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Lead the transformation: Customer relationship marketing

Adebowale Onatolu
Ashford University

Jerome McCarthy’s 4Ps marketing concept is not likely to win or retain customers in today’s market. Firms have to offer more than product, price, promotion and place. Customer relationship marketing is the revolution of the 21st century and the next step to modern marketing. 

Relationship marketing is an organizational innovation that requires the participation of an entire company to propel the customer into the heart of the firm. It entails the development and management of customer relationships for long-term profit.


Everyone from the administrative staff to the CEO is responsible for relationship marketing.

Executives must understand their own leadership style and build long-term relationships with employees. This translates into building CRM. They must recognize the role that employee empowerment plays in relationship marketing.

When management motivates employees, those employees provide positive customer experiences. This results in more sales. Employee satisfaction affects the quality of the interaction. “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” 

Employees serve as key connectors in the long-term relationship between the company and its customers.


To ensure continuous success, leaders must be willing to empower employees.

It can be difficult to manage change. Leaders can be overwhelmed. But they must maintain the culture of the organization as it grows. They should understand that employees who have opportunities to grow will better serve the company.

And the business can be prosperous in the long-term.

Adebowale Onatolu (aka Dr.D or Debo) chairs the department of marketing and strategic management in the College of Business and Professional Studies at Ashford University in San Diego. He can be reached at

Comments (2)
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Dustin Hall
Posted Jun 27, 2013 at 03:05 PM

Great high level advice, Adebowale. I completely agree and would be interested in any "campaign" development ideas you may have on this topic.

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Ford Kanzler
Posted Jun 27, 2013 at 02:48 PM

Very good points. The old 4 P's, while descriptive, are very mechanistic and obviously leave out the human side of the discipline which you've nicely emphasized. Likely the concept of customer "engagement" or "enchantment,' as Guy Kawasaki discusses in his book by that name, is still a foggy one in many organizations.

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