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”.
2:49 pm est
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.
this. How often do most people strike up a conversation about, or ask someone for a recommendation regarding categories like
-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 ToolsThere 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.