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In The Beginning Was Word-of-Mouth Marketing. It is now the Alpha and the Omega.
Henry Ford exemplified a brand of marketing called “production orientation”. With the Model T, he relied on the axiom, “Build it, and someone will buy it.”
If you’re old enough to remember the popularity of the “Pet Rock”, you understand this. In the 1970’s, someone packaged small rocks in a box and marketed them as pets in national magazines. They sold millions and made quite a bit of money selling an item that had absolutely no usefulness or value.
However, with the explosion of technology and products, the 1990s saw a shift to “relationship marketing”. Businesses realized that it costs about five times more to obtain a new customer than to maintain a relationship with an existing customer.
Social Media Marketing is the natural evolution of relationship marketing. We build relationships with our customers in order to serve them again and again. And in doing so, we create advocates for our business.
No matter how much advertising touts its value, it’s the actual experience of dealing with a business that decides its fate in customer appreciation and public advocacy.
So many businesses fail to see themselves as a part of other people’s lives that they fail to build relationships. They are aloof, interacting only to the immediate needs or requirements of their customers in return for compensation.
But when the owner and employees see themselves as integral parts of the business and take pride in their relationships within the business and with its customers, the business becomes an individual entity striving to be great. This business builds relationships and gains long-term from word-of-mouth marketing.
Businesses and brands are being talked about millions of times a day in Social Media, reviews, and word-of-mouth. According to research, 25% of consumers trust advertising while more than 90% trust consumer reviews.
A revolution is occuring under our sleepy eyes. Relationship advertising is morphing into building relationships, resulting in customer marketing of your business. Word-of Mouth. A one star rating in reviews is a portend of failure.
Strive to be great and build great relationships and your customers will provide your “truth in advertising” with free marketing. YOU are the message they will carry!
Written by Tom Gorham
Editor, From The Trenches