansion on a global basis. Some of these drivers include globalization initiatives aided by cross-border investment flows, increased accumulation of investment assets owned by large corporations, securitization and economic deregulation measures adopted by different countries in the wake of economic globalization. Gardner and Molyneux (1997) identified similar factors, which facilitated the evolution of the present day investment banking like the advancement in technology, changes in regulatory frameworks, distribution of property rights and other economic forces that have an effect on the investible funds of individuals and entities.

Considering the scope of this research and the complexity of the investment banking business, the literature definition of investment banking is provided below:

“Investment bank’s business can be categorized into five main areas: broking (the broking of securities is commodity business in which firms appeal to customers mainly on price and integrity); trading (the trading of securities drives on market volatility); investment banking (represents the underwriting of new issues and advisory work also referred to as Mergers and Acquisitions); fund management (includes both retail and wholesale fund management); interest spread (derivatives income from borrowed funds)” (Gardner & Molyneux, 1997).

Full service and boutique are the two kinds of investment banks. Full service investment banks provide clients a range of services to meet their specific needs. These services include “underwriting, mergers and acquisition advice, trading, merchant banking and prime brokerage” (Radic & Fiordelisi, 2008). For example, Goldman Sachs is one of the investment banking institutions that offer services in investment banking, trading and principal investments, asset management and security service. In contrast to the full service investment banks, boutique investment banks offer specialized services in specific segments of the market and they do not form part of any larger financial services institutions. An example may be found in Greenhill, which specializes in “Advisory services in Mergers and Acquisitions, financial restructuring and Merchant banking” (Radic & Fiordelisi, 2008). Similarly, Lazard offers “Financial advisory and Asset Management services” (Radic & Fiordelisi, 2008).

The role of marketing in investment banking can be seen from the fact that investment banking is mainly a revenue-motivated business. For most of the investment banks, earnings from the investment banking activity constitute only a part of total earnings. In order that the investment banks maximize the contribution to the total revenue from the investment banking activity, it becomes important that suitable marketing strategies are developed and implemented.

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1.2 Marketing – a Background Note

“The concept of marketing is the exchange process in which two or more parties give something of value to each other to satisfy perceived needs” (Kurtz, 2008). Thus individuals trade money for product or services depending their perceived needs and preferences. Services rendered may be both tangible and intangible and the swap of money can take place in return for a combination of goods and services. Even though marketing has always been viewed as an essential part of a business, the significance of marketing has varied over time and the history of marketing has gone through, different stages relating to manufacturing, sales and customer relations. After the periods of Great Depression and World War II the marketing era emerged during which there had been a move from products and sales towards fulfilling customer needs.

The shift from the seller’s market to buyer’s market created the need for consumer orientation by businesses. The need for companies to market their products and services increased and this brought changes in marketing concepts. Marketing assumed a conceptual base in which a company-wide customer orientation to achieve a long-term success of the business became the primary element (Kurtz, 2008).

Kurtz , (2008) the objective of marketing strategies has undergone major changes in the last decades towards building the commitment of the customer towards a brand or a dealer. The development has taken the forms of (i) creating customer satisfaction through the delivery of superior quality products and services, (ii) building brand equity, which is facilitated by factors like perceive quality, brand loyalty, association of the customer towards the brand, trademarks, packaging and convenience of distribution channels, and (iii) creating and maintaining relationships. Of these three forms, customer satisfaction by delivering quality products and services and creating and maintaining customer relationships have been particularly pursued by bankers.

Relationship marketing enables financial institutions develop mutually beneficial and valuable long-term relationships with the customers (Ravald & Gronroos, 1996). O'Mally and Tynan, (2000) observed that relationship marketing works more effectively in cases where the customers are highly involved in the services provided by the institution. More specifically in the case of investment banks and other financial institutions, customer oriented relationship marketing programs facilitate free and meaningful flow of information between the institutions and the customers. Such a flow of information enhances the positive feeling of the customers towards the bank, which leads to increased satisfaction and relationship strength (Barnes & Howlett, 1998; Ennew & Binks, 1996). Past studies provide knowledge about the nature and importance of relationship between customers and banks from the perspectives of customer and business (O'Laughlin et al., 2004; Madlill et al., 2002).

