This article was originally published on August 16, 2014 at SwitchandShift.com under the title Your Role in the Shifting Relationship Economy. I encourage you to read the article at Switch and Shift, as well as check out the compelling array of publications from thought leaders around the globe.
The term, Web 2.0 was coined by Darcy DiNucci back in 1999 and what seemed revolutionary at the time… the shift from a static website to technologies that allowed an interactive model of communication. Over 15 years ago the focus on the internet began to shift to user collaboration, sharing of user-generated content, and social networking. With Web 2.0 came the ability of companies to actually entertain a conversation with their customers and prospects. Web 2.0 began a dialogue began between producer and consumer creating a dramatic shift in the economy.
In the early 2000’s, around the time Web 2.0 was coined, technology analyst and visionary Jerry Michalski coined an additional term, The Relationship Economy. Michalski shares, “Smart companies are building authentic relationships with their customers, no longer treating them as consumers. Smart governments are figuring out how to trust their citizens by opening their data and their budgeting processes, among other ways.”1 The Relationship economy is about a trusting, give-and-take process that brings producers and consumers into a much more symbiotic and communicative relationship than previous economic models.
The Relationship economy is a give-and-take process bringing producers & consumers into a more symbiotic relationship
The early 2000’s were also an important time in my life as I began to take a deeper journey into sharing my study and experiences in the relationship field when I coined and trademarked RelationShift®. RelationShift® at its core is the process of creating a more transparent relationship of integrity with all of the people, organizations and businesses in your life. I share this thought not as a plug for my method, but as an example of how many have begun to see and understand the importance of a more transparent and open universal communication process.
A recent 2013 article in The Guardian entitled, Marketing Revolution: the Rise of the Relationship Economy stated, “When a person decides to buy a product for its social attributes, they’re making a statement about what they believe a good relationship is.” The writer, Tom LaForge, went on to share most importantly, “These are values-based statements. And values are rock solid foundations upon which brand loyalty can reside for a long, long time.”2
RelationShift® creates a transparent relationship of integrity with the people, organizations and businesses in your life.
Interestingly enough, even with the technology to support two-way communication and discussions on the relationship economy we still observe many companies and entrepreneurs who are using the outdated mode of one-way communication called broadcasting. For example, how many have seen on social media channels a robotic, automated approach to sharing information?
I’m amazed by the automated broadcast methods employed on social media. I highly doubt that the sales conversions are high utilizing such outdated techniques. In fact, one only has to observe the very low number of retweets and favoriting that goes on with these types of campaigns. A brand may have a million plus followers but if no one is tuning in because there is no true relationship or interaction, there is little worth to this type of campaign.
Values are rock solid foundations upon which brand loyalty can reside for a long, long time.
The oldest, most effective marketing and sales strategy is as powerful and potent today as it ever was, real relationships. Relationships sell, broadcasts don’t. Broadcasting is impersonal while relationships bring in connection, and human acknowledgement. Broadcasting is a one-sided vehicle of communication.
Relationships are not a one-sided communication but rather they create a dialogue. The countless automated Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts repeating the same message over and over ad nauseum without any engagement takes the Social out of Social Media. A small amount of automation can be highly effective, particularly if it makes your work more efficient, however, efficiency at the expense of relationship is virtually always a losing proposition. It is critical to augment automation with unique, personal communication.
Even with the technology to support two-way communication and discussions on the relationship economy we still observe many companies and entrepreneurs who are using the outdated mode of one-way communication called broadcasting.
A May 2013 research study by Google and Forrester Research found that “engaged social followers follow a four-phase customer life cycle in which they 1) discover your company and products; 2) explore whether what you offer is right for them; 3) buy your products and services; and 4) engage with you, and with their friends and peers, after their purchase. At each stage they turn to social media. The sales funnel of the past was linear, starting with awareness and ending with a purchase. But today the consumer journey is cyclical — and offers huge opportunities for brands.”3
The key phrase in the research above? Engaged. Shifted, engaged relationships translate into increased sales conversions and creative marketing techniques using this style of communication. Build true relationships, not just one-sided affairs and watch as your sales skyrocket.
A brand may have a million plus followers but if no one is tuning in because of no relationship, there is limited worth.
1 Michalski, Jerry. “What Is the Relationship Economy?” Rex. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://therexpedition.com/about/what-is-the-relationship-economy>
2 LaForge, Tom. “Marketing Revolution: The Rise of the Relationship Economy.” Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 09 Oct. 2013. Web. 26 July 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/social-impact-brand>.
3 Haller, Megan. “To Buy or Not to Buy? Perhaps Social Engagement Is the Question â Think with Google.” To Buy or Not to Buy? Perhaps Social Engagement Is the Question â Think with Google. THINK Newsletter, Oct. 2013. Web. 26 July 2014.