Wednesday, 10 October 2018

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Endurance or Survival?

Fresh from another session of consolation for my friend who is currently fighting for her life in her marriage, I began to ponder on the roles played by the victims themselves in encouraging violence in such marriages. I try always not to be a “modaru” (intruder) in anyone’s marriage whenever such conflicts are being discussed, but then, the truth should be told.

I don’t know about you, but I think one of the reasons why some women continue to suffer domestic abuse is because they cover up for their husbands. Many were taught to protect their marriage, especially by “marriage counselors” who plant this stereotyped brand of matrimonial secrecy in them. They’ve been warned that the only way a marriage could work is when you avoid third parties and you settle all conflict internally. That’s very good, but... Ok.

I’m not against privacy in marriage, in fact, I don’t joke with my privacy and you dare not invade it. But my point is; there’s a limit to such secrecy. What are you really bothered about when you cover up for a man who bashes you at every little provocation? Most times the answer is “what people will say”. We all have a couple of those bad-mouthed family or friends who will jeer at us when we fail, but isn’t it better to get mocked while you’re alive than getting blamed for your own death after you’re gone?

Besides, no matter how well you try to be upright, people will still talk about you anyway, so why not just do what is best for your life and move on? Speak out! Seek help and stop hiding behind those stupid, fake loved-up pictures you post on social media. Who are you fooling? You keep hoping and praying he will change. When exactly? After you’re dead? It’s even worse when they blame the devil! Smh!

I know a lot of men endure victimization in some ways too. You protect your wife creating the impression that she’s a diva, she’s your queen. You don’t want the wifey-inlaw drama so you make everyone believe you’re married to the best woman in the world. Nobody knows she’s a monster back home until she pushes you to the wall, when you reach your boiling point, you hit her…

Guess what... There’s no better way to announce yourself to the world as the biggest monster than to beat up the “best woman in the world”. So your years of keeping the secrets of her behaviours and enduring them have won you nothing but stigma... That’s if she’s not courageous enough to stab you in your sleep.

So people, why don’t you think beyond those counsels that teach you how to endure but never teach you how to survive? They promise you how bright the future is if you endure but never reminding you how dark the graveyard is in case you die. Think about it, only the living can hope and endure.

To all the real men out there who have stayed strong and mature, never beaten their wives or any woman for that matter, I salute you including my humble self and I pray “may you walk and never stumble”.

To my enduring lady friend, hmmm… I pray God heals your recent wounds, clean your old scars and above all, I pray you survive. You will survive!

Monday, 26 March 2018

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP Part 4: Basic Steps to Building Relationships in Marketing.

This is perhaps the most instructive of the series and hopefully the last one. Having treated the concepts of relationship marketing as a practice, its benefits to firms and its benefits to customers, it is important to discuss how it can be practiced in order to relish its many benefits. This will particularly be very useful to entrepreneurs and small scale businesses.
Almost all companies can make a start with relationship marketing by identifying the ‘key customers’. But the one thing that must be remembered is that most customers want a single interface with the company; they don’t like to deal with several departments to put together all that they want from the company. So the relationship manager or the account manager, whatever the designation, should have access to enough resources and backup to resolve any problem the client needs tackled. The account manager also needs to be tuned into the client’s organization.
A number of companies are today trying to create structures that allow proper relationship building with their valued clients. The account manager or the relationship manager is one of the keys to relationship marketing. He acts as much as an internal consultant to the customer as the representative of the company he is employed with. The account manager is the main contact point for the customer with the supplying organization and he makes sure that the customer’s needs are taken care of in the most efficient manner possible.
Relationship marketing may be regarded a process which requires basic steps to carrying it out and it would benefit account managers or relationship managers if they consider using the following recommended steps:
- Creating a database
- Gathering more information about enlisted persons
- Identifying key customers
- Creating customer profile
- Getting closer to the customer
- Maintaining relations

