What Is Relationship Marketing? And what are its benefits?
Relationship marketing refers to the form of marketing that developed from direct response marketing campaigns which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction rather than a dominant focus on sales transaction.
Background and concept of relationship marketing:
The term relationship marketing was first introduced in 1986 to the services marketing literature by Dr. Leonard L. Berry who defined it as attracting, maintaining and enhancing customer relationships. (Source)
In common language, relationship marketing is taking care of your customers and all humans in general to build a bond in which both seller and customer have a bonding beyond business. It’s not like traditional marketing where your terms end after a particular sales goal is over; here you build a lifelong relationship for more business opportunities.
Scope of relationship marketing:
Through relationship marketing a blogger or business aims at making a relationship or comfort zone with a client that doesn’t aim at a one off sales. The aim is to make lifetime business relationships.
- In relationship marketing you consider “sales” as your starting point for business opportunities and aim at getting more in the long run.
- Relationship marketing aims at delivering and talking value they provide to the customers even beyond their sales opportunities.
- In a layman’s words, here you take your customers as the main aim. It may be like taking your customer as your friend and talking to him, listening him and even solving his problems no matter its beyond your product scope.
When customer is GOD for businesses, relationship marketing is worshiping the GOD to get blessings. Click To Tweet
For example, when Mari Smith was tolerating a flight delay, the Alaska air manager at San Diego bought her an IPhone charger. Now this is what is called relationship marketing. The manager was not entitled to buy her anything but he did as a friend would do in such a situation. Result, the flight delay was not as painful as it could be and they won Mari as a good client or customer.
Relationship marketing starts even before presales and continues to post sales through sales. Click To Tweet.
Relationship marketing basics: How to get started in relationship marketing and what strategies work:
Relationship marketing not only is an approach by online small and large businesses but also has an approach in the offline business models. The fact that value to the customers can be given at any realm shows that relationship marketing aims at both the offline and online marketing skills.
“The purpose of a business is to create a customer” – Peter F Drucker
You got to be good at social media marketing and you got to do brand management well. Again relationship marketing to offline businesses refers to use of various TV ads, newspaper advertisement slots, billboards and even salesmanship. Here are certain tactics for doing relationship marketing effectively.
1) Know your customer:
In order to serve the customer you need to know who they are. Only after the initial knowing you can think of aiming to serve the person better. For this you need to go on social media. Social media marketing is an essential step in knowing who your audience is.
You could know the basics about who your audience is by analyzing your product. If your product is something related to women find your business prospects on Pinterest or even Facebook. You could also use Google alerts to monitor when people are talking to you; the ones talking about your products are nobody else but your customers or potential customers. Here is a huge list of tools to help you monitor your prospects on social media.
2) Interact about your audience and get them talking about your product:
Companies like Zappos, Ford and Starbucks are the real stars of relationship marketing. They forget their egos and get inside the talks going on between their customers (no I am not talking of interrupting). Zappos and Starbucks are always active on social media and do a good campaign to show their stand and voice.
3) Offer them incentives, follow ups and provide value in any way you can:
In order to manage your relationship marketing campaign you need to tell your customers or readers that they are valued.
Gift them an incentive just like Starbucks does by giving free servings and other goodies to loyal customers.
You could also send a free kit of your upcoming product, course or a trailer of your video to your customer asking their views on it. Won’t they be amazed by knowing their opinions matter?
If you are a blogger you can practice relationship marketing by emailing a PDF of your post to your subscribers etc. any sort of good reward is considered a good technique to practice relationship marketing by most consumer oriented businesses.
4) Listen to your customers and prospects:
Social listening is one of the most important tools of relationship marketing. You need to be aware of what your consumers are saying to you by studying their behavior. If it’s a positive feedback you should use it as a token to get inspired to work likely.
If your customers are speaking negative about your product, you should act ASAP to deal with it. You could talk to them, provide one on one tutorials, free demo services and do whatever you want in order to get your customers happy and back to track.
