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B2B And B2C Marketers Agree: Relationship Marketing is Where It's At

Part of me is truly amazed that it has taken this long to realize something that should have been obvious to all of us from the beginning of time. Well, the beginning of advertising and marketing time, that is.

Regardless of the medium or platform that we use to communicate with consumers, shouldn't we all have been collectively trying to establish a relationship and engage with our customers from the proverbial get-go?

Shouldn't adopting this type of approach bring with it the subsequent increased revenue we all seek?

Instead of simply bombarding consumers with one ad after another, shouldn't we try to relate and engage?

I don't know, maybe it's just me. Maybe I am too naive.

Has The Future Finally Arrived?

Late last year in an article entitled Looking Back, Looking Ahead - CMOs Weigh In, Scott Olrich, who happens to be the CMO of Responsys, the company I work, said that in looking ahead to 2013, "We will see the beginning of what I refer to as 'the relationship era' whereby marketers will move away from an acquisition first mentality to a relationship first one. Marketers will focus more on the entire consumer experience to build and foster a long term relationship with a consumer as opposed to just that initial purchase phase."

Based on what I saw in a recent eMarketer article, it would appear that both B2B marketers and B2C marketers are finally realizing that engaging and establishing a relationship with consumers is paramount to ultimate success.

Yes, I am fully aware that the above chart refers only to social media. Quite frankly, I don't care. When I saw this, I took it as a positive move toward all forms of marketing - not just social.

I was a little disheartened to see the percentage for "improve customer engagement" so much lower on the B2B side compared B2C, however. As soon as I saw that, I was instantly reminded of something I wrote last year: Even Though It’s Called B2B, There’s Still A “C” On The Other End.

In that article, I essentially reminded all your B2B marketers that no matter what it says in the acronym, there's still a live, breathing person on the other end of that line. I'm wondering if too many B2B marketers still don't grasp this concept, resulting in the significantly lower percentage re: customer engagement compared to their B2C brethren.

Why Has It Taken This Long?

So, why has it taken so long for marketers to identify the need to relate and engage with their customers?

Has it simply been a case of generation after generation of marketer being raised on the idea that the bottom line is always the bottom line? That selling, selling and more selling is the most important thing and that if, along the way, you establish a relationship and engage with a consumer, that's a bonus. But at the end of the day, as long as we're moving product, all is well in the world.

Sources: eMarketerGoogle Images, Forbes

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