Connect, Never Neglect A Valuable Relationship

Seven points on developing a competitive advantage

Beyond products, prices and services, how do we ensure consumers that our retail brands are different and more valuable than online competitors who offer little more than a low price?

This is especially important considering the investment it takes to succeed in the increasingly competitive and commoditized CE retail industry. We have to ask ourselves, What are the value triggers we are capable of pushing and pulling to drive successful engagements internally, externally and at the last three feet of the sale? Are each of the triggers unique or are they complimentary across sales, marketing, merchandising, communications, and in-store and online operations? If they are unique, does this mean we need different, customized training for each of these functions to ensure we are competitively fueled to build valuable, connecting and lasting consumer relationships? If they are the same, does this mean we can aggregate sales, marketing, merchandising and communications as one force to build formidable consumer relationships and unyielding competitive advantages?

Enough with the questions; let’s focus on some answers.

Always connect, never neglect a valuable relationship. Strong relationships are not built on a onetime meeting, engagement or event. They are based on a personal and business leadership philosophy, a very successful ethos that works to protract and profit the most successful leaders, brands and companies. “Connect, never neglect” is all about building faster and smarter short- and long-term valuable and profitable consumer relationships.

In sales we focus on connections to build viable, profitable opportunities. In marketing we refer to building brand equity/value opportunity triggers designed to capture short- and long-term emotional and financial relationships. At the last three feet of the retail sale we focus on building relationships by learning, serving and growing opportunity through connecting not rejecting. If we fail to build a formidable consumer relationship, your competitor will fill the void.

Relationship building is the key to sustainable customer loyalty. Connecting with old, new and future relationships is the core driver of fertile opportunity. Neglecting old, new and future relationships is the core driver of fruitless accountability.

Retailers and their partners hope the right products, prices, distribution, promotions and services will achieve valuable brand relationships. Sadly, with all this hefty investment, some companies only realize a short-term relationship. Smart relationship marketing is achieved by paying continuous attention to the customer, and by utilizing research through pulled, not pushed, future sales.

Related story: The Art of the Possible

Peter Weedfald is President of Gen One Ventures, a sales, marketing and brand-product consulting company. He has served as SVP, Chief Marketing Officer of Circuit City, SVP of Sales and Marketing in North America for Samsung, and SVP of global marketing and EEVP, GM & Chief Marketing Officer for ViewSonic.
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Comments
  • CE Guy

    All excellent points. One of the most critical aspects to being successful in sales from the manufacturer side is to build those relationships with your retail partners by solving their problems and becoming the "expert" that they can count on to help. The other points in the article are spot on but unfortunately from what I have seen, there are a large number of sales people who just don’t understand how important these relationships are and how to nurture them.

  • Marc M

    Smart, very smart. Your right, what ever happened to building happy relationships and how is it possible .com companies thousands of miles away can be more successful than blue or red shirts, real human beings in an aisle.

  • Jason Briggs

    Honesty.

    About your weaknesses discussed internally & about your strengths discussed to the world.

    As weak becomes stronger, the brand must reflect the progress.

    Some brands have a tide that flows from weak to strong and back again.
    The tide is much more dangerous than most think.

    It is a hole in the ground marketing dollars gets thrown down without much equity.

    As you say, Peter… "Brand is a METTLE that must be shined each day,"

  • Robert Heiblim

    Thanks Peter. This is sage wisdom that is sadly too often unexecuted. It is not just retail that is detail, but all commerce transactions. These simple suggestions will always help if kept in mind

  • Drew Bixby

    I could not agree more. This resonates with the same core principals as Steve Harper discusses in his book, The Ripple Effect.