Unlatching or latching a door to the competitor

Wooje Cho, Woojung Chang, Dongryul Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: In responding to competitors' strategic choices, firms must choose whether to allocate their customer relationship management (CRM) resources primarily to retaining existing customers or to acquiring new customers. To address this critical but understudied question, the authors examine the strategic choices of two competing firms between retention- and acquisition-focused strategies in consideration of switching costs, technological advancement level, and market share. Design/methodology/approach: The authors develop and analyze a game-theoretic model to investigate the strategic choices of two competing firms between retention- and acquisition-focused strategies. Findings: When switching costs are high, findings show that when the degree of technological advancement is high (low), both firms should employ acquisition-focused (retention-focused) strategies to maximize their profits. When switching costs are low and there are a low degree of technological advancement and asymmetric market shares, the firms choose retention-focused strategies in equilibrium, but only the firm with the higher market share can maximize its profit. When switching costs are low, technological advancement levels are high, and the market shares are asymmetric, the firm with the higher market share chooses a retention-focused CRM strategy, while the rival with lower market share adopts an acquisition-focused strategy in equilibrium. However, neither firm can maximize its profits. Originality/value: Prior research focused on a single firm's price discrimination decision without considering a competitor's strategic choice. To address this research gap, the authors examine where firms should assign their CRM resources (retention vs. acquisition) in response to a competitor's CRM strategy. This study provides guidance for optimal decision-making regarding a firm's CRM resource allocation in a duopoly market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1265
Number of pages21
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2022


  • CRM resource allocation
  • Customer acquisition
  • Customer retention
  • Game theory


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