In relationship marketing, firms are required to gather intimate information about the customer and then use that knowledge to sharpen the marketing focus. The database, therefore, is at the heart of this new marketing methodology. Many firms acquire the data from database companies like Datamatics or card issuers like American Express, for a fee per name depending on the list quality.
For example, a popular magazine called Reader’s Digest uses its primary source to generate the database. It asks its subscribers to suggest names of 14 people who they think will want to subscribe to the magazine. In return the subscriber gets a small gift, usually a book. On an average, the magazine gets a million names every year to make a pitch for fresh subscription.
Most companies use a combination of commercially available and self-generated database because generally, no single database can cover the full range of customer profile. Established firms can also use their own sales records, bills, invoices and warranty cards to prepare a list of the existing customers.
Firms may try to gather more information about the individuals listed in their computer records through direct mail or cross-references. Refining and updating the database may be necessary if it doesn’t have the requisite segmentation parameter built into it. When the Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) collected the database for its brand Classic cigarettes, the much-needed information on whether the person was a smoker and whether he preferred Classic was not available.
So the firm had to actually conduct a search through telephoning the prospect’s office or club. Once it was established that the person smoked they sent hostesses to his office and offered him a handsome leather case with a box of classics as a gift. In the course of the conversation the hostess would find out the complete smoking pattern of the person. ITC finally ended up with a database of 15,000 executives in Delhi and Bombay.
Relationship marketing takes off only after identification of the key customers by the firm. The revenue pattern of most firms follows the 80/20 rule, i.e., 20 percent customers brings in 80 percent revenue. Modi Xerox, a leading practitioner of relationship marketing, gets more than 30 percent of its business from just 900 corporate clients. In case of HCL-HP, 750 clients cover about 80 percent of its business. The firm may segment these key customers into certain distinct groups to identify distinct purchase patterns. DHL, for example, segments its key customers into three groups: Banks, MNCs and large corporations, and Exporters. Obviously these customers have different needs and they are to be treated differently.
The more you know about the customer, the easier it is for you to build a relationship with him. In case of institutional clients, personal particulars of the decision maker, such as birthday, marital status, anniversaries, children and special interests are very important for the firm. Customers actually appreciate knowing that you are concerned about who they are and are also aware of their needs and interests. Like any other professionals they admire any effort that results in more benefits to them.
Getting a detailed profile of the customer is essential for service organizations such as banks, travel agencies, hotels, airlines and courier firms, because personal factors count the most in a service business. Specific needs can be fulfilled and likes and dislikes taken care of only if the company has a complete profile of the client.
Department store magnate J C. Penney once said, ‘All great business is built on friendship ‘(Fraber and Wycoff 1993). The process of getting to know your customer and letting him get to know you may mark the beginning of a relationship that may turn into a sort of friendship in due course of time. You can’t get closer to your customer if you don’t know what he or she is all about, what problems he/she is facing and how can you help him/her. Getting into some account research and gathering useful information about the needs, purchase pattern and problems of the customer, often proves fruitful to firms.
Many firms have now evolved formalized methods of listening to the customer. They invite two or three people who can give the kind of information the firm is looking for. Such meetings usually take place in a relaxed and informal environment. If a customer meeting is viewed by the firm as an opportunity to learn what it takes to improve performance, strong bonds of relationship and understanding may be created with the customer
The in-house customer meetings provide a powerful forum for finding out how your customer feels about your company, its products, services and support.
Maintaining relationships is more difficult than cultivating relations. Sending a ‘Thank you’ card after a meeting or a sale provides a little extra as a token of appreciation for the customer’s business. Wayne Block, President of Block Business Systems, sold a new piece of business equipment to a firm. He immediately delivered to the chief executive a cake with the company’s logo on it.
Subsequently this token gift became so famous that if the company people were late for some reason, customers would call back and ask for the cake.
Even in India, if you ever buy a pair of spectacles from Lawrence and Mayo, be it a simple reading glass or one of the Ray-Ban types, be assured that you will receive a birthday card for the rest of your life. A thought that keeps the brand alive in your mind and carefully, albeit in an understated manner, builds the relationship value intrinsically.

You may read up the previous posts in this series in order to learn more on the concepts of relationship marketing.

Reference: National Institute of Business Management – Marketing Management – Module II

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP Part 3: Benefits of Relationship Marketing to Customers

The first part of this series has analyzed the concept of Relationship Marketing while the second part titled CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP Part 2: Benefits of Relationship Marketing to Firms outlined its benefits to organizations that practice it. Here, I present another sequel and third part of a theme we started couple of months back, which highlights what customers stand to gain when organizations engage in relationship marketing.
Customers many times don’t give deliberate attention to brand loyalty; they just want the best, most affordable or most convenient product or service. But most times they subconsciously find themselves stuck on a product, usually as a result of the relationship marketing tactics deployed by the manufacturer. So, in the long run, the customers enjoy the services being rendered to them and also benefit through relationship marketing because they get a better product, a good backup service and the company is always prepared to listen to their grievances. Such major customer benefits may be summarized as follows:
- Superior value through better products and services
- Attention to customer complaints
- Customization of products and services

