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Quotebook: Customer-managed Relationships


Relationships, after all, are the one thing you can’t commoditize.

— Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams , Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Expanded Edition (New York: Portfolio, 2008)


In motion!

Look under Relationships

This essential category of Web 2.0 had been pending while the right thought came across my readosphere. Tapscott and Williams have done it.

Why so long for someone trained in classic direct marketing?

Well, frankly, the meaning of relationships and their measurement is changing.

The traditional benchmark of successful direct marketing 40-40-20 may not be good enough. The success of a campaign (i.e., package) could be apportioned to 40% offer, 40% list, and 20% creative. The success was tied directly to beating a scientifically determined goal like a response rate of a previously successful package.

The 40-40-20 rule was perfectly suited to CRM. CRM came into play when data became affordable. In turn, creative could slump along when the direct marketing materials matched the look of the brand/awareness pieces. Now we see CMR — customer-managed relationship — quickly replacing CRM. Why?

Crowdsourced brand conversation and evangelization is affordable, digital – and documented.

Finding a new scientific measure will be and should be difficult. Surmising Wikinomics, it might not be fully possible. Not in ways that allow standard, measurable projections of things like Lifetime Value. That’s because, of course, customers manage the value of their own relationship fully, seeking peers for opinions prior to buying, doing their customer care online, in public, and rating their companies also.

It’s leading me to wonder if the survival of marketers and brands may not be determined by the fittest, but by the most robust, open, and authentic. Not sure where I stand, but it’s time to raise the question and see what’s in play.

What’s your experience of customer-managed relationships?

  • As a direct marketer, how do you answer the all-too-common question, “Yes, but is it ‘direct'”?
  • As a marketer, does your social media plan include customer care and crisis management?
  • As a consumer, how does it feel to buy, sell, be serviced w/o the shackles of traditional branding?

For additional reading, consider:

The One to One Future, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers


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