Relationship Status: Taken

13 Feb

Marketing myopia was one of the first vocabulary words I learned in my Principles class. So focused on the product that the customers’ needs are forgotten. This seems crazy, right? I thought so too. Well, according to Schultz’s article “What is Value-Based IMC?,” in the 1950s, the Four Ps guided marketing practices and the customer was not even considered.

Organizations actually used to do that? And mass messages were the ‘go-to’ moves in an advertising and marketing campaign? Despite the fact that I am a part of Gen Y and do not know much about the marketplace pre-1980s (besides what I read in textbooks), it just sounds crazy!

The fact is that customer engagement matters. As a customer, it matters to me, it [most likely] matters to you, and it definitely matters to Willem. In his article, he explains that the customer is king because the customer has more control than ever. When is the last time you made a significant purchase? Did you Google the product before you bought it? I did. I read reviews online and shopped around for the best price. And then perhaps during your shopping experience, a box appeared that said: You May Also Like or Recommendations for You.

Recommendations on Amazon.com when purchasing NASCAR The Game 2011

Recommendations on Amazon.com when purchasing NASCAR The Game 2011

Organizations have shifted their focus to the customer and not for a day, a month, or a year, but a lifetime. To strengthen this lifetime relationship, organizations are collecting customer information. Personal information, information about a customer’s lifestyle, buying habits, and past purchases are data that speaks volumes to companies.

I would think that collecting all this data would get pretty messy. I started to ask myself how marketers could keep all this information organized so it is actually useful. This is where the so-called Blueconomy comes into play. The idea is to combine information, where brand managers are sharing information to have a better understanding of their customers. This ‘benefit’ of a Blueconomy started to concern my inner worrywart. There is a line between collecting customer data and an invasion of privacy. Where is it crossed?

At the Bank of America I am constantly advised to download the new iPhone app where I can check my balance and view my account activity. The old-fashioned grandma living inside me will not download it. There is no way I will have my banking information on my iPhone. To me, the potential risks are not worth the convenience. With that being said, there many companies I will volunteer other information to for something in return.

In Dimitri Maex and Paul B. Brown’s article, If You Want Customer To Fork Over Private Data, Give Them Something Irresistible In Return, they discuss that providing customer data and acquiring it must be mutually beneficial.

photo credit: windley via photopin cc

photo credit: windley via photopin cc

“They make data collection and value creation a central part of the value proposition, so that people actively want to participate.”

Consider the social media application Foursquare. This application tracks an individual’s location, except all the data is entered voluntarily! In return, users receive offers and discounts to nearby restaurants and stores. The mutualism between the organization and the customer is at the heart of the exchange.

Call us needy, but this is marketing. If they play their cards right, a company can capture the customer and behold! the sprouting of a lifetime relationship with satisfaction on both ends.

This blog post is a part of Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

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2 Responses to “Relationship Status: Taken”

  1. Liz Jester February 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    Hey Ashley! I think your discussion about the privacy/security issue with customer personalization and web technology is interesting. On one hand, the new apps create a positive experience for customers. On the other, as you mentioned, it creates issues for people who worry about security.

    Nowadays, we can do some crazy things. We can take a photo of a check to deposit it. We can even check an app if we need to pee during a movie but want to make sure we won’t miss an important part (seriously that exists). There’s an app for everything.

    The personal recommendations happen on Amazon, YouTube, pretty much everywhere. Companies use customer info for their own research and for our convenience- so how much is too much? Do we want to sacrifice our privacy for convenience, or convenience for privacy?

    Are we getting to the point where businesses absolutely have to have an app and some kind of technology that brings super convenience to customers? Gabby mentioned in her posts that consumers nowadays always want things now, and I wonder whether these new apps are a response to a demand for convenience, or whether our demand for convenience is a response to these new technologies.

  2. Prof. Mac February 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Mutualism … new concept I hadn’t known before. Thank you Ashley!

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