Why relationship is the new currency for marketing

Popular global CMO, Ted Rubin, outlines the 'return on relationship' marketers need to achieve in the the age of social media and digital interaction during ADMA Global Forum

Relationship is the new currency for marketers looking to build success in an age where consumers control the brand, according to one of the world’s most followed CMOs, Ted Rubin.

Speaking at the recent Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) Global Forum in Sydney, the chief social marketing officer at Collective Bias said marketers today must “stop being lazy” and relying on annual marketing cycles, and instead build dynamic, ongoing relationships with consumers based on authenticity and trust.

“Relationships have always been at the heart of our business, but what’s different today is that you can scale these relationships from your bedroom thanks to social media platforms and digital communication,” Rubin told the audience.

One big mistake marketers make is to view social media followers as an audience. For Rubin, every follower is an asset that needs to be nurtured, and a relationship that must continually evolve.

Video: ADMA Global Forum 2013 round-up

“As marketers, we are used to broadcasting and speaking in one direction, and we have a real fear of communication,” he said. In addition, marketers continue to do what they did last year, rather than embrace new ways of connection and experiment, he claimed. “If you don’t change your framework, the future will be very difficult. We have to do things very differently. We don’t control our brands anymore; consumers do.”

Rubin advocated reaching out to people on social channels one by one, and calling them by name.

“Communicate with those that want to communicate with you individually and allow them to share that communication,” he explained. “I engage with those that want to engage with me and let the rest participate vicariously. I want the listeners - they are the people hearing what I want to say.

“Most people on social platforms are not participating. Twitter is actually the third-largest search engine in the world behind YouTube and Google, because people are going there for information. I want those people to pay attention.

“What we have to realise is the social platforms are facilitators of our relationships, not the relationship itself.”

For Rubin, social media drives engagement, engagement drives loyalty and loyalty drives incremental sales. He coined this approach ‘return on relationship’ (ROR).

To build relationships, the first and most important step is trust, Rubin said. This wasn’t achievable before the introduction of social platforms that gave us the ability to reach more people immediately, he claimed.

“If you focus on interaction, consistency, being true to your word, authenticity and being genuine, it will pay off,” he said. “You have to figure out a way to tap into those moments in time where we can connect with consumers.”

Rubin also advised marketers to focus on reputation, not ranking. “A brand is about what you do, reputation is what you remember,” he said.

“Think connection, not network. A network is a series of nodes – you’re down at one end, connected to one person but not connected to the people on top. You want to build communities for your companies.”

Rubin’s steps towards building better marketing relationships

  • Start by listening. Read what people are writing, look at the people who like your Facebook page and go to their pages to find out more. CEOs and CMOs also need to get on platforms and experience them. “You have to understand them for this to work,” Rubin said.

  • Make it about them. You have to learn who they are and know the people in your audience. “Don’t assume you know all about the passions of your consumers,” he added.

  • Ask ‘how can I serve you?' For Rubin, it’s about tapping into the traditional ‘small establishment mindset’ where you get to know people one by one. “Relationships are like muscle tissue; the more you engage them, the stronger and more valuable they become,” he claimed.

  • Aim for ongoing engagement; don’t just focus on who ‘likes’ you then walk away. “Starting a conversation on social and then just walking away when someone else comes along is like hanging up in the middle of the phone conversation,” he said.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Tyron Hayes

​The current global COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in unprecedented disruption to every aspect of our lives as marketing and brand professionals, from the ways we work, to how our organisations operate, and the way in which we acquire and engage customers. So we’ve drawn on our wonderful CMO50 alumni community to explore different aspects of the crisis facing all of us right now.

More Videos

Why these voice assistants are so popular nowadays? Maybe I should get one too? I am really curious.

Jill Kim

Aussie brands jump on voice-interaction bandwagon following Amazon Alexa's local launch

Read more

Your page is very helpful. Thank you for sharing with us

Eriona Ajvazi

10 brands making a positive difference to a world in crisis

Read more

Extremely insightful and well written. Thanks for the great article!

Nicole Brodie Nahum

Why COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to move at the speed of the consumer

Read more

Blockchain is one of the fastest growing technology in today's digital era. Industries like banking and finance are already using blockch...

Aniket Singh

Can blockchain deliver on its big advertising promises?

Read more

Great article Emma. So many gems in there. Awesome to have you in the team!

One Small Step Collective

Why COVID-19 makes it more important than ever to move at the speed of the consumer

Read more

Blog Posts

The gear change required for business during COVID-19

The current world pandemic, COVID-19, and its tragic effects has created different and challenging situations for nearly every business. Every business sector is affected differently, depending on the nature of what your place in the world, creating the most unique situation most of us have ever and will ever experience during our professional lives.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

How can organisations debias their decisions?

​People whose personal details and experiences signal they come from racially diverse backgrounds are less likely than anglo or Caucasian candidates to make it through the first cut in recruitment processes. Even if the organisation says it values diversity.

Dr Karen Morley

Author, commentator

Is your marketing team adapting quickly enough to the COVID-19 crisis?

The impact of coronavirus is far reaching with the true impact on the economy and businesses is unknown. While there are a few categories and brands experiencing growth, for the most part the crisis is wreaking havoc for large and small operators across many sectors including entertainment, tourism, retail, fitness, services and the list goes on.

Teresa Sperti

Founder, Arktic Fox

Sign in