Relation Ship Marketing Excellence


By
Siva Prakash C S
S2 MBA
Institute of Management in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
E-mail:
cs_renju@yahoo.com
 


The next stage of marketing excellence is the stage that follows distribution excellence and dialogue excellence, will be in the field of relationship excellence. The relationship marketing will be one of the key success factors in the next couple of decades. We have already begun to move from mass marketing to mass customization (e.g. customized jeans from Levi Strauss) in many sectors and industries. This individualized marketing is one of the unique aspects of relationship marketing. John Nesbitt labelled the 1990s as "the age of the individual." This age has just begun and we are even seeing new "mass marketing" media such as the Internet and cable television requires the application of individualized marketing techniques. Freedom of choice is becoming the way of the world as customers find opportunities to buy products and services from beyond their normal geographic or product scopes. These decisions are going to be based as much on the perceived relationships the customers have with the supplying organizations as on product characteristics, brand personalities, price, and delivery convenience. Think about it if we are entering a world of parity products, parity branding, parity pricing, and parity distribution, what factors are left for customers to use in deciding which products and services to purchase? The answer comes down to two highly interlinked factors: the relationship between the customer and the providing organization, and the perceived corporate image of the organization. The credit card industry is one that is quickly moving from dialogue excellence to relationship excellence. Let's look at how this industry has evolved through the various stages of marketing excellence. The Gold MasterCard, created by MasterCard International in 1981, was the first bankcard created especially for a higher income market segment. The product allowed customers to tell their banks that they desired a credit card with a higher credit line or one with enhanced services over the bank's standard level card. Hence, product-positioning excellence was combined with service excellence.

This product segmentation approach was taken a step further with the introduction of co-branded and affinity card programs, such as the General Motors MasterCard, the Shell MasterCard, the American Airlines Advantage MasterCard, and the Hong-Kong Bank Care for Nature MasterCard programs. By choosing affinity or co-branded credit card programs, consumers identify and align themselves with programs and organizations they desire to support. These programs are conceived and created through dialogue excellence skills that helped to identify and quantify the types of co-branded and affinity relationships that would be most meaningful to cardholders (and thus would result in the highest number of credit cards issued).

A significant stride into the sphere of relationship excellence will be taken by the card payments industry when the reloadable chip card becomes an ordinary method of payment for millions of cardholders. By using integrated circuit technology to replace the magnetic stripe found on the back of today's plastic cards, the industry will not only greatly reduce fraudulent and counterfeiting abuses of credit cards, it will also have a system in place in which to delve deeper into relationship marketing. The reloadable feature of a MasterCard chip card, for instance, will enable the bank issuing the card to design reward programs tailored to individual usage and buying behaviors. Banks will also be able to put debit, credit and pre-paid functions onto a single card. This will provide cardholder with a wider range of payment options, deepening the product relationship between the cardholder and the issuing bank and encouraging repeat business by the cardholder. When MasterCard and the other players in the cards payments industry finishing building the infrastructure required for mass use of reloadable chip cards, the credit card industry will have truly entered Nesbitt's age of the individual with mass customization of personalized card payments products. Moving from mass marketing to mass customization is one way of Moving to relationship marketing excellence.
 


Siva Prakash C S
S2 MBA
Institute of Management in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram
E-mail:
cs_renju@yahoo.com
 

Source : E-mail May 6, 2005

 
 

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