How much is marketing about what is being bought and sold, and how much is it about the people involved in the transactions?
Relationships can be all-important when it comes to companies doing business with consumers and with each other.
Tony’s research tackles the complex webs of relationships that permeate all levels of marketing across all sectors of society.
“Exploring engagement and connections in marketing contexts makes for rather eclectic research,” says Tony, whose investigations range from political marketing to online gaming and from sports sponsorship to professional services.
He recently looked at the marketing activities involved in trying to engage an estimated five million expatriate Brits in the last UK election – in which only 17,000 voted. As a recent arrival from the UK himself, it was a subject easy to identify with.
Tony followed his studies at Manchester Metropolitan University with a varied career working in the UK public and private sectors, in organisations as diverse as Hewlett Packard, British Telecom, a chartered accountancy firm, the Greater London Council and latterly De Montfort University in Leicester.
He continued to study how companies and individuals interact in various combinations of circumstances.
His University of Nottingham PhD into relationship marketing and law firms was close to home as his wife was practising law at the time. It focused on how relationships varied between one lawyer and another, and a lawyer and a client who had little or no knowledge of law.
“I liken it to going to the dentist,” says Tony. “One dentist visiting another dentist will judge the treatment received by what is delivered. Ordinary patients are more likely to judge their treatment partly by the way it is delivered and partly by whether or not they like the dentist.”
Tony and his family migrated to New Zealand in 2009 for the quality of life. Now settled in Dunedin, their three young sporting sons keep them busy with their involvement in rugby, soccer, futsal, cricket, judo, miniball, swimming, hockey and scouts.