Is this a hardware store? An art gallery? An upscale restaurant? Yes.

By Rex Hammock

Never has there been so many options for developing deep and lasting relationships with great numbers of customers. Today, the options for how to serve those customers are, literally, everywhere.

For example, yesterday, global consulting firm Accenture Interactive announced its acquisition of a fast-growing trendy advertising agency, Droga5. The New York Times described it as Accenture’s jump into “advertising and the ad industry’s rapidly changing competitive landscape.”

Marketing used to focus on “attention-grabbing ads” but now is widening its focus to “providing broader consumer experiences,” observed the Times.

How far can you push the limits of marketing?

Before answering, go visit or dine at RH, the home furnishings retailer and now restaurant that used to be Restoration Hardware. Don’t have a lot of time? Then swing by the Capital One Cafe for a latte. Need another example? Staples, which now describes itself as “The Worklife Company,” is upping Restoration Hardware and Capital One by getting into the coworking business with a concept called Staples Studio. According to their press release, “the business will focus on the needs of small business customers” … along with the ability to spend all day in Staples, I’m guessing.

I am fascinated and intrigued by some of these no-rules strategies. But I also recall the last part of Charles Dickens’ “best of times” observation. With endless opportunities comes the responsibility to preserve the essence of what a company is and why it exists.

I am a fan of marketing that redefines the rules of what marketing can be. It’s a part of why Hammock Inc. exists. But even more so, I believe in marketing that really matters.

Photo: Restoration Hardware

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