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Can't Buy Me Like: How Authentic Customer Connections Drive Superior Results

Overview

Today’s brands face an apparent choice between two evils: continue betting on their increasingly ineffective advertising or put blind faith in the supposedly mystical power of social media, where “likes” stand in for transactions and a mass audience is maddeningly elusive. There has to be a better way . . .
 
As Lennon and McCartney wrote a half century ago, money can’t buy you love. But in today’s world, where people have become ...

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Can't Buy Me Like: How Authentic Customer Connections Drive Superior Results

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Overview

Today’s brands face an apparent choice between two evils: continue betting on their increasingly ineffective advertising or put blind faith in the supposedly mystical power of social media, where “likes” stand in for transactions and a mass audience is maddeningly elusive. There has to be a better way . . .
 
As Lennon and McCartney wrote a half century ago, money can’t buy you love. But in today’s world, where people have become desensi­tized—even disillusioned—by ad campaigns and marketing slogans, that maxim needs an update: Money can’t even buy you like.
 
That’s because we’ve entered the “Relationship Era,” where the only path for businesses seeking long-term success is to create authentic customer relationships. Not through hip social media promo­tions, viral videos or blizzards of micro-targeted online ads. Those tactics, which simply disguise old ways of thinking with new technology, just don’t work in the long run.
 
So what does work in this bewildering new era? Where do “authentic customer relationships” come from? The answers will make some leaders sigh with relief while others rip their hair out: Honesty. Transparency. Shared values. A purpose beyond profit. Sure you still need a high-quality product or service to offer, but that’s not enough. Now that people can easily discover everything that’s ever been said about your brand, you can’t manipu­late, seduce, persuade, flatter or entertain them into loyalty. You have to treat them like flesh-and-blood human beings, not abstract consumers or data points on a spreadsheet.
 
It may sound like the woo-woo language of self-help books and inspirational wall posters. But as Garfield and Levy show in this book, it’s the deadly serious reality of business in the 2010s. It’s why General Motors abandoned its $10 million annual budget for Facebook ads, and why some brands have hurt themselves badly on social media by nagging, interrupting, abusing and generally ticking off their customers.
 
The good news is that some companies have already embraced the Relationship Era and are enjoying consistent growth and profits while spending substantially less on marketing than their competitors. The authors show what we can learn from case studies such as . . .

  • Patagonia, a clothing company with a passion for environmentalism, which solidified its customer relationships by urging people NOT to buy one of its jackets.
  • Panera Bread, which doubled per-store sales by focusing on ways to create a welcoming environ­ment while spending just 1 percent of sales on advertising.
  • Secret, the women’s antiperspirant brand, which gained significant share by focusing on its com­mitment to strong women.
  • Krispy Kreme, which has built a near cult of loyal Facebook and Twitter fans, all but obliterating the need for paid advertising.
Blending powerful new research, fascinating exam­ples and practical advice, Garfield and Levy show how any company can thrive in the Relationship Era.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Consultant Garfield (cohost NPR's On the Media) and Levy (founder and CEO of MeplusU) discuss the shift in advertising to the "relationship era," defined as the first period of modern commerce when success or failure depends not on what is said, nor what is produced, but on who you are and depends on ethical conduct, seamless customer relations, and constant contact and cooperation with all stakeholders. Garfield and Levy offer advice on what not to do: don't bother with window dressing, don't pay lip service to corporate social responsibility, don't be like "that venal car dealer securing your trust only to immediately abuse it," and don't be a scoundrel (e.g., by hurting the environment). Using case studies, the authors analyze how businesses can transition from the consumer era of mass marketing to the relationship era using social media as the primary vehicle for promotion. VERDICT An evocative read for students and teachers of business. It should generate much discussion in university classes. Highly recommended.—Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591845775
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
  • Publication date: 3/7/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 454,176
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

BOB GARFIELD is the cohost of NPR’s On The Media and a columnist for MediaPost. Previously at Advertising Age, he has been a prominent commen­tator on and analyst of advertising and marketing for thirty years. His previous books include The Chaos Scenario. He lives outside Washington, D.C.
 
DOUG LEVY is the founder and CEO of MEplusYOU, a leading strategic and creative agency that believes authentic relationships fuel astonishing brands. This is his first book. He lives in Dallas.
 
Join the conversation at cantbuymelike.com

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