5) Does your business have a blog? A must have tool for relationship marketing.
Having a blog or a website for your company is highly essential in your relationship marketing campaigns. Buffer for example, has used its blog to provide in-depth research oriented guides and blog posts that help its customers (social media enthusiasts and online marketers) do better social media marketing. Through this blog, they subtly advertise and instill the buffer value in the sub-conscious minds of the readers which are easily converted from suspects to prospects and then paying leads in the time course.
A well-established blog is the best tool for relationship marketing and it could help you in gaining new search engine visitors.
Relationship marketing and CRM
CRM or customer relationship management is a very integral part of relationship marketing. It is so related to the latter that they are sometimes one and the same concept.
CRM is defined as a business process in which client relationships, customer loyalties and brand value are built through marketing strategies. While RM deals with strategies formulation CRM sees how these strategies are implemented in the next level.
CRM can be also thought as an interdependent or marrying concept where both the business and its customers are both in the advantageous zone. The client gets rewarded for being a valued customer and on the other hand the company gets a loyal customer in return for some additional freebies and value.
CRM also indirectly helps in cross selling where the word of mouth plays a major role. In this process the customer satisfied by the values your business gives speaks good about your product to every potential client he meets. Here the client does not get benefited; instead the business gets the reward for providing value as the positive publicity will help it to reach to more leads beyond his organic reach.
Pros and cons of relationship marketing:
Pros of Relationship Marketing:
1) Through relationship marketing you will multiply sales:
When you have built a strong relationship with your audience or clients they tend to go loyal. Most of the time, your value to the customers make them buy an upcoming product and they may help you in increasing sales. It is exactly opposite with traditional marketing where you don’t attempt to influence the customer (or try at least) to make a second purchase.
2) You increase your profits manifold:
When you have more sales and your returning customers are your loyal customers they pay you the price you deserve and thus your profit boosts.
3) You spent less on advertising:
Did you notice I mentioned word of mouth in the previous section? Yes it is this customer satisfaction that tempts them to spread a positive word of mouth which further helps businesses to gain more leads. Nearly 84% of the purchasers take advice from their near and known ones before making a purchase. Organizations can actually reach far beyond their primary reach with word of mouth.
Cons of relationship marketing:
1) You may over spend:
While focusing on giving value to your existing customers, you might spent far more than your budget for that financial year which might lead to loses.
2) You may miss the chance of interacting with new prospects:
Business means endless opportunities to make new customers, but while indulging in RM many of us might forget that we could use that time to get connected to new as well as complete random set of leads that would otherwise never come in contact with the product.
3) You might become a victim of negative feedback:
While this is very rare you cannot ignore the chances of getting victimized of a negative campaign. When something goes wrong the fickle-minded crowd might spread negative word of mouth and this can ruin your business campaign as a whole.
Relationship marketing was always existent. In India we consider customers as Gods or god-like and respect them a lot. That is the essence of relationship marketing. You have to build a relationship beyond your business goals much like something on a family basis.
This works at all levels. Even bloggers can use relationship marketing as a tool to get more engagement in social media and blogging. This engagement can then be converted into loyal readership, which can then be taken into lead generation step.
Once a pro-blogger goes beyond his limits and helps a new blogger (he isn’t again entitled to help but does) the new blogger would develop immense respect for him/her and this alliance can profit both the allies. Its more like a win-win situation where every tier gets benefited from the other. Isn’t it the very essence of life also? #ThinkAboutIt
This post is a part of five part “The ultimate guide to Relationship Marketing” series:
1) What is relationship marketing and what are its benefits:
3) Relationship marketing and bloggers. How can bloggers and online marketers use RM? (Upcoming)
4) Advantages and disadvantages of relationship marketing: (upcoming)
5) The future of relationship marketing; for bloggers. Marketers and small businesses. (Upcoming)
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