Can We Be Friends?

By Alex Marchetti

President DMA Atlanta

From early childhood throughout our entire adult life, we have craved to belong and have cherished friendships with others that share our interests, motivations, behaviors, preferences and values. We joined clubs, churches or political groups. We basically hung out with others who listened to the same music, drove the same kind of cars or dressed in similar fashions.

Things have not really changed. We still like to hang out with friends who share our interests and we continue to join groups at roller coaster speeds. However, today we use online and offline communication channels to meet, develop and nurture friendships. We use online social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, blogs, texting, etc. as well as the more traditional channels like talking on your cell or actually socializing in person. Lots of choices create lots of challenges.

Today it’s all about more of what we like and less of what we dislike.  We know what we like, we know how and when we want to talk and most importantly, we can block anyone we don’t know, don’t like or don’t want as friends. We are in control.

As marketers, we must understand this newly acquired power, the control consumers now have and how important it is to create meaningful relationships with our customers. If you’re not a customer’s friend, sharing similar interests you will dramatically increase the risk of losing that customer. Treat each customer as you would your friends and  communicate with each of them at the right time, with the right message and through the right channel. Remember, your competitor is only a click away.

By the way, my Facebook analysis suggests that I have an 80% chance of marrying, will have 2 children, have a woefully below average friend level and 352 people will attend my funeral. Can we be friends?

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