All such firms that have taken the relationship route have invested substantially in improving the quality of products and create systems to provide the requisite backup service. Because to retain a customer it is necessary to keep him/her satisfied.
When Philips NV, the Netherlands-based electronic giant, developed an online product for children that would soon be launched in Europe, they sent industrial designers, cognitive psychologists and sociologists in mobile vans to communities in Italy, France and the Netherlands to help brainstorm for ideas for new electronic products to meet customers’ changing needs. They hosted a dialogue in which specialists ‘and customers interactively imagined new possibilities. Philips looked at all the ideas, narrowed them down and settled on one online interactive product for children. The researchers then went back to the communities and tested the new product idea on the same children.
Another example relates to how Unilever group gave us an insight into how firms are trying to solve their customers’ product application related problems in India. Kitchens of institutions like hotels, hostels, airports and factory canteens work almost continually without enough time available for cleaning. Kitchen grills usually have extremely greasy deposit formations on them, which are tough to clean.
Traditionally, using chlorine has been the preferred method for cleaning them. Besides the fact that chlorine is a hazardous chemical, the process itself is arduous because the grill needs to be dismantled, cleaned and left out to dry overnight. So there is need for a backup grill while one is being cleaned.
Lever Industrial already had its Taski and Clax range of cleaning products for such applications, but when confronted with the problem of cleaning kitchen grills, Lever Industrial found that these products were not fully effective. The company therefore asked its R&D division to develop a new product for this specific application. Within a few months they came out with Suma grill-cleaning liquid. It is non-hazardous in nature and removes deposits without any need for dismantling the grill.
To win and retain customer loyalties, it is essential to hear the complaints and solve their grievances effectively. Philips Electronics started a 24-hour complaint registration service for customers. Some of their service centres offers free check-up of sets to be repaired. Hero Honda and LML Vespa have also substantially beefed up their service centres to offer personalized attention and satisfactory solution to product-related problems. Service organizations such as Apollo Hospitals, Citibank, ANZ Grindlays Bank, Hyat Regency Hotel, HDFC, Federal Express Service and Singapore Airlines are getting specially attuned to listening to customer problems. At times, they even go out of their way to solve customer problems.
Customization means offering a product or service tailor-made to suit the convenience of each individual customer. In the Air India frequent flier scheme (discussed in part 2), for instance, there is a customized chain at work. The database records the customer’s flight and travel preferences and other likes and dislikes. This is updated each time the customer takes a flight. So the system allots the person a favourite seat, his preferred meal and on arrival at destination a room in the hotel where the newspaper he prefers is delivered to him. All of these go into building closer bonds with the customer.
Levi Strauss, the California-based apparel company began marketing a ‘made to order’ service for customizing women’s jeans in selected US locations. Sales clerks measure customers and feed the data into a computer-aided design information system. The customer tries on sample jeans in the store, to perfect the fit. This additional data is also fed into the system. The system forwards the information to a computerized fabric-cutting machine at the factory and the jeans are made to order. The custom jeans cost only US$10 more than the mass-produced jeans.
In India, Mafatlal sells fabrics as well as branded readymade garments. A research conducted by MARG showed that while most executives buy readymade shirts, only a few preferred to buy readymade trousers because unlike shirts, trousers don’t offer as good a fit as tailored ones. In its quest to get closer to the customer, Mafatlal decided to create a product that offers the purchase convenience of readymade trouser with the fit of a tailored garment. Thus was born the ‘Dial-a-trouser’ service targeted at busy executives. The service was first introduced in Bombay and is now extended to Bangalore and Delhi. The customer may call the company’s showroom to send the tailor to his home or office. The tailor goes there with the shade card and samples of fabrics. The fabric and colour are selected, measurements taken and the trousers are delivered within five days of the order.
One common attribute of the three customer benefits enumerated above is that, they all solve some major consumption related problems, like quality, purchase process, ease of use, product suitability and so on. At the end of the day, all efforts made by firms to retain their customers, as much as it benefits the company’s turnover also end up to the benefit of the customers. So, next time you want to choose a brand, you may want to consider what more is in it for you besides consumption. Adam Smith, a famous economist in his book “Wealth of Nations” in the year 1775 says “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer”.

Reference: National Institute of Business Management – Marketing Management – Module II

Thursday, 18 January 2018

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP Part 2: Benefits of Relationship Marketing to Firms

We started this topic about two month ago when I posted CUSTOMERRELATIONSHIP Part 1: The Concept of Relationship Marketing. In that post, we analyzed Relationship Marketing as it is being practiced by various organizations around the world, while we also tried to introduce the concept to those who may not have been familiar with it before now. Here, we have the second part of the series where we are able to begin examining the benefits of Relationship Marketing.
Relationship marketing yields several benefits to the firms that practice it, as also to the targeted customers, but we will examine both of these groups separately starting now with the firms. It is advisable for firms not to expect the full benefits of Relationship marketing immediately; rather it is a practice you imbibe in your organizational culture such that the benefits begin to come to fruition in the long run. These benefits which we will discuss are summarized into four, namely:
  • Repeat business
  • Enhanced brand loyalty
  • Increased long-term profitability
  • Brand building
There are several excellent examples of firms using relationship-marketing programmes to gain the repeat business. The Air Taxi Operators (now given the status of an airline) started in India in 1992. Other private airlines like Damania Airways, Jet Airways and Modiluft were also for the first time allowed to compete with the Indian state Airlines. The target segment chosen by these ATOs (Air Taxi Operators) for example was the business and upper class traveller. Their in-flight service was tailored to attract this segment. So, in order to counter the threat to its business, Indian Airlines went in for a new promotional scheme termed as frequent-flier scheme. The scheme was to focus through direct marketing on the class of buyers who were defecting to private airlines. Both Air India and Indian Airlines had a database of regular fliers. They also used secondary sources like Diners Club to start a marketing campaign targeting about 15,000 such prospects all over the country.
The campaign was that as fliers start accumulating points either on IA (Indian Airlines) or AI (Air India) or both, they become eligible for free trips. The threshold was 3 000 points after which free trips could be claimed. There was an entry fee of 1,000Rupees (NGN5,500; U$D15) to join the programme. This was necessary to avoid people who don’t travel by air all that often. The time limit for accumulating the required number of points was three years. From about 1,000 members initially, the membership increased to 20,000 by April 1995.
The move was initiated as a promotional tactic to save the fledgling market share of the airline, but inadvertently this also marked the beginning of a new era of relationship marketing for the airline. The scheme continues to expand till date because the members themselves suggest the names of friends and colleagues who could be involved in the programme.
In case of business-to-business marketing, where firms scramble for new recipes to retain existing customers, relationship marketing can help in reducing the number of lost customers by enhancing customer satisfaction.
The marketing function in any organization is expected to perform the job of turning an unaware person into a satisfied user through the following successive steps.

