As Lennon and McCartney wrote a half century
ago, money can’t buy you love. But in today’s world, where people have become
desensitized, even disillusioned, by ad campaigns and marketing slogans, that
maxim needs an update: Money can’t even buy you like.
That’s because we’ve entered the “Relationship
Era,” where the only path for businesses seeking long-term success is to create
authentic customer relationships. Not through hip social media promotions,
viral videos, or blizzards of micro-targeted online ads. Those tactics, which
simply disguise old ways of thinking with new technology, just don’t work in
the long run.
So what does work in this bewildering new era?
Where do “authentic customer relationships” come from? The answers will make
some leaders sigh with relief while others rip their hair out: Honesty.
Transparency. Shared values. A purpose beyond profit. Sure you still need a
high-quality product or service to offer, but that’s not enough. Now that
people can easily discover everything that’s ever been said about your brand,
you can’t manipulate, seduce, persuade, flatter or entertain them into
loyalty. You have to treat them like flesh-and-blood human beings, not abstract
consumers or data points on a spreadsheet.
It may sound like the woo-woo language of
self-help books and inspirational wall posters. But as Garfield and Levy show
in this book, it’s the deadly serious reality of business in the 2010s. It’s
why General Motors abandoned its $10 million annual budget for Facebook ads,
and why some brands have hurt themselves badly on social media by nagging,
interrupting, abusing and generally ticking off their customers.
The good news is that some companies have
already embraced the Relationship Era and are enjoying consistent growth and
profits while spending substantially less on marketing than their competitors.
Download and start listening now!