Should some marketers not worry about creating customer relationships?

vendors.jpgIt’s July. In the U.S., often times this means parades. I have seen a couple of parades this season and this got me think about parade marketing and selling. During these parades, I saw many vendors selling cotton candy, bottled water, shade umbrellas and so much more. These vendors did not seem to have any affiliation with a brick-and-mortar or online store nor did they have a set location in which to vend; they simply walked up and down the parade route along with their mobile “store”. I am guessing that once the parade is over, they either go home satisfied with the couple of bucks that they have made or they move on to the next parade.

Help me out here: Should these vendors (or any company that seems to only sell “convenience” for that matter) concern themselves with creating long-term relationships with their customers? Is there ever a time when creating relationships with customers does not make sense? Is there a way for these vendors to create loyal customers? What do you think?

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5 Responses

  1. I think there is no chance for creating an emotional relationship with customers based on simply one act of providing water, as in the case you state in your blog. Brand relationships are not that single point of entry, rather a sustainable relationship based on authenticity. Customers are smart. If you are a brand / marketing professional, don’t wast your client’s money on these foolish schemes.. Cause marketing is a more meaningful bang for the buck and creates an authentic connection.

  2. Jungle8,

    Thank you for your comments. I think the cause marketing angle could be beneficial. Would your opinion change if the vendors were a part of a local company? Lets say that the company rented cotton candy machines, popcorn machines, snow cone machines, tents, chairs and the like that could be used for social gatherings (birthday parties, church socials, school functions). Would this change your mind? If so, what would be some of your branding strategies? Where would you make the distinction between building a relationship that is mutually beneficial and it simply being a waste of time and money?

  3. I understand what you are getting at, and of course, there are no absolutes in marketing / branding. However, if the only point of entry to a new customer relationship is the social function you describe, it won’t be effective. Say your client is a manufacturer of screwdrivers. Providing water or cotton candy is so outside from thier service that the point of entry is not even measurable AND the audience is too broad to reach your client’s target that I think it’s a waste of time. The trick is defining the audience, making sure your offering is targeted AND assuring the offering is meaningful and memorable. Anything other than that is a waste of money… That’s just my my opinion 🙂

  4. Jungle8,

    Thanks for participating in the conversation. Let me tell you where I was going with this. I was wondering if, as a general rule, only marketing that creates a customer experience that fits the worldview of the customer could ever elicit the loyalty necessary for a mutually beneficial relationship with the customer. In other words, I was wondering if pure convenience buyers (my parade marketing example), price or transactional buyers, or “lost leaders” seekers could ever be the beginnings for loyalty. I could not come up with anyway to produce true loyalty (besides maybe the occasional nuance). Can you, or anyone else for that matter, come up with any way to elicit loyalty from these shoppers or is it just a lost cause?

  5. You have stressed a good point in there.
    Your article is very informative and relevant to SEO
    Certainly some food for thought here. I’ll have to take a look at my search engine marketing mix and see how I measure up.
    Thanks for an excellent article!

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