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Friday, August 27, 2010

It's all about the relationships.

To me, marketing that begins with relationships ends with success. The relationships we establish with our customers, our vendors, our employees and most importantly, our community are the linchpin that not only grow our business but help sustain it as well. I believe this to be true even though there is a lot of emphasis being put on social media marketing these days. I recognize that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the other similar channels have their place. However, even their success is based on connecting with people and cultivating those relationships even if we have to do it with 140 characters or less.
The economic crisis that our country is in should be forcing all of us to take a long, hard look in the mirror at how we are conducting ourselves both personally and professionally. If we make an honest evaluation, the reflection probably isn't good. After all, we have become lazy as a society and our marketing practices are not exempt. Yet, there is hope. You see, from trial and tribulation comes growth and opportunity. Grassroots marketing has returned and the emphasis on becoming involved in the community has become paramount in branding your products and services.                                                                                                           In fact, if you do not have someone in your company that is actively involved in the local chambers of commerce or the other civic groups that are present then you are letting opportunities to cultivate relationships slip through your fingers. One could argue that the amount time your company dedicates to getting involved cannot have a dollar amount placed on it. Imagine how much your image would improve if you rolled up your sleeves and contributed to the success and growth of your local non profit organizations. Word would quickly spread that you don't just operate a business in the area but you are a part of the community and care about it. This will go a long way in building customer loyalty for you and your company. If you do not currently operate this way, I would strongly consider start by becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce. They have a wealth of resources. The membership fee is well worth the money spent and you will recover it once you become involved. The relationships and doors that will open once you start will pay dividends. Until next time, give a little bit and get a lot in return. Give a lot and the sky is the limit.