The modern approach to marketing activities is changing its emphasis from the traditional marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion) to the conception of relationship marketing. The practicability and flexibility of the relationship marketing approach have led to the rapid evolution of this concept in the modern marketing activities. Veloutsou et al. (2002, p433) also assert that, "it is currently acknowledged that RM represents a paradigm shift in marketing".
Relationship marketing approach emphasises on mutually beneficial relationships between the organisation and the other members of the environment so as to create long-term ties among these groups. Gronroos (1994, p355) posits that relationship marketing "is to establish, maintain, and enhance relationships with customers and other partners, at a profit, so that the objectives of the parties involved are met. This is achieved by a mutual exchange and fulfilment of promises". Hence, relationship marketing focuses on fostering the mutual relationship of an organisation with its customers, suppliers and other firms in order to meet the objectives of all the parties as they enter into an exchange with the company.
In the modern dynamic environment, companies are no longer seen as indifferent from the influence of other parties in the market viz., the customers, suppliers, competitors etc; rather the modern companies need to interact with all these parties in order to maintain long-term relationship chain that is bound to satisfy all of them. This is what was found to be lacking in the traditional approach of the marketing mix. Andersen (2001, p167) illuminates that, "marketing practitioners and scholars are abandoning the marketing mix approach as it does not justify the complex interaction and information exchange processes between organizational buyers and sellers". In the simplest form, relationship marketing has gained popularity as a post-modern approach to marketing over the traditional concept of 4Ps because of its ability to rationalise the existing interaction and relationship of a company with other members of the environment.
The fact that makes relationship marketing more helpful for marketers is the approach of creating a bond between the seller and the buyers. Not only the seller but also the buyers take active part in fostering this relationship with each other. Company nurtures this association by satisfying consumers every time, while the buyers enhance this relationship by making repeated purchases. On the other hand, the traditional marketing mix relies on the seller's part to conduct marketing activities. Gronroos (1997, p327) emphasises this point as that, "the marketing mix makes the seller the active part and the buyer and consumer passive. No personalized relationship with the producer and marketer of a product is supposed to exist, other than with professional sales representatives"
Another important aspect of relationship marketing paradigm is that it is flexible enough to be beneficial for the company in all conditions prevailing in the