IN THIS SUMMARY
The fixation of capturing new buyers has probably been fueled by the marketer’s desire to increase revenues and profits. But, as a company pursues this goal, present customers are often overlooked. Their continued patronage is assumed. Their value to the enterprise and contributions to profit are taken for granted. And because their satisfaction is presumed, the organization fails to maintain them. This is a costly mistake. Attracting new customers has become increasingly expensive as mass media costs escalate. It is obvious that marketing must change its mindset from completing a sale to beginning a relationship that builds loyalty. In the company that strives to maximize the satisfaction of current customers, the customer is not only right, but his or her opinions are actively sought. This is the spirit of aftermarketing. Effective relationship marketing requires an organizational commitment to aftermarketing techniques. Thus, the product or service offered, the delivery or distribution system, employee actions, attitudes, and values, management’s actions, attitudes, and values, the organization’s structure and culture, and employee incentive and reward programs must all be considered for change. Relationships are built through interaction and exchange. Aftermarketing acknowledges the difficulties of these pursuits in the 1990s marketplace and suggests the formation of a customer communication program to help establish better relationships. Proprietary media are exploding because of the control the marketer can exert over the vehicle, both in content and in circulation. Proprietary media are usually adopted to accomplish aftermarketing goals, such as managing customer relationships. Although start-up costs are significant, such publications ultimately become very cost-effective marketing tactics. Sometimes customers go out of their way to establish a conspicuous relationship with a marketer-behavior evidenced by the increasing popularity of affinity merchandise. The importance of this trend is that the merchandise offers significant strategic value to affirm the value and importance of the marketer’s products and image among consumers.