JP’s blogged about VRM a few times.
Recently, he mused
I believe in VRM. I believe that in the 21st century, product-driven advertising is fundamentally flawed. Personal recommendations, whether direct or via collaborative filtering, count for a lot more. Recommendations from people I know and trust, recommendations that scale now that I have the tools and the technology to discover the recommendations and act on them.
I followed the link, and ended up with a discussion of the scenarios that result depending upon your answers to 2 questions.
Q1: Who controls the interactions between vendor and customer?
Q2: Are the interactions focused on transactions or relationships?
… which is why we should strive to build our relationships as strong as we can.
In my mind, who controlled the interaction, was much less important.
I’m interested in the views of others.
Tara Hunt in her Dear World of Marketing post pointed out that
Truly long lasting brands are those who build RELATIONSHIPS with their customers, who then go off and recommend them to others they have RELATIONSHIPS with. …
Believe me, this VRM stuff is not only good for customers, but it is good for YOU as well. It puts you firmly in the position of being exactly where you need to be (available) when the customer has money in hand, poised to purchase. It puts you in the role of helpful sidekick. It makes you indispensably useful.
(She’s fairly damning about corporates setting up Facebook pages, mind, but I bet she’d expect them to react to try and retrieve relationships)