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The Inbound Playbook

Relationship Marketing: Making Customers For Life!

14 Sep 2017

Do you remember the times when it was absolutely acceptable to make your sale, shake hands with your customer, turn your back on him/her and move ahead to entice yet another prospect on the list?

I’m referring to those yesteryears when marketers operated under such ‘norms’ which didn’t enforce the idea of ‘holding onto’, or realise the need to ‘nurture’ customers for future business opportunities.  But rather simply functioned on the premise of building a great product and selling it to as many new customers as possible…

Such Marketing Strategy, though being much relaxed and ‘laid-back’, did produce a desirable ‘bottom line’ for companies and brands back then, but will the same approach work at present times?

Frankly speaking, nowadays you would be losing top dollars if you let go of your customers who are already within your grasp.

It may have been easier then, as a marketer; due to what Dan Pink calls the ‘Information Asymmetry-Buyer Beware’ norms, when the seller had more information than the buyer and therefore would call the shots. And buyers, more often than not, were obliged to go along with the sellers’ narrative. Also there were very few options for the customers to choose from.

Before, it was the Traditional ‘Transactional Marketing’ approach, which simply focused on bringing the prospects into the sales funnel and closing the sale. It relied on keeping your product in the customers’ mind and hoped they make the right decision to buy your product, when the opportunity was presented.

However, the ‘tables have turned’ completely. Now it’s more of an ‘Information Parity-Seller Beware’ scenario. The power is equally distributed, if not more to the buyers than to the sellers. And to add to the woes of the marketers, the competition is growing ‘stiffer’ by the day.

Today, if you aren’t armed with a strategy to engage your newfound customer for the long haul, then you run the risk of losing your customers to your competition, along with damaging your bottom line! 

The stats too scream of ‘customer retention’ having a significant payoff. With 5% Increase in retention increasing profits by up to 95%, the message is clear: we need to build long-term connections with our customers – which brings forth the idea of ‘REALTIONSHIP MARKETING’! 


What is Relationship Marketing?

Relationship Marketing is all about creating ‘customer loyalty’. It relies on building lasting relationships with customers, in the pursuit to lock down sales far into the future. It’s a move away from ‘transactional’ marketing to ‘relational, focusing more on creating a better overall ‘brand experience’ for the customers and going beyond offering quality product and services – to truly caring how your customers ‘feel’ about your product and ‘identify’ with your brand.

The goal is to develop an ‘emotional connection’ between your brand and your customers, such that you’re able to nurture them into ‘repeat customers’ and if possible into your very own ‘brand evangelists’, who are always happy and inspired to purchase and be associated with your products and your brand!

Here are a few insights to strengthen that ‘Brand-Customer Relationship’ which could help you build customers for life:

'AUTHENTICITY' Matters

First off, don’t take your customers for a ‘fool’ and fake your identity/approaches – meaning if you’re focusing your efforts for the end goal of boosting your profits, with a mask of service; or that of a ‘solution provider’, people can smell you from miles away, only to result in the detriment of your brand.

Authenticity to who you are, to what your brand stands for, to your values, mission and dedication for the utmost ‘customer service’ is key to building a strong customer relationship – which in turn will automatically improve your bottom line as a by-product.

Estimates reveal that 63% of people buy from authentic brands over competitors that hide their true selves.

A truly authentic brand is always geared towards putting customers and audience at the center of what they do. When the focus is not on the brand but on the audiences’ interests, the ‘brand story’ becomes even more acceptable and worth sharing – paving paths for an ‘organic’, ‘inspired’ action; and positive consumer behaviour.

PERSONALISATION Breeds 'Connectedness" and 'Value'

It goes without saying that everyone wants to feel special and cared for. And if you can do that with your customers - connect with them on a more personal level, then you’re in for a sustained positive relationship with them.

Don’t you feel appreciated and valued when you receive your email/newsletter from the blogpost you subscribed, with a ‘Dear…’ and followed by your First Name, instead of ‘Dear valued subscriber’?

We all feel valued and connected with the sender/brand when we receive such emails, and an amazing fact is that – we know very well that it was an automated response and the sender didn’t go out of his way to personally type your name into the email. But we still feel the ‘bond’ and the ‘connectedness’, when we see our name.

That’s because personalised communication stirs up strong emotional response in us. The illustration/data below from biz417 further depicts how we give into our emotions more than logic and reasoning; and how emotions drastically influence our buying behaviour:

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As you can see, ‘personal value’ generates two times as much impact as ‘business value’. Buyers, who don’t see personal value with the brand, will not pay higher prices for a product; on the contrary, almost 70% of prospects who see a personal value, will pay higher prices for the product.

'LISTEN', Communicate & Serve Better

If you’re looking to communicate effectively with your audience and serve them better, you need to ‘Listen’ first, only then a lasting relationship can be found.

Here, ‘listening’ means to understand every expectations, issues and aspirations of your consumers in relation to your products and the overall brand experience. Whether it’s the feedback from your sales teams, tweets, posts and likes in the Social Media or comments on your blogposts and webinars – a well-rounded ‘social listening’ strategy and internal feedback mechanism will help you gauge the issues that need to be communicated on a regular basis.

The key here is to ‘communicate’ on a regular basis and not just when a crisis or problem is triggered by a dissatisfied customer. When you’re constantly communicating to enhance their brand experience, customers trust that you’re not just getting in touch when a trouble arises or when you need something from them – but take it as a genuine support to help them grow and succeed.

A great way to listen and communicate to your customers is by gaining valuable insights obtained through integrated analytics platforms and CRM tools on your consumer behaviour across various channels and data points. One such integrated marketing engine is inspired by Hubspot’s Inbound Methodology, which helps build strong relationship with your customer at every stage of the buyer’s journey and helps you serve with a personal touch.

If you’d like to know more about the importance of ‘Relationship Marketing’, check out the inforgraphic below from Demandforce:

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Finally

Relationship Marketing is the need of the hour for every brand that wants to deliver exceptional ‘brand experience’, retain their customers, and build sustainable and healthy relationships with them!

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is www.element7digital.com.au 

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