Although relationship marketing can be extended to all types of customers of banking institutions, Carson et al., (2004) are of the view that it need not be directed towards all the customers. Usually, banks have both profitable and unprofitable customers and in most cases the profitable customers subsidize the unprofitable ones (Zeithaml et al., 2001). Investment banks find it difficult to retain profitable customers, because of the increasingly competitive environment. The financial institutions specialize in offering attractive services and prices to the profitable customers to lure and retain them. Since investments in all the customer segments are not likely to result in yielding similar returns, relationship marketing is directed towards the most profitable market segments only. The profitable segments are identified by the associated income and wealth (Abratt & Russell, 1999).

Within the realm of investment banking, relationship marketing has a significant role to play, as the present day customers are well informed about the level of service quality they can expect from the financial institutions offering various investment services and other financial services products. The objective of this paper is to analyze the role and function of relationship marketing as one of the marketing strategies of investment management companies especially the investment banks.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

            The central focus of this study is to evaluate the role of marketing in promoting the investment banking activities of investment banks and other financial institutions. In the process of studying this central aim, the research accomplishes the following goals.

  • To study the impact of changes from the traditional transaction-based marketing towards relationship-based marketing on the business of investment banking.
  • To examine and evaluate the different marketing strategies being followed by investment banks in managing their business including the product offerings and service offerings by the investment management institutions.
  • To make a comparative study of the marketing strategies of HSBC and Citi Bank to compare and contrast the strategies for their effectiveness.

1.4 Research Questions

            The current research through a comparative case study and a review of the relevant literature attempts to find answers for the following research questions.

  1. What are the usual marketing strategies adopted by the investment banking institutions to market their products and services?
  2. What are the significant motivating factors for the investment banks to turn towards relationship marketing?
  3. What is the target population for the marketing strategies of investment management companies and how effective the marketing communications of these institutions in reaching the target population?

1.6 Significance of the Study

In the present day competitive business environment and global exposure of investment management institutions, devising an appropriate marketing strategy has assumed prominence. It has become essential that managers should have a thorough understanding of the marketing concepts and latest developments in the application of marketing concepts in the field of investment management. Relationship marketing has been found to be of relevance in the context of marketing by the investment banks. From the customer perspective, the relationship with a particular bankbecomes important to decide and maintain such relationship for a longer period. From the bank’s perspective retaining of profitable customers is of prime importance and this involves the implementation of relationship marketing strategies in conducting the business. Therefore, the study of the role and impact of relational marketing strategies on the investment banking becomes important. To this extent, the current study attempts to add to the existing knowledge on the different facets of relationship marketing in investment management field.

1.7 Structure

This dissertation is structured to have different chapters concentrating on the different aspects of research. Following the first chapter introducing the topic of study and laying down the research boundaries in the form of research aims and objectives and research questions, the second chapter presents a review of available literatures. Chapter three describes the research methodology. Chapter four contains the findings of the research from the case studies and an analysis of the findings. Concluding remarks, limitations and recommendations for future research are presented in chapter five.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

The objective of this chapter is to present a review of relevant literature on the topic of the role of marketing in investment banking. The review will add to the exiting body of knowledge by reviewing the past research findings and theoretical contributions on the concept of relationship marketing and its influence on customers for financial service products. The determinants of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty in investment banking are also reviewed.

2.1 Introduction

The investment banking industry across the world has gone through significant transformation due to cross border activities and consolidation taken place in the industry (Radic & Fiordelisi, 2009). Higher disposable income available to consumers’ increases the chance of marketing more investment products. Transformation in fiscal policies, deregulations and improvements in the financial services sector help the growth of the market for investment banking products (Radic & Fiordelisi, 2009). Traditionally, the preponderance of these products is distributed through financial intermediaries who work on a commission basis. However, with the development of newer financial service product offerings and intense competition among market players, the necessity for evolving new techniques and strategies for marketing of these products has evolved (Kunst & Lenmink, 2000; Stafford, 1996).

