November 13

Relationship Marketing’s Rebirth – Sad for Small Business Marketing

Pundits and cow-patty gurus galore are squawking about relationship marketing being a “new thing” in small business marketing. You could get the idea business owners have never heard of things like word of mouth or referrals.

Once upon a time, relationships were the only thing that mattered.

We could secure credit for our small businesses based on a handshake or a promise. People honored their word, and put out every effort necessary to meet their commitments.

The truth is that relationships are nothing new. They are, and always have been, the foundation of small business marketing, and even of success itself.

How is it that we – small business owners – have fallen for something as silly as this? A bunch of gumbos start yammering about relationship marketing, and we get duped into believing this is something new. We’re supposed to “learn” all about it, and discover how to do relationship marketing.

I think it’s time to Cranium Ex Rectum just a little bit.

Most business owners can point to the movers and shakers in their community. We either have relationships with those people (good or bad), or are making relationships with them. More importantly, we have relationships with our customers. (Again some good and some bad.)

The reality of relationship marketing is giving our customers a reason to introduce us to new people. Then we form new relationships, and continue expanding our reach or influence. There’s no mystery to relationship marketing.

The same thing is true online. Even if we’re brand new to the online environment, we still have people we know. So the first step for online relationship marketing is to connect with those people.

Maybe that’s why we’ve gotten confused over relationship marketing. So many of the cow-patty gurus claim the online world is “different,” and we believe them. After all, they’re the experts, right? They’re supposed to have reliable information.

There’s really no difference between the online and offline worlds because it’s the same people in both worlds.

Online or offline, people have no desire to be bored, sold to, treated poorly. Attention spans don’t suddenly become shorter because a person sits down in front of the computer. They’re simply less willing to pay attention because so much of what’s online is crap.

Now, I get it as much as the next guy that most business owners don’t really know how to promote their businesses. That’s why 95% of businesses fail in the first five years. Those that survive do just that: survive. Very few businesses thrive. But that doesn’t mean we have to chase after the golden rainbows being promised by the guru of the day.

My recommendation is for you to pay attention to the same person I do: Dan Kennedy. There are lots of folks around Dan, so be sure you’re getting material directly from him. Now, there’s no affiliate link here. You can go straight to which takes you to That’s his business website.

You’re always welcome to ask questions here. I always answer, but let’s be clear with each other: sometimes my answer is “Hey, I do that for a living. So let’s talk about working together.” Nobody’s in business to give their knowledge and experience away, right? Put your question in the comment section, and let’s go from there.


Conrad Hall, cranium ex rectum, dan kennedy, relationship, relationship marketing, small business marketing

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