Reconnecting with Customers – Building Brands and Profits in the Relationship Age

Professor Tevfik Dalgic (Utrecht Business School, University of Professional Studies‐HvU, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 1 July 2000




Dalgic, T. (2000), "Reconnecting with Customers – Building Brands and Profits in the Relationship Age", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 358-372.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This is a typical business communications book aimed at media, advertising and marketing businesses and their decision‐makers with an easy reading style in short sentences, statements and how‐to‐do‐it suggestions.

The whole book is built around the relationship management concept with an objective of “regaining” the customers in mind for brand managers. It consists of eight chapters with interesting titles, like: Forces of Change, The Relationship Age, Reconnecting with Customers, Relevance: The Core of your Connection, Gauging your Results, The Eight New Rules Governing Customer Relationships, The New Science: Relationship Technologies, and The “Killer App”.

Jack Myers writes easily in an understandable language without using too much professional jargon. Many of his conclusions and claims and much of his advice are not substantiated with his own research but are based on observations and general feelings or experiences of others. Although to make big statements and give bold advice is a norm in popular business literature, this does not make his claims always true or acceptable as if substantiated with a sound research. But generally his statements are acceptable in nature and make sense for practititoners.

In the introduction of his book Jack Myers points out the significant advancements in technology and uses John Sculley’s label “isoquantic” for the changes taking place in the business and technology world, calling for a re‐orientation of our concepts on how business is conducted. One of his important conclusions is that companies that had been intolerant of failure must adjust to a sports or entertainment industry mentality by accepting faliure as a reality, and he calls for rewarding the succesful people with “excellent instincts”!But he does not provide an answer for how to get an “excellent instinct”.

In his first chapter Myers repeats some known facts about the forces of change with new titles like: Change is Noncyclical, Change is Nonlinear and Change is Volcanic. Although he gives several examples from several sectors, his main examples and cases are drawn from the media world. He claims that changes in the business environment as well as personal and business dealings have led both business people and customers to be short‐sighted. Their focus and efforts are targeted toward what works for them today, with little concern for the impact of their actions on the future and the quality of their relationships in the future. He further observes: “This short‐term focus has also led to a disconnection from customers, as end customers have been progressively moved further from companies’ strategic focus.” He re‐labels and criticizes the transaction‐based marketing practices and blames the customers making their decisions based on price alone. He then reaches a conclusion; “This invariably resulted in lowered profits, declining stock market value and corporate cost cutting”.

Later he presents his own formula for successful relationships – Three R’s: Reconnecting, Relevance and Results. They are the keys for knowlede and success. And of course: “Success will come to those who forge long‐term relationships.” However, relationships will be most effectively built and managed by those executives who:

  • Understand and manage Change.

  • Reconnect with their own core strengths and the primary needs of their customers, and identify the most compatible partners.

  • Build marketing and advertising communications programs that are Relevant to partners and customers.

  • Confirm that these programs generate Results and are consistent with the business needs and objectives of all partcipants.

He cites several cases from the business world which reflect examples of success or failure and may be used as a guiding principle by similar organizations.

His main message is “understanding the relevance of your business to the customers you serve”. When this relevance is gone, companies may lose their market share. This concept of relevance is in a way that customers’ interests, customers’ problems or customers’ needs need to be satisfied, as we preach in marketing classes. In a way Myers is warning companies not to lose their sight about their customers, changes in the behavior of customers and consequently their relevance to their customers. All this makes great sense.

The last part of the book contains practical advise to the business people in communications, media and advertising. These bits of practical advice are grouped under the category of Relationship Technologies and are as follows:

  1. 1.

    (1) Determine whether your business will compete in the commodity market, the value‐based pricing market, or both.

  2. 2.

    (2) Commit to building value‐based relationships.

  3. 3.

    (3) Price towards free.

  4. 4.

    (4) Be center‐led.

  5. 5.

    (5) Be customer‐led.

  6. 6.

    (6) Seize the unknown.

  7. 7.

    (7) Manage your company as an “Enterprise” not as a “Business”.

  8. 8.

    (8) Be interactive.

  9. 9.

    (9) Create a “Knowledge Resources Consultancy” for your best clients.

  10. 10.

    (10) Recognize and embrace market‐driven innovation.

  11. 11.

    (11) Invest in and maintain a relationship “Service & Repair” Center.

  12. 12.

    (12) Create an “Entrepreneurial Review Board”.

This is not an academic book for researchers but a practical business book and a good example of one. Overall, it is a well written, well thought out and well presented practical book of advise for those who can picture future events. I recommend this small and clever book for managers in communications, media and advertising businesses.

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