Aware but not knowledgeable
 Occasional user
Satisfied regular user

Relationship marketing goes one step beyond this and converts satisfied users into life-time customers by sustaining their interest in the product and satisfying their needs more effectively. Little wonder that DHL Worldwide gets its 90 percent business from relationship marketing alone.

Marketing programmes of firms are often aimed at identifying prospects and turning them into customers. In order to expand business and achieve growth, firms are required to perpetually design and launch new marketing programmes. This involves a huge cost. However, if a firm is able to retain a certain percentage of customers, the efforts as well as cost of marketing can be reduced substantially.
Relationship marketing takes over from where conventional marketing leaves a customer. Maintaining direct contact with the customer and taking care of his problems to deliver satisfaction may turn an occasional customer into a regular client, and a client to a strong admirer of the firm. Finally it may turn an admirer into an advocate and opinion leader giving positive word-of-mouth to the firm and its products. A positive word-of-mouth from a satisfied customer often works better than the best advertisement, especially in case of high-involvement products and services.

Firms may increase their long-term profitability by extending the concept of relationship marketing to their suppliers, channel members and influence groups. Vendor relationship may help in reducing the number of suppliers and in bringing down the level of inventories. It may save the firm in terms of inventory and warehousing costs as also transportation and material handling costs. The cost of placing orders and paperwork may also get reduced substantially. This is why firms like Xerox, Motorola, General Electric and Ford are reducing their supplier bases and looking for a few select vendors to help them achieve a stronger competitive position.
Research studies in the USA indicate that apart from being able to harness the strengths and skills of suppliers to their advantage, manufacturers in long-term relationships with them may also benefit from improved quality, process performance and continuous cost reductions
Long-term relationship with channel members may ensure better channel support, higher volumes of business and reduced cost of marketing. Strong channel support may also act as hedging against competitors’ marketing efforts. Long-term relationships with various stakeholders and interest groups such as financing institutes, public representatives, trade unions, press or media people, consumer protection groups and environmental groups may help in improving the public image of the firm. This may indirectly contribute to higher volumes of business, improved productivity and profitability of the firm.

In a competitive environment relationship marketing may be used as an effective tool for brand building. Till the early 1990s, cement was largely regarded as a commodity. Availability and price dictated the purchase decision more often than any other factor. Several players had an equally good quality image and few customers insisted on buying only from a particular company. The customer base for cement is also not homogeneous. There are different categories of cement-buyers in the market—the mason, civil engineer, contractor and institutional or large-scale buyers. In mid-1993, Indian Rayon, makers of Birla brand cement, decided to upgrade certain dealers to become “Birla supershoppes” because the company wanted to change the way it interacted with the customer. The ‘supershoppes’ were to become a hub of relationship with the customer.
The company wanted to guide and educate buyers for using a specific product for specific application. Based on the type of construction, the aim was to recommend the right type of cement to the customer. Each ‘shoppe’ thus employed a civil engineer and a task force to assist him. If necessary, the team visits the sites to demonstrate or to solve the construction-related problems. Advice is also given on the size of the beam to be used or the kind of steel reinforcement needed in the column.
To consolidate the relationship further, each ‘shoppe’ organizes a regular customer meet, where the actual users are invited and given technical advice and practical solutions. Results of this relationship approach have been spectacular. Each ‘shoppe’ is doing on an average; double the business a normal dealer does anywhere. As at 1995, Indian Rayon had 50 shoppes and 20 more were to be set up by the end of 1996.
Multinational brands such as Reebok, Seagram, Citibank, DHL Worldwide Express, and Indian firms such as Mafatlal, Ceat tyres, Lakme are now taking the relationship route to strengthen their brand equities

Reference: National Institute of Business Management – Marketing Management – Module II

