Marketing Exchange Relationships, Transactions, and Their Media

By Franklin S. Houston | Go to book overview

relationships, possibly to the exclusion of markets. Which is correct? Again, marketing is richer by an appreciation of both views. The economist's view is often that of the forest and the social psychologist's view is most often that of a tree.

This discussion draws from both economics and social psychology, frequently with little or no transition. For the marketer of the 1990's, the discussion might seem to be an Overview of marketing with a dash of social psychology thrown in, but that perspective is true only because traditional marketing training comes from business programs grounded in economics. If social psychology were also part of business training, the overview would seem more balanced.

We have entered an era when we clearly recognize some social exchange behavior to be integral to marketing behavior. The relationship, an important construct in contemporary marketing thought, hinges on social exchange behavior. As a result, we must recognize its importance and we must understand it. Beyond this, we recognize that a need can be satisfied through exchange, say a smile, but whether we want to attach the word marketing to such exchanges is left for continued debate. Once more, we do not have to identify something as marketing behavior to study it and find value in it. Even the most pragmatic, managerial thinker today must accept the importance of understanding social exchange behavior.

We have noted above that what drives the process we study is something called need satisfaction; we have identified marketing as exchange for the purpose of satisfying one's own needs; and so we have implicitly opened ourselves to all forms of social exchange.

Franklin S. Houston


NOTES
1.
The original mapping used by Kotler and adopted in Houston and Gassenheimer ( 1987) and Houston, Gassenheimer, and Maskulka ( 1992) included compulsion, which we now describe as appropriation, and supplication. Supplication is the behavior of one (or more) of the parties to a possible transaction or relationship, but the actual passing of value is better grouped under transfer. Confusing supplication with transfer is comparable to describing marketing exchange as promotion.
2.
Compare the discussion by Rogers ( 1976, 296-297); he argues the communication relationship rather than the individual as the unit of analysis in diffusion theory.

-10-

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