What Marketing Can Learn from Relationships

I have been married for more than 4 years now. It is a good enough time to understand the nuances of this relationship and how to ensure peace (arguably the most important aspect of a marriage; I am sure all husbands will agree to this 🙂 ). I care for my wife, but it fails to have the desired impact if this caring is not as much as my wife expects. It is true the reverse way also. Either person in any relationship would feel that she or he is doing best to keep up the joy and peace in the relationship, but that effort is purely relative and it’s outcome is dependent on whether it meets the expectation level of the other person.

When this dawned to me, it eased our relationship a lot. And when I thought more on this, I started realizing that it’s true for any relationship. It’s true for business relationships, and more so for marketing. A marketer may try very hard to please their prospective customers, but will not get the desired outcome until this effort is as per the expectation of customers. You may have the best advertising with an appealing marketing message, but it should be appealing enough for your target segment to react and respond. All your target customers may expect good service/ product, but “good” becomes relative and every customer will have her or his own definition of it. An important thing to consider is that as a marketer you can never come true on expectations of all in the market – just because they are varied and not of same degree.

This leads me to the basics of marketing – define your segment as narrow and in as many details as possible. Create buckets based on what are customers’ expectations, and accordingly devise methods to target them. Once this is in place, all your content, marketing messages, marketing channels, performance metrics definition, etc. gets aligned to this. One-size-fits-all won’t work in such cases. As product managers come up with Minimum Viable Product (MVP) which triggers positive response from the most suitable user persona, marketers also need to create and communicate a marketing message that will relate the best with your best-suited prospective customers. Once this set is happy with you, they will generate referrals and do word-of-mouth for you. Employ your skills now to leverage on this goodwill and grow.

Relationship is all about expectation-management; and so is marketing. And finally it boils down to the ultimate truth of marketing – understanding your customers!

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