relationship marketing

What’s the point of relationship marketing?

What have Ford Retail, Maersk and Boden all got in common? (Clue: it’s got nothing to do with cars, shipping or clothes).

You might have seen that Ford Retail UK has just launched a range of nail varnishes based on the colours of their latest Ford Fiesta.

The colours themselves, which include Hot Magenta and Candy Blue, might not be to your taste, but if you work in social media, you’re probably already wondering why you didn’t think of the idea first.

On the other hand, if you don’t work in social media, chances are you’re screwing up your eyes and mumbling: “why in heavenly tarnations would Ford Retail do such a thing?” And that’s before you’ve even seen the colours.

I imagine quite a few of Ford Retail’s senior executives have also questioned exactly how green nail-varnish is supposed to convince people to buy a new car.

How we got to the Relationship Era

Culture is the “stories we tell ourselves about ourselves,” wrote Clifford Geertz in 1973. What the virtuoso anthropologist meant: stories reveal our social reality as much as they shape them.

So what yarns are we telling ourselves about today’s marketing environment, and how do they influence our marketing?

Get close and personal with your customers

At the end of every year, executives and pundits put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to project how their industry will change in the months ahead.

Some years that change is downright incremental. In others, there’s a significant shift in how people do business, reach their customers, and make money.

2013 is one of those years.