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Marketing can be termed as a collection of activities that are aimed at delivering value to clients by business enterprises. These activities include creation of products and services, communication efforts and the ultimate exchange of value for the products.

Relationship marketing focuses on creation and maintenance of long-term customer relations that ensure an emotional attachment to a brand. Such strong bonds lead to brand loyalty and continued business support. Your clients become your brand ambassadors and they market your products through word of mouth on your behalf.

In the current business world, it is prudent to focus on relationship marketing rather than transactional marketing that aims at only selling products and services. This is because when customers feel connected to your brand at a deeper level beyond the exchange of goods for cash, they automatically carry out the transactional marketing efforts for you without even realizing it.

Let’s look in-depth at how Relationship Marketing works and how best Businesses can take advantage of it.

How Does Relationship Marketing Work?

Relationship marketing works by changing its focus from sales to improving the overall experience with a brand. This means that the attention shifts to the client by getting to know them better, understanding the solutions they are looking for and finding creative ways to solve their problems using your products.

A business needs to know exactly what they need to achieve through relationship marketing. Some of the goals they may have in mind may include lowering the client turnover rate, raising the spending rate per client, increasing their revenues, and generally lowering the customer acquisition costs. With a set goal in place, its easy to reap the benefits of this marketing strategy.

5 Characteristics of Relationship Marketing

Given that each customer is unique in terms of wants and personalities, relationship marketing adopts different characteristics to accommodate them. Some of these include;

  • Customer Retention. A good relationship marketing strategy aims at retaining existing clients instead of always looking for new ones. This means a brand needs to know what needs the customer has and be their solution provider. After all, it is always easier to retain an existing client than to onboard a new one.
  • Customer Focus. Closely related to retention is client focus. A good strategy involves putting the needs of the client first. This is achieved through knowing what the customer wants and paying attention to that rather than just focusing on what value the company is deriving from the customer. There are different software tools that can be used to learn clients deeper and make them feel heard in your business.
  • Customer Communication. Clients feel noticed when they receive customized information regarding products, instead of generic email blasts. A good strategy is one where clients have a platform to ask questions and get timely feedback as well as being notified of company changes that may affect them in different ways.
  • Customer Account Management. In order to ensure clients are always satisfied, a good relationship marketing strategy ensures clients have a dedicated accounts manager who they can call with queries, complaints or feedback. This gives clients the reassurance that they are valued by the brand and this further enhances their loyalty.
  • Customer Rewards. Nothing says a brand appreciates better than a reward. Companies that understand the importance of a reward system for their loyal customers do reap big in terms of enhancing relations. Royalty points and free merchandise as some of the ways that a relationship marketing strategy can adopt to retain their existing clients.

Is Relationship Marketing Effective?

Having a well-planned relationship marketing effort in place has proved to be effective in the long run for businesses. While initially the strategy may look expensive due to high infrastructure costs, everything evens out in the long run and the business gets value for money.

Relationship marketing works because the clients become loyal to your brand. Your business becomes the go-to solutions provider for their problems. Additionally, clients are willing to overlook the shortcomings of a company that they feel attached to.

Once you retain one client, you can be sure they will spread the word to several prospective clients and in this way, they bring in new sales on your behalf which in turn lowers the costs of new customer acquisitions.

Learn more about this topic in a real time conversation with an expert. Select a time below.

Relationship Marketing Strategies

There are several strategies that a business will need to consider if they plan to be experts at relationship marketing. These strategies include:

  • Training of Support Teams – It is important to invest in training sales people and Account managers on the solutions that the business is providing. They should have all the information at their fingertips and know how to customize that information for each client. Support teams should understand clients by having meetings with them regularly and then tailor making solutions for them.
  • Communication Channels – There is nothing more off putting to a client than not getting any feedback when they make queries or raise concerns.  Companies should ensure there are multiple open communication lines such as phone calls and emails where they can conveniently access the company.  One of the best ways to ensure this is to have a great customer service team dedicated towards handling clients as well as investing in software solutions that can respond to recurring queries.
  • Loyalty Rewards – A rewards program is a nice way to make clients feel noticed and appreciated. You can reward them for making repeat purchases, making high volume/value purchases, bringing in new clients or just for being loyal for a long period.
  • Technology Investment – Investing in the right technology such as ERP (Enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management) suites allows employees of the company to have all the relevant information regarding clients and products at their fingertips. These systems also ensure continuity in case of staff turnover since new staff are able to access client information and ensure there is no breakdown of communication.

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