Relationship marketing for auditors : A qualitative study on how SME auditing firms practicerelationship marketing
Sammanfattning: Background: Previous research show that there is a need for marketing strategies in SMEs that offer professional services, such as auditing firms. Also, the combination of marketing and auditing is a fairly new concept, due to legal and ethical regulations. Besides, since marketing and auditing have different business functions, it can be challenging for the auditors to practice marketing that does not discredit the profession. Lastly, the new competitiveness in the industry, calls for a need for marketing but since these SMEs lack in resources it is believed that relationship marketing can be a beneficial strategy for these firms due to its low cost approach. Research question: How do SME auditing firms practice relationship marketing? Purpose: The study aims to describe how and why SME auditing firms use relationship marketing as a marketing strategy. Method: This study is based on an abductive approach with semi-structured interviews with twelve people with different positions at firms in Halland and Malmö. Theoretical Framework: The theory consists of four blocks, which mainly focus on relationship marketing. However, theory about SMEs, services and professional services marketing is also presented due to the choice of industry and delimitations. Findings: The findings show that many SME auditing firms lack formal plans and strategies for relationship marketing, often due to lack of resources, interest or knowledge. However,the firms practice relationship marketing even if they do not define it as such, through value adding activities or services for their customers, that lie on top of the fundamental servicethey offer.
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