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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The "Dawn of a New Era". Really?
In its January 2, 2012 issue, Advertising Age, the venerable “voice” of Madison Avenue proclaimed that we are now at the “dawn of the relationship era”. 

This perplexes us for two reasons.  1) Terry Vavra introduced the concept with a book back in 1992 titled “Aftermarketing: Keeping Customer for Life through Relationship Marketing”.   Hundreds of other books have since been written on the topic -- so twenty years would be a very long pre-dawn.  2) While we are huge believers in the importance of word of mouth (resulting from the Total Customer Experience), and its ability to drive brand awareness, consideration, and purchase intention - - we also see many product categories in which the importance of advertising, product positioning, promotions, etc. remains critically important.       

Consider this. How often do most people strike up a conversation about, or ask someone for a recommendation regarding categories like the following?
-Toothpaste - Laundry Detergent  - Orange Juice
   - Breakfast Cereal - Life Insurance - Frozen Vegetables   - Magazines - Furniture - Gasoline                Probably not very often.

So It’s Not Quite Time to Bury Traditional Marketing Tools

There are hundreds of product categories, generating billions of dollars of sales each year, which are either too private, too insignificant in price, or simply just not considered meaningful enough to prompt recommendation-giving or searching for endorsements.  Add the thousands of new products being brought to market each year that need to reach a critical mass of loyal customers before referrals can really get under way and you begin to recognize that advertising, promotional support, signage, couponing and many other forms of traditional marketing won’t be going away anytime soon. 

New Ways to CommunicateOn the other hand, would you consider staying at a hotel, booking a dinner reservation, or buying a car, a computer, or a smart phone today without tapping into private or public word of mouth?  Probably not.  Ad Age suggests that the traditional center of distributing marketing messages - the ad agency media department has to be redefined.  No longer are the traditional media (TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers) the only way to spread word about one’s brand.  In the world of relationship marketing, it’s virtually “everything one does and delivers that carries the brand’s message forward”.  The challenge will be that even one’s most delighted customers won’t take the time to learn details about one’s product, the after-sales service provided, the character of one’s employees, one’s corporate citizenship, and so much more that can influence a customer’s relationship with a brand.   
2:49 pm est          Comments

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