Connective Marketing

I want to help my client or employer to become successful by focusing on the right customers and by designing its commercial processes to focus on the fulfilment of the needs of those customers. That is what we call Marketing. But with the advent of internet and social media and the increasing level of education of customers and employees Marketing is no longer what it has been.

What does Marketing mean today?

In former times a company was a ‘box’, a thing with walls around it, workers and machines inside and customers on the outside. Marketing managed the shop window and aimed at selling as much products and services as possible. Quite unidirectional, with owners and financiers of the company as the primary stakeholders.

This model dates from the industrial age, when machinery were expensive and workers were cheap and investments had to be earned back by getting the highest possible sales.

The industrial age is over. The industry sector still exists, but is no longer dominant. Employees are highly trained and expensive. The Return on Assets (ROA) has decreased by 75% since 1965, while worker productivity has doubled (source: Measuring The Big Shift, HBR Blog Network / John Hagel III en John Seely Brown, juni 2009). The walls no longer exist. Thanks to the Internet, management no longer has a monopoly on information, like Marketing no longer has the primacy of communication. In short, the focus has shifted from capital and machinery, shareholders and directors, to the individual employees.

Nowadays, companies, or beter: organisations, should be considered as a cloud of temporary overlapping networks of individuals. People, who temporarily connect with the organisation because they recognize themselves in the culture, mission and vision, and who expect to profit from it, as an employee, customer, shareholder or supplier. This also means that organisations can no longer be viewed separately from the society around them and from their effect on it.

Social Network

Organisation as overlapping Social Networks

Leadership in such an organisation is more a matter of directing and facilitating, rather than controlling. Responsibilities are assigned as low as possible and employees get the information they need to control their own work. Marketing no longer defines the innovation but facilitates collaboration of employees and customers on new initiatives (co-creation). Marketing Communication no longer manages the communication but facilitates the conversation (see in this context: presentation The Conversation Company, Steven van Belleghem, 2012).

To keep such an organisation intact and on track, it is necessary that culture, mission and vision are clear and known to everyone. It is also important to work on sustainable relationships between the organisation and all stakeholder groups: customers, employees, shareholders and suppliers, in a way that adds value to the organisation, its customers and all other stakeholders. Becoming successful by utilising and strengthening the network. The new role of Marketing is to organise this.

In 2007 the American Marketing Association (AMA) defined Marketing as follows: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large .” Three aspects attract attention . 1) Marketing is not a function or department, but an activity of the organisation as a whole. 2) for the first time partners are discussed. This emphasises that close network relationships play a role. 3) The effect on society is now included. That means: Corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Value added can be calculated: Revenue less Outside Purchases (of materials and services). But as a drive for individual action, this numerical approach is not very suitable. Therefore I prefer to define it as a contribution to (tangible or intangible) success: What are you contributing to the success of your customers?

Today’s Marketing is the set of activities that an organisation undertakes to develop relevant, sustainable and purposeful relationships between the organisation, its customers and its other stakeholders with the aim of contributing to the success of the customers and the organisation, and thus to the success of all of its stakeholders. I call this: ‘Connective Marketing ‘.

Marketing is the science of success

Marketing Science is a pragmatic science. Often marketing research is based upon the question: what distinguishes successful organisations and which choices increase the likelihood of success. An organisation (company or institute) is successful if it contributes in a sustainable way to the success or well-being of its customers. Indeed, to the success of all of its stakeholders.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders

In order to be successful, an organisation must examine what success and well-being mean to its stakeholders and must formulate what it contributes to that success. A company or institution which can not point this out eventually will lose its reason for existence.

For an organisation which is able to point out what it contributes, marketing science provides clues with respect to the choices that must be made to be successful. In any case an important lesson from marketing science is: focus. Do not try to be everything to everyone. Focus on your core competencies and on the customers that you can help best with those. Focus on your core values and on practises that fit the best.

Marketing management

Marketing is about people or organisations with (latent) needs – the potential customers -, about competences of the organisation to meet these needs and about establishing a lasting relationship between the organisation and the customer in a way that adds value for both parties.

Marketing Management concerns the design of processes to achieve this in a way that contributes to the success of all stakeholders. As described above, this is primarily a facilitating role. Marketing no longer defines the innovation but facilitates collaboration of employees and customers on new initiatives (co-creation). Marketing Communication no longer manages the communication but facilitates the conversation. In short: it comes to facilitating relationships.

In ‘Marketing-as-we-always-did-it’ the emphasis is much more on campaigns, leads, transactions and short-term results for the organisation. For the customer of today – who has much more information and more choice than before – that is no longer sufficient. He wants customised services or experiences. He wants to be able to associate with a product, brand or organisation. He wants to be known. He wants a (virtual) relationship and is looking for organisations that want that too.

My mission

I want to help my client or employer to become successful by focusing on the right customers and by designing its commercial processes to focus on the fulfilment of the needs of those customers.

I do so by working towards a structure of lasting, committed relationships between organisations and customers in a way that adds value for both parties and also for all other stakeholders. That means: by Connective Marketing.

Do you think I can help you? Contact me:

Arne Bleijs Cell +31 6 55 34 59 43 Skype ableijs LinkedIn LinkedIn

Acknowledgement

Graph ‘Organisation as overlapping Social Networks’ borrowed from Patti Anklam, ‘organisational network analysis’, blogpost op ‘Levering Context, Knowledge and Networks’, july 2011.