Summary of Relationship Marketing

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Clearly, Regis McKenna has given a tremendous amount of thought to marketing technological products. He has a deep familiarity with the customer-focused concepts that drive his marketing theory. His book, written in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, presents his views on how sweeping changes in technology transformed traditional product-based marketing. McKenna weaves concepts associated with technology - such as product cycles, customized goods and strategic relationships - into his marketing theory without any lapses in logic. He buttresses his presentation with his actual experiences launching such new products as Apple Macintosh computers and Lotus 1-2-3 software. While somewhat dated, many of the lessons in this clear, readable classic remain applicable. getAbstract recommends this as core reading for any professional in technology and software marketing.

About the Author

Regis McKenna founded and chairs an international marketing consulting firm. He is a general partner in a venture capital firm, and an advisor to the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is also a member of several boards of directors.



The Technological Society

In the 1990s, technology became pivotal in every aspect of American society. The old marketplace shifted to focus on technology and customer needs. As in the past, technology changed society. In the 1970s, some 50,000 computers were in use in the U.S. By the early 1990s, consumers were buying 50,000 computers daily.

The new technology's defining characteristic is its ability to be programmed. This makes machines flexible. The same manufacturing machine can now perform several complex operations, customized for each customer. This unleashes endless choice, so manufacturers can launch new varieties of core products for wider markets. Consider Tide detergent's numerous permutations.

Choice brings challenge. IBM computers had 20 competitors in the 1970s; by the 1990s, it had 5,000. Fresh competition generates new buyers who are unaware of old ways of doing business and who have higher expectations. They care what the product does for them - not who sells it. So companies must work with customers to discover, refine and meet their needs.

In short, tech companies become demand-driven, eager to build - but not control - markets by tailoring...

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