Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Relationship Marketing

Most recently I attended a meeting for marketing professionals.  I myself am not a marketing professional yet and see this as a networking opportunity, so attended anyways.  During this informative new member orientation meeting something was said that peaked my interest and got my mind rolling.  The speaker was talking about someone interested in the group that had a major concern in joining.  His concern, you ask, well, it was that by joining a group of marketing professionals that his “trade secrets” may be stolen.  His concern was that possible competitors would use this meeting as an arena to gain some sort of edge on him.  My initial reaction upon hearing this was that there is obvious paranoia going on.  Next, I tried to empathize with his plight and try seeing things from his perspective.  Empathy is a characteristic I’ve learned will get you far in life and something I daily try to remind myself of.  Sometimes in being empathetic you realize that the other person may just be wrong though.  Another lesson I am learning is that there is no good in telling someone they are wrong, rather, help them see a different perception. 

Fear is the opposite of love, which encompasses things along the lines of confidence, trust, etc.  In life you have the choice to live out of fear or love, your choice dictates your trajectory.  There is nothing new under the sun and right now all the technology and tools out are available to anyone.  There may be a learning curve or even economic advantage some hold over others, but the resources are readily available aside from economics and work ethic.  Life is all about relationships, thus so is business.  As a marketing professional, most specifically an account manager, one should feel confident enough in relationships that meeting with other professionals would not be seen as competition, but collaborative effort.  By this I simply mean the relationships you have built and maintain should be strong enough that a new guy or gal with a shiny toy would not distract your client.  Loyalty is a valued commodity.  This valuable asset is something that can only be attained through relationships.  We seek interpersonal connections, we want to feel a part of something, and we hunt out the values we hold dear.  Creating a loyalty with your client will far overshadow and outperform any intuitive ideology or sly sales.

My wife and I use a local butcher shop for all our meat.  Sure we could go to a large chain store and get meat for cheaper, but we’d sacrifice quality and relationships.  Chain stores can offer things at cheap prices, but can never compete in the market of relationship sustainability.  If a new butcher were to come into town and have super neat signs and social media plans I would be hard pressed to vacate my loyalty to my butcher.  He knows my name, asks about my wife, gives me recipe ideas, and most of all makes me feel valued as a customer.  He has bonded a relationship that gives him a competitive advantage over others.  Sharing information with other marketing professionals isn’t a problem if you are confident in the relationship you have with your clients.  One should be so sure in his established client relationships that they’d be as bold to challenge another person to take their client.  Again, this goes back to the value of creating and maintaining relationships in your business.  If we have solid relationships then we can be confident that there is not a competition, only partners who have different relationships.  If we are open to learning from others and confident in our client relationships, then associations of professionals in the same business we are in is no longer something to be feared, but something to be embraced.  
The challenge in all this is looking past the shiny toys and clever products or services and assessing our relationships. Relationships are key to business and vital to living and working out of love, not fear.  Are you confident enough in your client relationships, have you built your business on a solid foundation?  These are the tough questions that will propel us into the next tier of success.  May you have this success through relationships and work and live well.

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