Relationship marketing is the practice of building long-term satisfying relations with key parties—customers, suppliers, distributors—in order to retain their long-term preference and business.
The ultimate outcome of relationship marketing is the building of a unique company asset called a marketing network. A marketing network consists of the company and all of its supporting stakeholders: customers, employees, suppliers, distributors, retailers, ad agencies, university scientists, and others with whom it has built mutually profitable business relationships. Increasingly competition is not between companies but rather between whole networks, with the prize going to the company that has built better network.
The operating principle is: Build a good network of relationships with key stakeholders and profits will follow.
Philip Kotler (Marketing Management, 9th Edition)