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What's the state of relationships in a digital age?

As humans, we need to be safe; we want to belong; we yearn to be loved; and, most of all, we hope that we matter – to our friends, to our families, within our communities, and to the companies with which we do business.  Relationships help satisfy these basic needs.  That’s why we seek them. That’s why we need them. 


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to give the keynote address at the annual JD Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas and pose this question to the audience: What is the state of human relationships in the digital age?  This isn’t an abstract question. As marketers, we have no choice but to confront and resolve this question.  (Click here to see the speech.)

I’ve come to embrace a simple truth about marketing – what’s true in real life should be true in marketing  Listen to our vocabulary:  Brand relationships; Customer relationships; CRM.  If our goal truly is to build customer relationships, then we should dig deeper to better understand how people form real, personal relationships. 

As marketing becomes increasingly driven by data and technology, we must re-learn how to forge more personal, more authentic customer relationships.  In a digitally-driven world, the 4Es of personal relationships—empathy, experiences, endorsement and energy—gives marketers a clear framework for creating relevant and lasting customer relationships. 

After all, to connect with customers that increasingly prize authenticity in companies and brands, it pays to remember that what is true in life should be true in marketing.


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