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Marketing Psychology: The Butterfly Effect in Business Relationships

The Importance of Treating Customers, Employees, and Stakeholders Equally


In Business Every Action Affects Another

How you cultivate relationships with your customers should compliment your overall business philosophy; not compete with it. That is, your mission and purpose should be remembered when dealing with all aspects of your business, including your customers. But having one set of ethics and standards for customers and another for employees and stakeholders is counterproductive to your business.

If you treat your employees badly, do not expect them to treat your customers fairly. And, if you cheat stakeholders or do not value them as partners in your business, do not expect them to support your business when it comes time to vote on important issues.

If you take advantage of your customers, or refuse to honor your customer service policies, do not expect to attract and retain employees with a high standard of work ethics. It is important to remember that if your employees feel that it is acceptable to cheat your customers, they may also feel free to cheat your business!

Customer policies and relationship standards should be part of your mission statement, neither receiving substandard or preferential treatment over employees, contractors, or even stakeholders.

This new approach to business development has resulted in demonstrating that, with the right approach, businesses can spend less on marketing and advertising, while increasing sales volumes, profits, and customer loyalty, when principles of basic psychology is incorporated into business philosophies and practices.

According to co-authors David B. Wolfe, Jagdish N. Sheth, Rejendra S. Sisodia, in "Firms of Endearment," some of the successful companies that spend millions of dollars less on marketing and advertising than their industry counterparts, but have found tremendous success by following a business model that values stakeholders, employees, and customers equally, include:

  • Costco
  • Honda
  • IKEA
  • Jet Blue
  • Jordon’s Furniture
  • New Balance
  • Trader Joe’s, and
  • Whole Foods


David B. Wolfe, Jagdish N. Sheth, Rejendra S. Sisodia. “What Makes a Firm of Endearment?”. Financial Times Press. August 17, 2007.

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