Tagged: marketing

Sixty (iii)

He paused again. I think I mumbled something like ‘right, yes, I think I see what you’re saying’, if only to utter the sound one expects from the to and fro of conversation.

“And now I can answer your question.”

I had, to be honest, slightly lost sight of the question and I was thankful when Saket repeated it.

“Why do I relegate customer-centricity? To answer that, let’s first return to the definition of marketing: the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.”

I indicated I was holding on to the thread.

“Let’s abstract that a little and see where it might take us. What if I said it like this? The process by which thingummies create value for wotsits and build strong relationships in order to capture value from wotsits in return.”

This time I gave Saket a look I’m sure wasn’t flattering.

“Seriously. Stick with me,” he said. “Let’s do some word substitutions. How does this sound? The process by which employees create value for companies and build strong relationships in order to capture value from companies in return.

“Or how about this? The process by which companies create value for investors and build strong relationships in order to capture value from investors in return.”

I half-smiled.

“In other words, every single individual, for each of her many roles in life, seeks to establish relationships to create value, of one sort or another. And perhaps the very definition of a sustainable relationship, and perhaps of society itself, is when such value creation is mutual.

“Today, as nascent as it is, VRM looks to equip individuals in their role as customer. A fork from it – government relationship management – is looking to help individuals in their role as citizen. Longer term, we’ll simply seek to equip and empower and liberate the individual across all her roles in life – customer, citizen, employee, vendor, supplier, investor, family member, friend, custodian of the planet, etc. You can’t call this a business domain or government domain – although business services will evolve to meet the need of course. This isn’t something I believe you can just label ‘social’ either. This is the human domain.

“Networks of these newly emancipated individuals join together more freely to create sustainable value, and they are motivated to stick together as long as that value creation is mutual and appears equitable and competitive, and so long as our values align too.

“Now allow me the license to describe Attenzi a little differently. Some participants in one particular network have chosen to brand the network Attenzi. Mutual, sustainable value is generated within this Attenzi network, within this system, and no one individual or category of individuals can do it without others playing their part – the right mix of others at the right time. It’s a natural law. It’s all in the mix. Ignore this, or indeed attempt to act otherwise, and you wither – particularly when facing off competition that does get it.

“That’s why I relegate customer-centricity.”

“Wow. Thanks Saket. Never a dull moment!”

I knew I was going to have to think about this some more. “So where can I sign up for some VRM?”

Fifty nine (iii)

“We’re building on Gates’ foresight. We’re building on the foresight of the best thinkers in marketing and public relations and business in general. We’re building out the nascent capabilities of the best technologies. We’re taking advantage of advances in complexity science, in strategy formulation and execution, and in media and in the global nervous system we call the Internet. We’re innovators. Others can be followers.

“If this sounds good to you William I’d be delighted to share our perspectives with your portfolio at their convenience.”

William got the check.

Thirty (ii)

“Public relations theory has moved on, particularly following what was known as the Excellence study twenty odd years ago. And the theory is translating into practice, at least where and when it’s encouraged. In this instance we’re not talking ‘spin’. We’re talking about…”, she looked down at her laptop to read something verbatim, “the planned and sustained effort to influence opinion and behavior, and to be influenced similarly, in order to build mutual understanding and goodwill.”

Yvonne looked around the room to make sure we got that. “So good public relations tries to get the organization to understand the people out there as much as we try to get them to understand us. It’s open, transparent, honest.”

Michelle had tapped something into her Macbook and now jumped in again. “Well that’s marketing’s job,” she asserted. “If we’re making academic references here,” (ouch), “I have the definition for marketing: the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return.

“That’s from ‘Principles of Marketing’,” she continued, “we can’t create value without understanding customers, and a relationship can’t be one-way. So that’s why market research and PR come under this definition.”

“PR is different from marketing.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Oh yes, PR is quite separate.”

“Of course it isn’t. PR is a sub-discipline of marketing.”

“Are you for real?! And besides customers are just one public…”

I blew my whistle, figuratively speaking: “Could we stop there please. My gut tells me this isn’t a productive line of argument.”

There was probably only four or five seconds of silence, but it felt a bit longer, and I was thankful when Saket piped up.

“If I may suggest a way in which all the topics you raised Eli are connected, and that encompasses definitions of marketing and PR come to that.”

We were all ears.

“No organization is an island. Rather, it must interact with all those parties around it in order to pursue and achieve its objectives. There is interaction. Movement. Flow. But flows of what?”

The question appeared rhetorical, but at the same time we wanted to answer it.

“Product”, said John.

“And services”, said Michelle.

“And materials to build the products”, John added.

“And flows of money, when we buy materials, and sell products”, I said. “And when we buy services, including employing people, and when we sell services.”

“And reputation? No. Reputation doesn’t flow, does it? Well not all which ways.” Yvonne was challenging her own contribution.

Saket responded but had moved too far from his mic. I asked him to repeat what he was saying.