“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”
John Donne (1572–1631)
The nature of marketing has changed much in the past few years and, even as we rush to understand the nature of the changes and how to modify what we do, what we expect, how we think and how we plan, the change is accelerating. A few short years ago we observed that the declining costs and increasing performance of technology and associated developments in strategic thinking had enabled an entirely new discipline for marketing: relationship marketing. This discipline offered the company an opportunity to manage each customer as a market of one, over the customer's purchasing lifetime. It held out much promise as the theory and practice addressed several of the problems companies were experiencing, including the low yield some companies were obtaining from their advertising investments, challenges accessing fragmenting markets and developing brand equity in more intensely competitive marketplaces. Relationship marketing principles expected a customer dialog to be initiated and sustained as a learning conversation that would create progressively more value for customer and company over an extended time horizon.
The nature of marketing has shifted in just a few years from a one-way monolog as companies advertised to consumers, to a two-way dialog in which the company sought to understand and communicate with each customer, to engaging with customers ...