Saturday, 30 December 2017


The reason many people can’t seem to find peace is because they’ve mistaken the cross they should carry as a problem they should solve.
Some of our worries are problems which require solutions, while some are crosses which we must carry and follow our maker. But right now, many of us are still running around looking for solutions to perceived problems when actually, all we require is wisdom and strength to carry the cross.
As we round up and enter a new year, I want to encourage everyone to start making efforts at identifying what issues of his/her life require seeking solutions and which ones require handling with courage in 2018. Even when the problems are well identified, we shouldn’t complicate things and seek solutions in the wrong places.
We have equal rights to God, so let no “spiritualist” feed on your gullibility. Some of them give you visions and prophesies, you dedicate your resources to the recommended solutions, then they blame you for lack of faith when their ideas don’t come to pass, and then you start cursing your luck, especially when you see others receiving miracles and victories for similar challenges!
Perhaps, for that man/woman who got his miracle, it was a problem, while for you it is a cross. Perhaps it is even also a problem for you, but the appointed time for solution had not come or your own solution is not “spirituality” but common sense strategies. Think deep for the New Year, identify your solutions, find yourself some peace of mind and let new ideas be birthed in you.
Accepting to carry your cross is not the same as accepting defeat; neither should we give up without a fight. However, God has not promised us life without troubles and we should remember his thoughts for us are of peace and not of evil to give us an ‘expected’ end (Jeremiah 29: 11).
Many of us pray for “light at the end of the tunnel”, just like in the case of Joseph, Job, Sarah, Hannah in the bible. We covet fulfillment of great promises like in Abraham, David, Solomon, etc. But we hardly feel sorry for Judas Iscariot for having such a destiny of betraying our savior Jesus Christ. We should sometimes wonder too why Moses never saw the Promised Land? “His enemies prevailed on him”?
If Judas had the chance to change his destiny, I’m sure he would choose to be remembered as a saint. He dined with Jesus, had access to salvation, but Jesus Christ did not save him from such a shameful ending. Did you say it was written? Yes it was, just as some of our challenges in life were written too and we must seek the courage to handle them.
It is either we manage our challenges or we let them define our existence and how we end our lives. Bad times don’t last forever, even if they do, there will always be some few times when every human will find mercy in midst of storms. Let those periodic victories ignite sincere gratitude and praise to the almighty. Find yourself some peace in the word of God in John 16: 33 “…In the world ye shall have tribulations; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.
Have a fruitful 2018. Amani juu yenu!
@Tywo Akintoye

Thursday, 23 November 2017

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP Part 1: The Concept of Relationship Marketing

Customer Relationship is a common practice around the world, but we will try to discuss the concept of “Relationship Marketing” though similar, but not as popularly used. In this piece, you will come across some case studies of companies which cut across countries like India, Japan, France and USA. As I did during my MBA in Marketing Management, perhaps more people can, from this post, learn how to market their products through relationship building.
The term ‘relationship marketing’ entered the business lexicon during the 1980s. The concept is relatively new and still in the process of evolution Though the idea of building a relationship with customers is not entirely new, the way it is being extended to cover other relationships (with the suppliers, middlemen and influence groups) as also researched extensively, especially in the West, it is poised to revolutionize the overall pattern of marketing just as the theory of marketing concept did in the 1960s.
The idea is not new because the neighborhood grocery-store owner has always known the value of this approach. Likewise, all industrial-marketing firms know the 80/20 rule - 20 per cent of customers accounting for 80 per cent of revenue - and they try to keep these 20 per cent customers happy so as to retain them longer. Perhaps only the big companies practicing mass-marketing methods for decades have forgotten such basics.

