Alexander Jutkowitz believes that marketers are obsolete ... unless they turn themselves into loyalty specialists.

Every consumer has "their" brand — one that they consider their own. They talk about it like they would a good friend that has a personality — someone who may even share some of their own beliefs. Behind those brand labels, people have found something they were able to relate to that keeps them coming back. Perhaps it's the quality of the product, but Jutkowitz insists there's more that can be done.

Jutkowitz is the vice chairman and chief global strategist at Hill+Knowlton Strategies and he says the transition from marketing to loyalty specialist is as simple as beginning to talk with your customers. In his article for the Harvard Business Review, he talks about how marketing and sales can't be a one-sided conversation. With social media on the rise, everyone has a megaphone and can shout something into the ether — your company's message will get lost if its message doesn't resonate with customers.

He cites examples from companies that are succeeding in building a meaningful, personalized experience for their customers, and marketers would do well to study up on their techniques. These little accents come from understanding and listening to your customer base, he says. Chipotle's “Cultivating Thought” initiative is a prime example. The company took action on an idea emailed to them to by author Jonathan Safran Foer, who thought it'd be nice to have something to read while he was chowing down on his burrito. So, Chipotle started asking authors to write short texts on Chipotle's cups for their customers to read while they feasted.

It's listening to these ideas — things that won't yield direct results, like a promotional email or tracking link would, but creates a conversation that piques consumer and third-party interests.

Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank knows a lot about building a brand. In her Big Think interview, she talks about how she would use third parties in order to boost the value of her own brand when she worked in real estate.

Read more at Harvard Business Review.

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