Martin Mende, University of Kentucky
Ruth N. Bolton, Marketing Science Institute
Mary Jo Bitner, Arizona State University
Many firms invest heavily in customer relationship management to create close customer bonds. However, not all consumers welcome close relationships. We develop a framework that predicts why consumers differentially prefer close relationships with a firm and how they respond to closeness-enhancing activities.
Our framework – tested with data from the insurance industry – links customers’ attachment styles with (a) customers’ desire for closeness and (b) loyalty.
The results provide managers with novel customer segmentation criteria and actionable guidelines that can help the firm tailor relationship marketing activities.
This paper is published in Journal of Marketing Research, February 2013, pp. 125-142.