Though it was first coined by Berry (1983) in the United States, relationship marketing as a term was not commonly used until the latter part of the 1980s. The term relationship marketing emphasises variables and processes such as trust, commitment, social norms, and so on. The key structural issue in relationship marketing stems from its raison d’etre: exchanging resources to provide mutual benefits and thus achieve mutual goals, which differentiate it from the conventional view of marketing, offered by American Marketing Association (1985) which involves the integrated analysis, planning and control of the ‘marketing mix’ variables (product, price, promotion, and distribution) to create exchange and satisfy both individual and organisational objectives.
To survive in today’s marketplace, a company cannot afford to choose between low costs on the one hand, and high quality, innovative technology, quick delivery, or high variety on the other. A hybrid strategic approach is needed, teaming high quality or the latest technology with a strong cost position.
Mass customization is the perfect way to bridge the gap between cost pressures and customer-specific requirements. This strategy combines customer-specific products
and services with the efficiency of mass production. The customer who previously bought a standard product can now walk away with a tailored solution. Similarly, companies that traditionally produced custom-made solutions can still manufacture to order, but on a large scale, thanks to powerful new processes and product structures. Naturally, this cuts costs. Furthermore, mass customization provides the basis for successful customer relationship management (CRM)