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Managing the New Customer Relationship: Strategies to Engage the Social Customer and Build Lasting Value by Ian H. Gordon

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Chapter 5

B2B Relationships

“Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success.”

Henry Ford (1863–1947)

This chapter contrasts and discusses relationships that companies have with businesses and consumers. As customers, businesses differ from consumers in many ways so relationships companies form with businesses naturally differ from those they have with consumers too. It is the rare company whose future depends on winning and keeping one or even a few consumers. For example, while an airline may be eager to develop and maintain a relationship with each of its passengers, it would probably survive even if some stopped flying with them. But it is different for businesses catering to other businesses. In some cases, the defection of a single major customer could damage a company beyond repair and unfortunately this scenario happens all too often.

This chapter explores selected differences between relationships formed and maintained with businesses and consumers and the implications for the marketer building B2B relationships. For businesses, the reader may substitute another concentration of market demand such as governments (federal, state, and local), institutions (schools, hospitals and prisons), industrial manufacturers and service providers (financial institutions, advertising agencies and accounting firms).

Many aspects of the previous chapter apply here as well, including how businesses can connect with their customers using social ...

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