An early definition by Berry (1983) says, ‘Relationship marketing is the attraction, maintaining and enhancing of customer relationships.’ Attracting new customers is merely the first step in the process of relationship marketing According to Payne (1995), relationship marketing has three contemporary perspectives
1.) The way companies look at their customers is changing. The emphasis is moving from a transaction-based marketing to a relationship-centred marketing, meaning that companies are now striving harder to retain their customers for long.
2.) A broader view is emerging of the internal and external markets with which the company interacts. In addition to their relationships with customers, firms are also getting concerned about the development and enhancement of more enduring relationships with other external markets such as suppliers, middlemen, stakeholders and influence groups. The internal marketing focus emphasizes that every employee and every department in the organization is both an internal customer and a supplier. The optimal operation of the organization is ensured when every individual and department provide and receive excellent service.
3.) The relationship-marketing orientation focuses on bringing the three elements, namely quality, customer service and marketing activities, together so that the synergetic impact is felt by the customer.
Till recently most business firms in India had been concentrating only on individual transactions, hence the short-durational interaction ended with the ringing of the cash register announcing the close of a sale. The leather shoe market in India had been dominated by Bata India Limited for decades. But Bata failed to exploit its strength of contact with millions of customers. The company had not even made a provision for evaluating customer feedback from its own retail outlets. It is not that Bata was not aware of the basic principles of marketing, but neither the management nor the marketing people ever thought of building a relationship with customers. The result is obvious; Bata lost its number one position to new entrants in the market.
Bata is not the only example of missed opportunities. In the late 1980s, Eureka Forbes pioneered the concept of direct marketing in consumer durables in the country. With the help of its highly trained and motivated salesmen, the company was soon in a position to contact millions of households and turn many of them into buyers of vacuum cleaners. However, despite its apparent success, the company missed an opportunity to leverage its database and its personalized relation with customers to multiply its business through similar products and services. Even for its existing products, the company could have profiled at least the usage pattern in different places and then motivated buyers to use the product more frequently. This could have generated some additional business, at least for the accessories and spares.
In transactional marketing, customer service and commitment to quality are often ignored, whereas in relationship marketing, the focus is on retaining the customer and getting the repeat business. Hence, the quality of products, service and direct contact with customers receive a high priority. Retaining the customer is considered to be the responsibility of the entire organization and not of the marketing department alone. A sales deal is viewed as a beginning rather than an end of a company’s interaction with the customer.
The scope of building relationships is not restricted to only customers. In a competitive market it is equally important to establish enduring relationships with the vendors, intermediaries and influence groups. The relationship between an organization and its suppliers has undergone dramatic changes during the last 10 years or so mainly due to the influence of Japanese management practices. At AT&T they call it ‘Vendorship partnership’ and at Philips in Europe they term it as ‘Co-makership’. Whatever the term, the aim is to promote close cooperation between the firm and its suppliers from a very early stage and mutual concentration on quality, customer service and long-term relationships.
In the automobile industry, it is now largely believed that establishing long-term relationships with vendors can lead to substantial reduction in inventory holding and control costs. Toyota has persuaded all its suppliers to set up exclusive warehousing facilities close to its production plants. Instead of buying from a large number of indifferent suppliers, firms now prefer to buy from a few committed and quality-conscious vendors who have the capacity to supply the desired quality and quantity at short notice. Firms are also helping vendors in upgradation of technologies and quality. In Japan, it is not uncommon for firms to go in for equity participation in a couple of ancillary units.
Back in India, Marutti Udyog has followed the same policy. They have reduced the number of suppliers drastically and developed a strong and dependable network of about 400 vendors, capable of supplying the desired quality and quantity any time. Maruti Udyog has equity partnership in about 12 supplier firms.
Developing close relationship with channel members is very essential to strengthen the distribution network. Every small and big firm in the business of consumer goods is now trying to reinforce its relationship with dealers and distributors to maintain its grip on the market.
Influence groups such as public representatives, policy makers, press, trade unions, consumer organizations, opinion leaders and financing institutions are gaining more and more importance due to the rise in awareness as well as competition in the market. Firms are more conscious of the fact today that to grow and prosper it is necessary to have good relations with the various influence groups.
The scope of relationship marketing is therefore not restricted only to the customers of the firm. The web of relationship is expanding to include all those who are directly or indirectly related to the firm or matter to its business.
The third aspect is to bring quality, customer service and marketing activities together A US-based research and consultancy firm Bain & Co. studied in 1989 the correlation between customer retention and company profitability. They found that even a 1 per cent improvement in the retention rate of customers in the credit card business in the USA can yield a 15 per cent rise in the volume of business. Keeping customers is therefore a key strategic issue for all business firms.
In order to retain customers firms are required to keep them interested through better (perceived) quality of products, satisfactory service and innovative marketing programmes. For example, in France, people take off in their cars for a long vacation in the summer. But if a family is travelling with a baby still in diapers, it could get uncomfortable for the baby as well as the parents to travel long distances. Nestle, therefore, came out with a way to dramatically improve the life of both the baby and the parents on the road.
Nestle now provides rest-stop structures along the highway where parents can feed and change their babies in eight locations along the main travel route. A sparkling clean ’Le Relais Bebe’ awaits and welcomes the family. Each summer, 64 hostesses at these rest stops welcome about 120,000 baby visits and dispense 600,000 samples of baby food. There are free disposable diapers, a changing table and high chairs for the babies to sit in while dining. Nestle, through its hostesses, keeps itself in direct contact with the mothers. Moving into the lives and activities of prospects and customers Nestle has successfully built a strong bond of emotional relationship with them. A market research survey of 1,000 mothers in 1992 showed a 94 percent approval rating for Le Relais Bebe.
Relationship marketing does not stop at merely meeting the present needs of the customer, but extends to also anticipating and servicing the future requirements. In subsequent posts, we shall be looking at the benefits of Relationship Marketing to firms, then we will look at it benefits to customers before we go into the basic steps required to set up an effective Relationship Marketing system.

