Why relationships are important.

Marketing is very different than it was ten, five, two and even one year ago. Very different.

Over the course of my 20 year marketing career, I've seen a lot of changes in the way companies market. Keeping up with trends in marketing isn't easy. And growing with the times isn't easy either. But grow you must, to survive.

Most recently I've been talking a lot with my clients and prospects about relationship marketing, and the importance of this type of marketing to their business.

In this day of the massive bombardment of advertising, hitting you over the head everywhere you turn, people are tuning out. Who wouldn't? I know I do.

Marketing isn't about just advertising how great your products and services are and expecting them to flock to your store. It's not about going to an event, getting leads and expecting results. It's not about blasting out a discount offer and sitting back and waiting for people to click and buy. Those tactics are long gone.

So, what's marketing about now?

The new paradigm of marketing is about long lasting relationships. It's about the personal touch. It's about bringing value. It's about trust. It's about quality. It's about being helpful. And it's about respect.

Twitter is a perfect study for me in watching how pet businesses market their products and services. I see everything from companies who just push out discounts and product announcements to their followers, to company's attentive employees who genuinely care about the wants, needs, and desires of their followers, customers and prospective customers; and of course I see everything in between.

Relationship marketing is built on long-term, mutually beneficial arrangements with buyers and sellers focusing on value with the goal of providing a more satisfying experience.

This is far more than just a simple purchase/exchange, it creates a more meaningful, personal, stronger and richer buyer/seller relationships, that can be retained for years.

The nice part about this type of marketing is that it can be one of the least expensive forms of marketing. Great for down economic times like these.

More and more I see pet business consumers seeking out advice from respected parties on the best pet products for their needs and their budget. They ask friends, family, co-workers, and other respected parties.

This trend magnified during the horrible pet food recall, the subsequent discovery of lead in dog toys, and most recently the EPA's warning of the potential dangers of over-the-counter flea and tick medications.

No longer are the majority of pet product and service consumers willing to purchase just anything, they want advice to keep their pets safe, and they want advice to help enrich the lives of their pets. They are seeking value, and they are willing to pay more for higher quality.

What if you could become the individual from whom they seek out information? What if you had dog or cat lovers contacting you to ask which dog toy is right for their dog, or which cat food can help with their cat allergies?

That's your ultimate goal. To have those individuals seek out information from you. Because that means you are doing all the right things - bringing value, becoming a trusted resource and gaining respect for your knowledge, products and /or services. And it means they will buy from you.

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