marketing 300x188 - Relationship Marketing


The higher level of customer expectations that exists today is one of the reasons behind the fashion for customer relationship management (CRM) programmes. Relationship marketing has caused a great deal of excitement within the marketing industry. The big idea is that companies put their customers at the heart of their marketing efforts, asking for and listening to their wants and needs. Product-focused marketing, which often resulted in a company contacting individuals numerous times with unrelated messages about different products, is being replaced by customer-centered systems aimed at what might be called “joined-up” communications with customers and potential customers. Huge investments are being made in customer databases that collate information on all purchasing behavior. thereby, the theory goes, relationships are created that emulate the bond that customers had with their local shopkeeper in days gone by.


For relationship marketing to be successful, marketing departments must work together to define the kinds of memories and the elements of trust that characterized the ideal bond between shopper and shopkeeper. This means that a CRM initiative must be sanctioned and supported by senior management, and embraced at every level and by every department, to ensure that different parts of the economy do not operate in a territorial way that undermines the effectiveness of what each part is doing.


The main problem with the CRM concept is that although companies are keen to build these associations, customers themselves are less interested. Yes, people want to deal with brands they trust, but loyalty is probably less to do with any emotive attachment they feel than with inertia relating to the effort involved in switching allegiances. This is not to say that companies that listen to customers views are not appreciated; it is more that this has become an expectation.



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