Courtney Smith

Posted on November 11, 2010 by Courtney Smith 3

How did selling stuff become de-prioritized?

As I sit here drinking my morning coffee, reviewing the multitude of daily trade e-newsletters (yes, newspaper, I am afraid you’ve been replaced), I ran across two articles for major consumer brands that proclaimed their new marketing strategy was “building relationships with customers instead of making sales.”

Hey, are you free Friday night?

“It’s more about building relationships with consumers than trying to drive sales at this point…” ~ Barry Anthony, marketing director for McKee Foods (Little Debbie Snack Cakes)

“Nike’s new pitch is to educate girls, not sell shoes” ~ AAF Smartbrief headline

Um…. whut? I hope their bosses aren’t close to a laptop today… or if they approved this strategy, I want these two to come work for me. Since when has it not been about making sales, at the end of the day? Do major brands believe that consumers are that naive to believe the warm fuzzy that products are more interested in building relationships with them (aawwwww) instead of picking them off the shelf or into their online shopping carts? As you can tell, I’m not buying. On both accounts.

Don’t get me wrong. As a creative team lead, I am all about finding ways to create emotional connections with products and services, and their audiences. But it seems like a proverbial marketing tenant line has been crossed in declaring it more important than making sales. Last time I checked, brands making money is what keeps me employed, and I suspect the bold declarers above.

Consumers aren’t stupid. And they do want to believe in, and trust the brands they buy. But to prioritize customer relationships with a brand over the sale seems a little over confident. I’ll believe it if I see it…  if any of you spot a Little Debbie snack cake having a romantic dinner with a prospective buyer, let me know.

  • johnny

    i like it

  • kathy

    sign me up

  • Laura Knight

    No business can grow and remain in the Industry without effective customer Relationship. When there is a relationship between a customer an brand, customers trust the brand and are more willing to do and continue to do business with that company. With the exception of online loans till pay day in UK providers, I haven’t been asked to give feedback to any business I deal with. I have a feeling that I am not alone in this respect. Especially like the ideas of handwritten notes and walking the customer through anything they might need help with. Its like putting yourself alongside them as a friend. Businesses can really improve in this area.