Are You Developing Real Connections With Your Customers?

With the consumer now firmly in charge, the new brand focus needs to be on customer centricity and brand personalization. With these profound changes what we are seeing is that Relationshipping is overtaking and replacing Marketing. 

Relationshipping is overtaking and replacing Marketing.


Editor’s Note:  Today we welcome George Wiedemann to the editorial desk with his first column for TheCustomer.  I’ll do my best to spare the hyperbole but George has had a storied career founding and running some of the best-known customer-oriented agencies in the world (see the short bio below).  The resume alone would be enough cause to listen what he has to say, but George has now set his sights on the herculean task of aligning enterprises with their customers. I couldn’t be more excited to be publishing George’s thinking on these topics. 


We need to move on from marketing, which is being overtaken by the technology revolution in which we are immersed.  In this connected world, with consumers connected to brands and their products through mobile devices, laptops and desktops, we need to create a new paradigm for our initiative to engage the consumer: Relationshipping. We need to apply it as a new way of thinking and managing our efforts to move goods and services, and grow our enterprises.

In 2020, out of the nearly 8 billion global populations, 5.2 billion were mobile phone users, 4.5 billion were Internet users and 3.8 billion were social media users.  This put new emphasis on the three Moments of Truth, and stimulated a new Fourth Moment introduced in 2011 by Google.

The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is when the consumer chooses one product over another.  The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) happens when the consumer uses, and repeats usage of the product or service.  The Third Moment of Truth (TMOT) is whenever that consumer says anything about the brand or product to anyone, in person or online with ratings and social media comment.

The Fourth Moment is The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), when the consumer needs something and plugs a keyword into the search bar! Since then we have been living in the micro-moment.  According to Google’s research 88% of US consumers research online before buying!!

Over the past decade we have been wrestling with the disruption caused by the online, connected, technology enhanced world.  It has changed the marketing disciplines in place for years – the 5 Ps of marketing.

P for Product

We used to study unconnected consumers via focus groups and offline research to develop products.  Now the consumer can go online and personalize their product.  You can go to Nike and design your sneaker.  You can go to and design your custom suit.  Via connected consumers brands can know in real time what new features and new products their customers want.

P for Price

There are now more than 20 price apps.  In store you can scan the Universal Product Code and see if that store has a good price, or if there is a better one down the street.  Or you can search online at Amazon and elsewhere, and pick the lowest price for what you are going to buy.  Pricing your product is constantly disrupted and under micro moment pressure.

P for Person

This was the newest of the five Ps and arose from the 1970 first computerized census that kicked off the wave of data that has now become BIG DATA. The data foundation in marketing has brought us all the way to the post cookie era such that primary data, and having a robust CDP (customer data platform) is now the foundation needed to support Relationshipping.

P for Promotion

Connectivity and the ability to personalize the message have flipped the balance in promotion from general media awareness being dominant to now having search, digital advertising and brand content in the social spaces being primary. In 2018 for the first time digital ad spend surpassed TV ad spend in the US! Promotion, which traditionally trafficked only in one direction, from brand to consumer, is now a robust two-way process. This process starts with the consumer beginning the journey in the search micro-moment.  General Media’s purpose these days is more to support the brand and its digital platform in those key search micro-moments.

P for Place

This can be explained by just saying: Amazon.  You no longer have to go to the market.  You can order online and have it delivered.   This new P dramatically changes retailing for Place. The supermarket now allows you, in addition to shopping in person, to order online and pick it up or have it delivered.  Today we can go online in the micro moment for any product or service. No longer having to go to a market to get our order changes “marketing” into something else:  Relationshipping.

With this disruption, and with the consumer now firmly in charge, the new brand focus needs to be on customer centricity and brand personalization. With these profound changes what we are seeing is that Relationshipping is overtaking and replacing Marketing.

How has this impacted your business?  How have you adjusted to the new Ps? Future articles will explore the changes that Relationshipping requires in order to succeed in growing your customer base and your enterprise.

George WiedemannGeorge Wiedemann is founder and former CEO of Grey Direct, former CEO of Responsys, and former CEO of The DRUM Agency. He is now founder and current CEO of Relationshipping Consulting, focusing on bringing efficiencies to large-scale enterprises through deep budgetary analysis and process alignment. “If you are a CMO faced with missing new customer acquisition goals, with low lifetime value customers churning, with measurement issues connecting cost per lead data to cost per new customer data, we can help. The Relationshipping Consulting team brings years of experience addressing these customer base growth issues – in many industries under many conditions.”

Photo by Womanizer Toys on Unsplash.





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