Monday, 7 July 2008

Effective Relationship Building

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the NMA Effectiveness awards as a guest of web analytics company Nedstat. The event was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel off Park Lane and was a strictly black tie affair hosted by David Mitchell of Peep Show fame.

It was the first awards dinner I have attended but hopefully it won't be the last. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing to do with the awards. Nedstat, myself nor any company I work for were even nominated for an award (this year). In fact the only award that could possibly have gone the way of my organisation went to Chiltern Railways, a site that I shall review from a marketing perspective, at a later stage. This night was all about relationship building.

From a B2C perspective, millions of pounds are invested into CRM and brand building in order to encourage existing customers to engage with brands and maintain their loyalty. However, in the B2B world things are very different. For a start, there are less customers to speak to, so a more personalised approach to relationship building is possible.

It's difficult to transform this to a B2C scenario, especially from an organisational perspective. The only way this can truly work is if the brand values flow seamlessly from every customer touch point. For example, in my early years as a Holiday Rep, it was always the customers that I had a drink and a laugh with around the bar that gave the best feedback at the end of the week. The fact that these opportunities do not exist in every organisation is one of the greatest challenges facing CRM.

Without doubt, my opinion of the my hosts is certainly heightened as a result of the evening. Despite little shop talk,
their brand was well represented by the their employees. Therefore, from their perspective the night was successful as a relationship marketing mechanism. If I ever move into B2B, it is certainly something I would look to use.

But if none of this is important and you just like the odd glass of free champagne, good food and a great night out, then I would recommend attending every event possible.

The photo below was taken towards the latter stages of the evening!

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