Document Type


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Business | International Business | Marketing

Publication Details

European Journal of Marketing.

Emerald Group Publishing Limited Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Purpose: This study explores relationship marketing and the existence of relationships in mass consumer markets from the consumers’ perspective, with the focus on the Fast Moving Consumer Good (FMCG) sector.

Methodology Approach: A total of 10 focus groups were conducted with consumers from a broad range of demographic and socio-economic backgrounds to enable in-depth exploration of the research issue.

Findings: The study highlights the dominant negative attitudes that exist among consumers to relationship marketing as it is operationalised in FMCG markets. It is found that from the consumers’ perspective relationships do not and cannot exist in these markets and that the nature of exchange in such markets is not relationship based. Consequently, the research concludes that there is a necessity to move away from relationship rhetoric in FMCG markets, and to explore the true nature of exchange in the quest for effective marketing strategies. The research also suggests that further research on relationship marketing should focus on situations where relationships do and can exist and consequently the boundaries of relationship marketing should be limited to only these situations.

Originality/Value: By offering the consumer perspective on relationships and relationship marketing this study broadens understanding of the phenomenon and makes an important contribution to the relationship marketing debate.