Ever evolving- Relationship Marketing

Changes in Marketing and Markets

When humans didn’t exist, marketing did. Lord Krishna was (oops, is) an amazing brand. So is Allah, Jesus and your favorite god / goddess. You can identify, differentiate and ….. blah blah and hence its a solid brand with high level of association which keeps us loyal.

Oldest profession

The first ever marketing activity known to man was done by women (who else). The oldest profession being prostitution, it will not be difficult for you to relate. A women had to display her body to get things done eg. get some fruits from the tree owner (barter), which became very popular among women. With ease in availability of food all around for women, the activity got popular in no time and hence gave rise to competition. With time, the “visuals” for men became important, and women started advertising. With options being available to men, they became selective. Which, no prices for guessing, lead to prostitution, way of living, lifestyle, concept of business, marketing and advertising – evolving till today. If you reached here, you just saved a lot of reading which I couldn’t. Google this story!

The term “Marketing” is relatively young, however not the discipline. The moment women created demand for themselves and found some buyers, marketing started. Jumping a few centuries from here, The Ancient Greeks used advertising for commercial purposes. The traders hired ‘criers’ to promote their products. Their advertising propositions were sometimes surprisingly similar to today’s television advertisements. But none of the ancient brands lasted the test of time.

Change in Marketing

Change has been constant throughout the history of marketing. Markets change constantly. The only certainty is change. Everything changes – customers grow old, develop new tastes, new values, earn different amounts , prioritize ‘new’ needs, competitors emerge, laws and regulations change, and technology sends out shock waves of change. Nothing stays the same. Therefore, with time we will see new definitions of marketing, however, what would remain certain is a market. A market will remain, as there will always be buyers and sellers, the change that we have seen with time, and will be seeing in future is where the market is, its platform, the medium of buying and selling and where/who these buyers and sellers are. Now, people from different parts of the world may come up with different permutation and combination of alphabets to define marketing, which will change with time. The world and marketing are changing. They will continue to change. Today’s winners may be tomorrow’s losers.

The only thing that a marketer should understand, (apart from understanding that there are better marketers around), is the importance of change. Welcome change, accept change and work around it. Just like a 50 year old advertisement may face challenges in selling, one’s ideas will get outdated and the best thing that cane be done to avoid is, keep up with generations, keep up with cultures, keep up with technology, keep up with change.When we observe these changes, we can see the trend and the direction. It is rightly moving from transactional to relationship. There is nothing new in these two words -from ages, Marketing text books are talking about these.  Understanding these is vital. Look at the messy diagram here. This is no theory, mind you!

Transaction-based vs relationship Marketing

Lets find out what these different axis mean.

Towards the right you see, creation, which means while creation of a good or a service – the consumers were never consulted. Consumers are never consulted, how spicy the red chilly powder should be, how salty our salt should be or how black should the ink for a pen should be. They are made – “hello my customers, we consider you king, therefore we have made a great red chilly powder for you, enjoy”.

Distribution, as we see on the left hand side considers consumers. Where do they want a product or a service, its delivered. A bathing soap, is made available at the closest store. A newspaper is delivered to your balcony. In spite of distribution and supply chain has been a concern for marketers since its very existence, its evolving and getter better.

There was a time when consumers demanded a product “x”, who cares how is that “x” prepared. However, with time it has changed and people are more concerned about the process through which the product “x” is made. “Is this cake eggless?”, “is it fatfree?”, “Does this computer has an Intel processors?”, “Has this car gone through all the tests?”  – All these questions made so-called-certifications ISO, ISI, AMI etc which ensures a product has one through a definite procedure (thats another argument). Contemplating over the essence of the same, consumers now want to know the process through which an outcome is delivered. So get them involved in it is the mantra of the recent change. Thats  a relation.

Ask them what they want and ask them how they want it to be prepared. Look around a few products or services in your room, and you will see slowly the selling process of these stuffs are changing.

Marketing is evolving with time and there no set rule in which you can market.

Relationship Marketing

Satyam is a Consultant with Infosys Ltd. and editor / founder of marketinomics.com. When he is not talking about Digital Marketing or dreaming of CRM strategies, he can be found on a treadmill. He enjoys travelling, reading and listening to music! Catch up with him on twitter at @xatyam