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‘Tis the season for 2009 predictions. Given concerns about the market, nearly every list of predictions I have come across lately focuses on shifts in marketing spending. While these predictions are of interest, one theme emerged that will influence the way I think about marketing in the coming year.
The theme is simple: marketing is all about relationships! Hardly a new concept, but before you bail out, let me explain.
I am not talking about using clichés like “relationship marketing” that make me feel good about loyalty programs that continue treating consumers like a name on a list. Microsoft’s depiction of this irony in “The Break Up” continues to win awards for capturing what we all know to be true if we are honest with ourselves: There really isn’t a relationship — at least not one that we should feel good about.
So, this year, my lone resolution is to invest in relationships with people that I believe will tell me the truth I need to know as an email marketer — relationships that will provide the type of insights needed to help build brands that stand out among the competition. Here are three groups of people I will spend more time with in 2009:
1) Call Center / Customer Service Representatives: In nearly every organization I have ever been associated with, these employees represent an untapped source of valuable information. They understand the customer, they know the frustrations, and they know what gets customers excited. Yet too often, they are left unattended and unappreciated. Companies hoping to prosper this year need to understand their strengths and weaknesses from the customers’ point of view, in order to address concerns proactively and highlight the things that delight consumers.
Originally from “My Lone New Year’s Resolution”| Published January 7, 2009