Reference: National Institute of Business Management – Marketing Management

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Sequel to my previous article titled Nigerian Music:My 21 Years and Its Many Generations” I present my chart as promised. My consideration for selecting videos on this list is nothing to do with hit tracks or multiplatinum status of any artiste, I consider basically the impact I saw these videos make on the Nigerian audience both locally and internationally going by their uniqueness and how revolutionary or even controversial they were in their time.
Well, you will not find a bad song on this list, but it’s also fair to note that not all the songs were big hits, so it’s more of how impactful or memorable those videos are and how well I thought they stayed ahead of competition in their time than how big the songs or artistes are. The videos are listed in no particular order.
1. Aye o le – Infinity
This video directed by Gbenga Salu came with the tag “one of the best Nigeria has ever done”. Coming fresh from the already well loved debut video “Olori Oko”, the group Infinity knew they needed a good follow-up and that’s exactly what “Aye O le” was for them. Besides dominating many awards especially for best special effects, they thrilled Nigerians so much that “the making” of the video itself became an item on Nigerian entertainment TV shows, especially the then very popular “Music Africa”.
2. No be God – Gino
I wonder where Gino is right now, but that is a guy who gave rap music a kind of video that erupted comments like “Naija don go far o”. Shot within Festac, Amuwo Odofin or Satelite town in Lagos, we saw a picture with 3D effects which were good enough to make you think it was shot by some Hollywood crew, flown into a suburb of Jamaica. We never had a Nigerian rap artistes come up with a musical video that good and we sure loved it and still remember it.
3. Never far Away – Lagbaja
Lagbaja never had a bad video since the “We, Me, Abami” album, at least not one I can remember. Well known as a very skilled and multitalented musician, but it was never so portrayed in a musical video until he showed us a full orchestra of classical music accompaniment for his R&B tune “never far away” with the masked man himself playing the role of the music conductor. Managing to give us a very sensible love storyline in an already eventful video is outstanding. Location and costuming were terrific too. It’s a classic any day and a good export for Nigerian and indeed African music.
4. Temptation – P-Square ft. Alaye
The only standard to rate a P-square video has always been against there own videos, I’m sorry if you think otherwise but that is the only Nigerian music artiste/group that has never had a bad video. Temptation was to me Nigeria’s first R&B video with a non-indigenous but real foreign traditional concept well put together and I’m sure it contributed to why some of their fans across the world couldn’t believe they were Nigerians. Kudos to Jude Okoye, this was the first one to make us feel like we were watching an R-Kelly video.
5. Love me jeje – Sheyi Shodimu
This video was a bully in my opinion. In 1998 when most “hip-hop artistes” in Nigeria couldn’t boast of ever seeing the airport came a handsome Yoruba man with “akata” chicks singing and rapping on a video shot in America. No doubt, it was an interesting song and it was a unique and exciting video for the 90s but you can trust the Nigerian media to give him all the attention deserving of an “international artiste”. I also remember rumors of him being married to then little known Shaffy Bello, who sang the chorus in the video which launched her into Nigerian entertainment industry before she later became a Nollywood big timer herself.
6.  Ada Ada – Flavour
Due to many reasons, Sunny Neji’s “Oruka” still reigns as Nigeria’s number one wedding song, but I doubt if we’ve seen a wedding video this good. Flavour knew his Igbo people have a rich wedding tradition and he portrayed it like never done before by anyone in a musical video. Even Nollywood has never managed to give us a wedding scene that beautiful in any movie. Clarence Peters represents the new school and he did a good job here, for me, it is one of his best works.
7 Jagbajantis – Sound Sultan
Now, this is way back memory lane, the year 2000 if I’m right and ever since then, all my attempts to get my brother Lanre Fasasi to explain how he got such a “team” of talented, humorous and believable kid actors to cast in this video has not yielded a satisfactory result. This video for me is by far the most exciting musical video of that generation and I would celebrate a remake of it with the same cast all now grown up. It won most of the awards in the video category for that year.
8. Ijo ya – Weird MC
We’ve been having animations in musical videos which were equally very fantastic, considering the level of technology and skill available those days, but with due respect to the likes of Obiwon, “Ijo ya” gave us something totally different. Firstly, it was a daring move making an animation for a dance song/club banger like “Ijo ya” but it was so well done, we all loved it, we even took away a dance routine from the cartoon characters and everyone, young or old wanted to shake their bum to the sound of the talking drum. It’s so far Nigeria’s favorite animation video.
9. Cry – Mode-9 ft. Nneka
Where is the Ghecko team? I wonder. But these guys shot one of the most memorable musical videos for a rap artiste in Nigerian entertainment history. It was one of the best seasons of Modenine’s career as he won multiple awards and became a household name. Besides being a fantastic rapper and legendary artistes himself, that video, similar to Infinity’s “Aye o le” in terms of special effects did justice to his already wonderful music and they together took the industry by storm. Interestingly, the video was a low budget project.
10. Beng Beng Beng – Femi Kuti
The 1998 album titled “shoki shoki” was a typical example of a prophet having no value in its own home. While the song was already banned on all Nigerian radio/TV stations, Femi Kuti was riding on its global popularity to cement his place as an international artiste and the real heir to the Fela Afrobeat dynasty. The news of Femi’s sojourn abroad got Nigerians curious in an era when internet penetration was so poor we couldn’t even watch it online, but Alaba market came to our rescue as the video was dubbed off South-Africa’s Channel-O and made available in bootleg compilations, subsequently becoming one of the most popular videos in our streets and homes.
11Senorita – P-Square
