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62 MARKETING The Hugging Principle The Hugging Principle By Carole Pyke H W h e n last have you hugged your customers engage ISSUE TWO 2006 ugging is probably not the first thing you think about when you think about marketing and your business but it should be because in a highly competitive business arena it’s those ‘hugs’ with suppliers, prospects, customers, staff etc that will make the real difference to your bottom line. Now whilst some customers may enjoy a physical bear hug, I am speaking metaphorically and talking about an approach to your business that is about creating and maintaining a personal ? Carole D Pyke MA BA (hons) MCIM richardsonpykeassociates London Office t: +44 (0) 845 053 7676 f: +44 (0) 845 053 7676 w:www.richardsonpyke.com (and therefore profitable) relationship with your customers, it’s a way of getting close to them and truly understanding their needs and providing a product or service to meet those needs. Your marketing activities are the tools at your disposal to help you to build relationships with your customers and help you to administer those all important ‘hugs’. But before you say I do not have the time, the staff or the budget, it’s important to remember marketing is essential for your business growth and even when you think you are not doing it you are, so it’s time to understand what it means to you and to get organised about it. Essentially, marketing is the art of building rapport with someone who doesn’t know you yet and marketing for your business is about effective use of what you have available and the good news is, it is more about brains and less about the size of your budget.