In the modern customer centric competitive business environment, customer satisfaction, service quality and customer loyalty have proved to be the major factors in establishing a casual and cyclical customer relationship, which is vitally important for the growth of investment banking business (Jamal & Naser, 2002). With a higher perceived level of service quality, the customer remains more loyal and satisfied which in turn increases the business of the investment banks (Lloyd-Walker & Cheung, 1998). More specifically, financial institutions such as investment banks have increasingly understood the strategic importance of customer value. With this realization, the institutions are continuously striving to evolve and implement innovative strategies that could enhance customer relationships (Kunst & Lenmink, 2000; Stafford, 1996). In this context, it is to be noted that the product offerings of many financial service products are almost similar and only slight product differentiation is possible (Lim & Tang, 2000). This characteristic of the products makes the value of the loyal customers more important for the financial institutions. Such loyal customers are likely to use the services of the investment banks more, spread word-of-mouth, withstand the offers from the competitors and recommend the services of the particular banker to other potential customers. Developing close ties with clients is sure to result in the growth of business of business entities (Reichheld, 1993). In view of the excessive cost to be incurred in attracting new customers, the institutions seek to develop and maintain long-standing relationship with the customers, so that they can increase the profitability of the organization (Ennew & Binks, 1996). The present day banks have started using relationship marketing in the place of transaction-based marketing, which considers the relationship with the customers as an important element. For developing sustained relationship, customer satisfaction has been identified to be one of the essential prerequisite (Oliver, 1980).

Crosby and Stevens (1987) attributed satisfaction in the service of organizational members, satisfaction at the quality level of customer service and satisfaction with the functioning of the whole organization as the determinants of better customer relationship. Within this context, this review presents an analytical description of relationship marketing and its influence on business growth of financial service providers including investment bankers.

2.2 Marketing Function – an Overview

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“The concept of marketing is the exchange process in which two or more parties give something of value to each other to satisfy perceived needs” (Kurtz, 2008). A simple marketing model promoted by Kotler and Armstrong, (2000) explained marketing as the process of handing over goods and services against tendering of money in return. Effective marketing implies the transfer of details about the products from the trader to the potential purchaser as an important element. An effective advertising message informs the consumer, about the attributes of the product or brand of the company and the feedback from the consumer to the company will inform the company about the perception of the customers on the quality of the product or service marketed by the company.

Consumer behaviour is one of the important determinants of marketing strategies. Blackwell et al., (2001) defined consumer behaviour as actions taken by people, when purchasing, using and getting rid of products or services. Consumer behaviour with respect to certain product or service is analyzed to ascertain the response of the potential customers to different advertising strategies of an organization. The firm makes an analysis of consumer behaviour for creating unique selling point. This selling point is developed to attract target audience so that the firm can reach its objective growth. The company must have a thorough understanding of the client attitude in order to maximize the return on its investment on sales promotion activities.

Based on the analysis of the consumer behaviour, a company would devise and execute its marketing strategies tailored those factors, which would drive customer behaviour. There are a number of factors, which influence the buying decision of consumers. These factors include prior purchasing habits of the purchasers, their present preferences, impact of environmental factors and the influence of the advertising and sales promotion programs launched by the company. Other demographic factors like age group, profession, qualifications, personal traits and standard of living of the consumer influence the customer’s choice. Brand loyalty represented by the preconceived thoughts about the quality and functionality of the products or services also has influence on the buying decisions of consumers. Kotler, (2006) identified culture as one of the basic determinants of the consumer choices (p. 124). Culture in this context represents the norms and beliefs of the society. In addition, culture also covers the customs learnt from the society, which ultimately become the value of the society (Fill, 2002, p. 83).

Customer satisfaction with respect to the quality and utility of the product or service is another major factor, which needs to be considered in attracting and retaining customers for any product or service. In this context, relationship marketing is the new paradigm in marketing literature, which has challenged the existing marketing theories and philosophies (Kotler, 1991; Gronsroos, 2004; Gummesson, 1997). Relationship marketing is a strategic tool used to study the needs and preferences of the customers and their attitudes, so that a firm will be able to build long-term relationship with them. In the investment banking context, relationship marketing is of particular importance, as the investment banks have to establish and maintain successful relationships with customers to thrive among stiff competition. The following section presents a review of relationship marketing and its application to investment banking.

2.3 Review of Relationship Marketing

Establishing, developing and maintaining successful relational exchanges characterize the process of relationship marketing. “The essence of these activities is to decrease exchange uncertainty and to create customer collaboration and commitment through gradual development and ongoing adjustment of mutual norms and shared routines” (Anderson, 2001). When the customers are retained over a number of transactions, there is the likelihood that both the buyers and sellers may profit from the experience gained through undertaking the previous transactions. The basic aim of relationship marketing is to enhance the profitability of the organization by accessing a larger proportion of specific customers’ lifetime spending instead of trying to maximize the profitability because of individual transactions (Palmer, 1994). The competitive environment of businesses forces the firms to find a different route to garner competitive advantage by forming relationships with the customers so that there is significant improvement in business outcomes such as quality, efficiency and effectiveness (Nowak et al., 1997). The approach of relationship marketing involves a deviation from the traditional competitive approach to one that involves collaboration. Characteristic of relationship marketing involves collaboration, long-term focus, commitment to and trust in relationship among partners, establishing and achieving mutual goals and objectives, and a relatively fewer number of business partners and inter-dependence (Dwyer et al., 1987; Kanter, 1994; Iacobucci & Ostrom, 1996; Nowak et al., 1997). Based on these characteristics, reciprocity can be identified as the core concept of relationship marketing. According to Bagozzi, (1995, p. 275) reciprocity is a disposition and a feeling that one should “return good for good in proportion to what we receive.” Gronroos, (1990, p. 138) has reflected the concept of this relationship in his definition of marketing as:

“Marketing is to establish, maintain, and enhance (usually but not necessarily long-term) relationships with customers and other partners, at a profit, so that the objectives of the parties involved are met (Gronroos, 1990).

            Relationship marketing in a conceptual context developed during the 1980s. The concept emerged as an alternative to the then prevailing transactional view of marketing, because of the realization that many exchanges particularly in the service industry were mostly relational in nature rather than transactional (Berry, 1983; Dwyer et al.,1987; Gronroos, 1994; Gummesson, 1994; Sheth & Parvatiyar, 2000). Within the context of a banking setting, relationship marketing have been defined as, “the activities carried out by banks in order to attract, interact with, and retain more profitable or high net-worth customers” (Walsh et al., 2004 p. 469). Therefore, the objective of relationship marketing can be identified as increasing the profitability of the customer while ensuring the provision of a better service to the customers. A number of studies with their empirical findings established the positive association between relationship marketing strategies and effective business performance (e.g. Naidu et al., 1999; Palmatiyar & Gopalakrishna, 2005).

In the marketing of banks, relationship marketing have attained a significant position (Holland, 1994; Stone et al., 1996). In respect of banking services, Keltner, (1995) observed that German banks as compared to the American banks have been able to maintain a consistency in their market position during the 1980s and early 1990s by following the principles of relationship marketing concept. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that relationship marketing by itself will not automatically result in stronger customer relationships. When the financial institution follows the principle of relationship marketing, the customers will exhibit different levels of closeness in their relationship with the banks, which could strengthen the ties between the bank and its customers (Berry, 1995; Liljander & Strandvik, 1995). Relationship marketing strategies will become more attractive when they are made to enhance the perceived benefits of engaging in relationships (O'Malley & Tynan, 2000). However, O'Laughlin et al., (2004) argued that not all customers will like to engage in relationships with banks. The authors further argue that close customer relationships in banks are rare and the relationships are weakened by the increase in the proliferation of Internet and other self-service technologies. Several scholars studied customer satisfaction in the banking industry in detail (Ahmad, 2002). These studies focused on the integration of customer management with customer services and optimization of customer relations (James, 2004). Before the role of relationship marketing in investment banking is reviewed, the following section reviews the desired level of relationship outcomes, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty aspects as they apply in the context of banking in general.

2.4 Customer Relationship and Satisfaction

Customer orientation and satisfaction is identified to be one of the basic tenets of relationship marketing. Saxe & Weitz, (1982) argued that sales personnel who are customer oriented always strive to improve the customer satisfaction on a long-term basis. Subsequent research have shown that a firm’s relationship with its customers is influenced more by the customer orientation (Clark, 1997; Yavas et al., 2004). On the study of customer satisfaction in the field of marketing of financial services, it was observed that while customer oriented employees are able to evolve positive influence, sales oriented employees could develop only a negative impact on customers’ relationship satisfaction (Bejou et al., 1998). Customer relationship quality and customer relationship satisfaction are the customer evaluation measures normally used to reflect transactional and relational types of exchanges (Bejou et al., 1996; Crosby et al., 1990; Lang & Colgate, 2003; Abdul-Muhmin, 2002; Rosen & Surprenant, 1998). Research established a positive relationship between service quality and sattisfaction in the banking sector (Ennew & Binks, 1999; Jamal & Naser, 2002; Ting, 2004). However, the constructs in this context are highly correlated and sometimes it might become difficult to separate them to transactional interactions. This have been found to be even more difficult from a relational perspective. Therefore, it can be stated that in long-term relationships of banks with customers, perceived service quality and satisfaction are likely to be merged into one phenomenon, which helps in an overall evaluation of relationship satisfaction.

In the context of service market, especially financial services, the market environment has become even more competitive, with the increasing intensity in price competition. This has made shifting of loyalty of customers as an acceptable practice. Many of the industries have started focusing on rearranging their marketing budgets such that more resources are diverted to defensive marketing with the intention to retain the customers (Patterson & Spreng, 1998). According to Gummesson, (1998) there are a number of initiatives undertaken to improve customer retention, including value chain analysis, customer satisfaction and loyalty programmes. Customer satisfactions have been regarded as the basis for firm success as satisfaction is inextricably linked to customer loyalty and retention. Studies have established the link between customer satisfaction and customer retention and they have identified other factors such as “the level of competition, switching barriers, proprietary technology and the feature of individual customers” (Bloemer & Lemmink, 1992; Bloemer & Kasper, 1995; (Sharma & Patterson, 2000). Fournier and Mick, (1999) observed the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty to be more complex than it was perceived earlier. Sharma and Patterson (2000) identified a significant impact of customer satisfaction on customer loyalty. Customer satisfaction as a direct antecedent leads to a greater commitment in business relationships (Burnham et al., 2003) and it greatly influences the repurchase intentions of the customers (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). However, it is worthwhile to mention that the impact of satisfaction on commitment and retention is likely to vary in accordance with the nature of industry, product, service, or environment.

Burnham et al., (2003) presented another view and argued that customer commitment cannot be construed to depend only on satisfaction. Relational switching costs are expected to strengthen the relationship commitment, since such costs represent a barrier to exit from the existing relationship. High switching barriers would force the customer to stay or to perceive that they have to stay with service providers who do not consider the satisfaction created in the relationship. On the other hand, Jones et al., (2000) observed that customer satisfaction is usually the key element in ensuring repeat patronage of customers and this outcome generally depends on the intensity of switching barriers in the context of providing effective service. Under certain circumstances, even though a customer maybe less satisfied with a service provider, they would still choose to continue with the same provider because of the higher perceived cost of leaving the services. The customer has to consider the costs in switching a supplier. It involves set-up costs and termination costs. The set-up costs include the cost of finding the new service provider who would be able to provide the same or better performance as the previous provider or the opportunity cost of foregoing exchange with the incumbent. The termination costs include the relationship-specific idiosyncratic investments created by the customer, which might have no value outside the relationship (Dwyer et al., 1987). This is applied more particularly in the context of investment banking in the form of exit and entry charges on investments routed through the investment bankers.

The service encounters can be viewed as a social exchange in the light of interactions between the service provider and customer becoming a crucial component of satisfaction. This provides a strong reason for the continuance of the relationship (Barnes, 2002). “In a services context, considering the level of interpersonal contact needed to produce services, there is a range of psychological, relational and financial considerations that might act as a disincentive for a hypothetic change of service providers” (Petruzzellis et al., 2008).

2.6 Relationship Marketing in the Context of Banking

Fierce competitive trends and saturation in the financial service product markets have enhanced the need to garner effective competitive advantages by banking institutions. The growing demand for the banking products and service through new media like Internet have forced banks to respond quickly to new challenges in customer demand and to meet them, with new and improved business models (Methlie & Nysveen, 1999; Jun & Cai, 2001; Bradley & Stewart, 2003). Gronroos, (1994) and Berry, (2002) identified the long-term relationship with customers as the key success factor in the service industry, which enormously increases with the electronic channels. “The proliferation of new channels and the high demand for differentiated products has presented customers with a wide choice in terms of which service to use in order to profitably interact with the bank.” (Petruzzellis et al., 2008)

The latest extension in portfolios benefits both the customers and banks alike. Banks are provided with the opportunity of capitalizing on the beneficial characteristics of the newer product lines and channels of marketing. For example, electronic channels enable the banks to reduce the costs of interacting with the customers through the substitution of labor-intensive processes with the use of automated devices and sales processes (Campbell, 2003). In addition, the interactions resulting from face to face consultation enhance the opportunities for cross selling of the products (Clemons et al., 2002).

It is imperative that banks undertake an active management of the usage of customer service so that the bank would be able to benefit from the different strengths of its portfolio. In this process, the banks are under an obligation to understand the ways the customers may adopt for choosing between the portfolios. The banks should also understand the circumstances under which the customers make these choices. This understanding will help the bank in identifying the factors that are relevant in influencing the customer choice and their relative importance in making the choice.

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Eastlick and Liu, (1997) observed that the decision by the customers to adopt a service is driven primarily by the perceived benefits and perceived costs of using the new product. The adoption of the product thus depends on the ‘value’ the product can provided to the customer. The ‘value’ in this case is represented by the service quality of the product Montoya-Weiss et al., (2003) and the convenience the customer can derive out of by using the product (Black et al., 2002; Devlin &Yeung, 2003). The customers will also consider the risk involved in conducting the transaction using the product (Black et al., 2002; Grewal, Levy, & Marshall, 2002; Reardon & McCorkle, 2002) and the costs of carrying out the transactions through the product (Devlin, 2002; Fader, Hardie & Lee, 2003). Perceived convenience, service quality and price are the key bank attributes which influence the perceived value of a service (Bhatnagar & Ratchford, 2004). The perceived value of service therefore depends on the moderating effects such as circumstances under which the customer chooses the service and the distinguishing features of the customer himself (Mattson, 1982). It is to be inferred that the importance of the bank attribute among convenience, quality and price for choosing a service is most likely to vary depending on the situations and customer features. In consistent with the literature, it is possible to distinguish between two dimensions of loyalty. They are: (i) a past loyalty that is more associated with the customer’s behavioral loyalty (Snehota & Söderlund, 1998; Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001). This loyalty represents the relative importance of a specific banking service in the previous transactions decision of the customer (ii) a cognitive loyalty, which implies the behavioural intention of using the banking service in future (Methlie & Nysveen, 1999; Van Rail et al., 2001).

“The perceived service quality, satisfaction and past loyalty are antecedents of the intention of continuing to use the service or future loyalty.” It is therefore important that the banks should ensure that they provide a service of high quality for surviving in the highly competitive market and for garnering a sustainable competitive advantage in the long-term, which cannot be replicated by the competitors (Mefford, 1993; Jun & Cai, 2001).

In the context of social capital effect on the usage or choice of banking service and its impact on customer loyalty, commitment on the part of the bank becomes a key construct as identified by the social exchange literature (Thibault & Kelly, 1959) and the relationship marketing literature (Berry & Parasuraman, 1991). As perceived by the customer, the relationship with a particular bank is so important that the buyer may decide that it is worth investing in specialeffort to maintain such relationship for an indefinite period of time (Tellefsen, 2001; Coote et al., 2003). Such long-term relationship enhances the exchange relationships and acts as stimulation for promoting the willingness of partners’cooperation and complying with mutual requests. The partners are able to share information and engage in joint problem solving exercises (Morgan &Hunt, 1994). Commitment also acts to prevent the negative effects of switching costs (Fullerton, 2003). Thus, lack of commitment on the part of the customers will make them switch the service provider more frequently than the committed customers, and thus results as being a more powerful determinant in retaining customers than continuance commitment. 

2.7 Relationship Marketing with respect to Investment Banking and Financial Products

There are a number of factors, which influence marketing for financial service products. These products are service based offers and therefore are characterized by a high degree of intangibility and complexity. These characters in turn provide a high level of variability depending on the market situation. Factors such as type of demand, delivery style, duration, and significance to the client also influence the marketability of these products. The peculiarities of financial services products may lead to a conclusion that relationship marketing is the right approach applicable only within the financial services product categories. However, it must be emphasized that the specificity of relationship marketing to the financial services products is attributed mainly because of the high risk involved and the necessity for a long-term relationship in view of the involvement of the client for carrying out the service delivery process (Ennew & Binks, 1996). In the case of investment banks, it becomes necessary to establish a balance between the transactional marketing and relationship marketing strategies for arriving at an optimal position. However, the point at which the investment bank balances both marketing strategies cannot be permanent because of the interaction of various factors enumerated above. “The existence of the changing circumstances determines an instable area or a danger area for both parts of the optimal position, following the calculation difficulty or even impossibility at a certain time of the results generated by the different relationship or transactional strategies.” The main risk arising out of the calculation of this optimal point between transactional marketing and relationship marketing can be described as below:

  • With respect to implementing transactional marketing strategies, the bank may not be able to recognize the wishes of the customer for a higher level of involvement on the part of the organization (to be reckoned as the customer service type activities undertaken by the investment bank).
  • With respect to applying relationship-marketing strategies, the bank is likely to overestimate the quality level of the service expectations by the customer. This might result in clients migrating towards a competing institution which offers a higher qualitative level to a lower price.

A hybrid managerial approach can be thought as a possible solution, which might take into account the possible changes in the business situation. According to Gronross, (1995, p. 252) irrespective of the investment bank or the institution adopting mostly transactional or relationship marketing strategies, there may be situations when the company may have to address the needs and preferences of customers in different market segments. The hybrid managerial approach requires the application of multiple marketing strategies, which would provide for the development and maintenance of discreet changes necessitated by shoppers segments. In this case, the bank has to be satisfied with lesser degree of profitability. At the same time, the bank should strive for maintaining and intensifying the relationship with profitable clients. “In conclusion, it cannot be possible neither profitable for an organization to create close relationships, personal and long lasting with all the clients, which involves a differentiated approach, based on segmentation principles that will combine elements of relational marketing and transactional marketing in accordance with the clients profile and its importance for the company” (Filip & Pop, 2007)

Similarly, the clients may also adopt a differential approach depending on the type and complexity of the products involved. According to a study conducted in the banking market in the United States, there are differences between transaction oriented and relationship oriented clients (Quoted in Mohamed et al., 2002). Sixty-two percent of the clients interviewed confirmed that in general they tend to be confident, based on their own strengths acquired by searching and analyzing financial information. They also seemed to be price sensitive. The remainder 38% of the interviewed clients responded that they are mostly interested in personal service and are not sensitive to the price. A similar study conducted in the UK financial services market has developed a model that typifies the shopping behavior in the market in accordance with two basic factors, which are instrumental in motivating and determining individual choices. The two factors are (i) the level of involvement and (ii) the degree of uncertainty (that generates some level of trust in the banker) (Beckett et al., 2000). The following figure represents these customer behavioral patterns.

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