Very few artistes will come up twice on a list like this and I think P-Square is one of the few who deserve it. Hip-hop choreographies were never as beautiful in Nigerian musical videos until this one from the twins. Of course P-square has gone on to later produce better dance videos with better choreographies than this, but I chose this one because it was shot before their millions came and they still did it well with little resources, in fact, I think starting off with the quality of senorita video raised the bar for subsequent P-square videos.
12. Be my man – Asa
Did you even notice that Asa is the only female in that video shot on one single set? Well, that’s not the reason I find it on my list of most memorable Nigerian videos in the last 21 years. The beauty of the video is in the performance of the cast and the colorful concept. Not a vintage philosophical music Asa is known for but surely a unique video from a Nigerian female pop/soul artiste. “Fire on the mountain” is another outstanding video from Asa, but I chose this one as my favorite, after all the chart is based on my personal opinion, right? Thanks.
13. Dyna – Daddy Showkey
The Ghetto soldier ruled the 90s alongside his peers like former band mates Daddy Fresh, Cashman Davies and Sexy Pretty, with others like Baba Fryo, Felix Duke, Alariwo, and so on. The 1999 video was phenomenal in the sense that the song was released in the “Ghetto Soldier” album almost a year before the video for Dyna was shot and released, then suddenly an album which looked ordinary became a bestseller. Those days, it wasn’t about special effects or pictures, it was basically about the storyline, its delivery and how well the audience could connect with it.
14. Mother Mi – Twinax (now Twin-X)
Before you say ojoro, there is nothing partisan here. When we set out to shoot a video for our debut in 2000, we wanted something unique and never seen before and that was exactly what we did. Besides being the first documentary music video, it also was the first musical video to bring Nigerian movie stars together in a non-acting role. With Eniola Badmus (Yeah, same “gbogbo bigz girlz”) and Big-Bamo behind the camera crew, we had Vivian Metchie, Steph Nora, Uche Jombo, Eyiyemi Prat and so on whom were all big stars of the pre-Nollywood era alongside other entertainment stars like Kwame, Keke Ogungbe, Tony Tetuila, Fada U-turn (OBM), Maintain etc. Mathematics by Sound Sultan however beat us to all the awards we were nominated together. Lol.
15. Voice of God – Alabai
Great talent Alabai, my memory of people like him makes me smile when new school artiste and their publicists claim kingship of Nigerian rap music. Due respect to the new guys but I think some were just unlucky to have come earlier when the industry wasn’t paying big bucks. Thanks to Alabai for giving us this great concept in his video for his 2007 single, you’re free to strike it off my list if you can show me five (5) better video concepts depicting God without being gospel or religious.
16. Eni duro – Olamide
Both “e ni duro” and “durosoke” have similar concepts. I could have chosen “durosoke” for few reasons. One, it was shot indoor which meant more technicalities, then casting wise, Olamide was more focused on, except for the few models, yet he gave us a one-man show which kept it exciting till the end. But “E ni duro” stood out in its time for a budding artiste, the confidence he showed and the characters he presented in that “street” video gave him the attention he enjoys till today. More so, kudos to DJ-Tee, it was a product of little resources, compared to Eni duro.
17. Nfana Ibaga remix (No problem) Tu-face ft. Bennie Man & Reggie Rockstone
Unlike now when artistes can afford to get on a track with any foreign star, it took the coming of Jamaican star Bennie Man for a concert co-organized by Z-Mirage and La-face Entertainment in 2004 for Kennis Music to arrange this collabo with Tu-face, made easy by the star man’s personal interest in Tu Baba’s hit track “Nfana Ibaga” which he requested a remix from the original producer OJB Jezreel (OBM). But trust doubtful Nigerians to see this as a mere ”media hype” until when the video of the song which also features Reggie Rockstone was shot in Ghana and released later that year. I don’t know if the work had much commercial impact on Tu-baba’s career, but it was our first time seeing one of us in such high profile collaboration.
18. Nibo lawa gbe lo – Maintain
Remember Big-Bamo? The then artiste manager and XL-House label CEO earned a lot of respect for the video concept; A Volkswagen story, a very funny and dramatic video which expresses the many economic challenges of an average Nigerian. After its release, most Nigerians perceived the group Maintain as comic artistes and their stage performance was incomplete without reproducing some of the acts they put up in the video. I still remember their performance at The Movie Awards (THEMA) 2000 (now rested) where a giant caricature Volkswagen car made of cardboards was brought on stage to wow the guests.
19. Strong thing – Banky W
Now, this is my typical example of thinking outside the box, I read some comments about this video online and I saw how emotional Nigerians could be in supporting their own. In an industry where a Love music or R&B video is commonly complete with bum-shaking vixens, white girls, clubs, fast cars etc., I doff my heart to Banky for this outstanding work which takes us through the 1930s of American gangsterism. Apart from using a black girl as a lead character, the concept is not in any way African but I agree that it is the kind of video we need to shoot more often in order to aim for the Grammys.
20. My Car – Tony Tetuilla
This one is about “Tinubu u don hit my car”. Sincerely some people thought the then governor of Lagos state Asiwaju Bola Tinubu could do Tony Tetuilla the unlikely honour of featuring in the video of a song in which he mentioned his name repeatedly, but no one saw the idea of having a little boy play Tinubu’s role coming and it really worked. It was meant to be a diss song to then rival Eedris Abdulkareem but the little boy concept took all the shine, great and exciting video. 
21. Onye – Waje ft. Tiwa Savage
Besides being one of my favorite female voices in Nigeria, Waje nailed it here with her choice of whom to feature on this nice song (“I Wish” is my favorite of her music though). We don’t often see Nigerian female singers of leading talents come together on collaborations this good and it was good to see two beautiful women you’d expect to be rivals showing so much synergy in this “comedy show”. Can you beat that point when Waje “macho-walked” across the road ready to have a fight with whoever “camped” her lover-boy? Most hilarious! It is an entertaining video with fantastic acting.
Now this is my opinion, you may or may not agree with me on some of the videos mentioned; especially some readers who may be too young to remember or even value some of these videos. I’ll like to get your feedbacks. You may reach out to me: