Relationships and Change in a Pull-Economy

“The customers you once caught are now hunting for your replacement. That is my explanation of the Push-Economy becoming the Pull-Economy.” — Ray Stasieczko

How will customer relationships change? Here’s my thinking.

In the product-pushing sales environment of the past, the customer was sought after, courted and the seller of the product based their customer acceptance on the relationship they created with the buyer. In a Pull-Economy, the buyer becomes the hunter and forms relationships based on their experience in acquiring what they desire. A Pull-Economy removes the power from the seller and gives it to the buyer. It redirects the search from sellers searching prospects to sellers becoming prospects to buyers.

Today choices are easily identified, researched and acquired, so the need for the pushing of products through outdated selling strategies or marketing strategies of the past is diminishing greatly. The challenge will be for resellers to determine how they respond at the intersection when their products become more of a commodity or are no longer nearly as valuable to the marketplace as they once were. In today’s innovative world, many organizations and industries will find themselves at this intersection.

Here are a few quotes I penned as warnings to how one’s greatest perceived or actual customer relationship assets can prove to be inconsequential as your customer discovers the new innovator who changed the game.

“You can be the vendor with the greatest relationships and lose to the new, unknown competitor who delivers a better experience.”

“You can be the vendor who answers the phone in two rings and loses to the new, unknown competitor who doesn’t even accept phone calls.”

“You may have been recognized as the market’s greatest service provider and lose to the new innovator who redefines how your product is serviced.”

“Today, it’s not the competitor we know and believe we can beat that should concern us. We must be vigilant to look to our imagination for the new competitor coming from places which were once unimaginable.”

The passion organizations have of their greatness must be balanced with the reality of how the marketplace accepts the greatness of what they sell. Think about how many organizations believe that the reason for their success is their great relationships. In 2018, this could be a dangerous strategy for the continuation of their prosperity, especially if their deliverable is declining in customer needs and appreciation. In these new, innovative times, the patience customers used to have in remaining in the old way based on great relationships is quickly eroding. “The new way’s momentum is fueled by the old way’s stubbornness.”

Today’s customer wants relevance, and more importantly, they now can seek and define on their own what they determine is relevant. Customers have the tools and the means to seek alternatives to what they once desired with little or no human intervention. Customers are building digital relationships based on user experiences, and from there, they determine the value of the human component.

Those organizations who can integrate with their customers over interrupting them will prevail. Today, it’s not just sales and service organizations who have the availability of data mining to guide a decision process; more and more end-users are preceding their vendors in their own data mining. They are searching for solutions without involving their current vendors and forming new relationships from what they’ve discovered.

When organizations or industries are going through disruption, many spend more focus on what I call “relevance convincing.” They convince themselves and their industry peers that what they manufacture or deliver still has the relevance it once had, regardless of what the marketplace decided. Instead of investing in diversification or even reinventing the “how” of what they do, they instead reinvest, and some even double down in the hallucinations of their past greatness.

The pioneer or innovator reinvents the past or brings the future to the present. Innovators bring a new delivery system for the customers’ desired outcomes. SMB resellers must leave the emotional baggage of yesterday’s marketing strategies behind them. Those outdated strategies attempt to make relevant what customers themselves have decided is irrelevant or is quickly declining in its relevance.

As yesterday’s products become more user-friendly and require less and less human intervention, the relationships will continue shifting. Organizations who have lived and benefited by the decades-old Pull-Economy must reinvent their methods of courting customers in the new Pull-Economy. One thing will never change regardless of any economy, and that is this: “Marketing must come second to your remarkability, and always remember your remarkability is at the mercy of its receiver.”

“Your marketing is about you cheering you; your remarkability is about your customers cheering you.”

Ray Stasieczko
About the Author
Over the last 25+ years, I have called the imaging industry (copy/print) home. Today this industry is navigating through transformation. The ways of delivery, sales approach, and marketing are redefining a decades-old deliverable. Managed print is just a small component of the greater deliverable of managed services. Today dealers must extract as much profitability from their print deliverable in-order to invest in their diversification. BEI Services has the facts and statistics allowing our partners to benefit greatly in accomplishing that. I stay determined to help the imaging channel bring the future to the present.