A report on a marketing relationship problem.

The marks are allocated to four components:

  1. identification and description of the problem (10 marks)
  2. analysis of the problem and conclusion to the analysis (40 marks)
  3. recommendations, advantages, disadvantages and implications (15 marks)
  4. presentation (5 marks).

Material that may help

Problem identification

When identifying your relationship problem you might want to consider:

What are the symptoms?

How do they manifest?

What are the wider consequences of these symptoms?



Using the readings on differences between services and products (Readings 1–4), marketing relationships and the previous week’s readings, what do you think are the main causes for the relationship problems? What are the views of your customer, yourself and your organisation, and what assumptions have all of these made? To help your analysis you might want to consider the following questions:


What were the expectations of both your customer and you or your organization from the exchange that took place?

To what extent were or are these expectations supported by or undermined by how you or your organization categorized your customer through segmentation and targeting? In other words, did the segmentation category and targeting process determine how you dealt with that customer?

To what extent did you or your organizations positioning encourage real or unrealistic expectations in your customer’s mind?

To what extent can you apply SERVQUAL to identify real problems in your or your organizations service delivery that may have contributed towards the problem?

To what extent do you or your organization actively try to encourage and maintain a relationship with your chosen customer?

Finally, what do you or your organization actually offer or provide to sustain that relationship?




How can the relationship problems be resolved and improved upon? You should consider as many options as possible and assess them for their relevance towards solving your problem. For example, you may have identified the problem arising from expectations and what may have been implicitly or explicitly promised. This may have arisen from your customer being identified as important to your organization through segmentation and targeting. However, has this importance been met in realistic terms (such as meeting your demand and/or profit expectation)? Has your organizations positioning strategies given the customer unrealistic expectations? When you are thinking about your solution you should consider the feasibility of what you are proposing and you might want to refer back to your reading Customer satisfaction, service failure and service recovery. While a seemingly perfect solution might be found it does not necessarily make it a feasible one! It is also possible that you will find there is no solution to the problem – or none that is in your power to bring about (for example, customer expectations may be determined to some extent by your organization’s communications, such as advertising and publicity messages. However, the service delivered may fail to match that promised for a number of reasons, which are beyond your control). If there is a possible solution, ensure that it is SMART.


Strengths, weaknesses and implications


Consider whether you have chosen a solution(s) which could actually be implemented in your organization. If it or they can be implemented then what would be the wider implications of this? Note, this is a good place to consider ethical implications and implications for sustainability.


Completing this activity you will have started to appreciate how different elements and concepts in marketing are related and how it is generally necessary to think about marketing problems holistically in order to achieve sensible solutions. This week’s activities and readings have provided you with an opportunity to understand why some relationships between your customer, and your and/or your organization may encounter difficulties. Problems in relationships can often be attributed to a number of causes and are rarely down to one single event. By drawing upon your previous activities and readings you should have begun to appreciate how expectations can be a source of these problems and these expectations are based upon a number of marketing-related activities – for example, segmentation, targeting and positioning. You may also have realized that solving marketing problems often requires action from different parts of an organization and it may not be possible for a single person or department to find a solution.


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