The New Era of Marketing – The Importance of Relationship Marketing
As the marketing industry continues to rapidly evolve, it is important to understand the shift in power from companies to consumers. Today, clients and customers expect companies to adapt according to what their needs are. In order to meet this new demand, companies must engage with their consumers and know what they want through relationship marketing.
Relationship marketing is more than just sending out a survey to receive feedback, but is about truly engaging clients and customers so that they feel a part of something special and a deeper connection to the brand. Loyal customers are the lifeblood of an organization, and relationship building leads to loyalty and trust
Connecting Theory to Practice
According to 1to1 Media, 88 percent of marketers stated that they are involved in relationship marketing and understand the importance of building long-term relationships with customers. However, less than a quarter (24%) report they are spending the majority of their budget on enhancing relationships with retention efforts. The three main goals of an organization: 1) Get people into the store 2) Get them to purchase something 3) Get them to come back. Number three is where relationship marketing makes the biggest impact.
Organizations need to think strategically about where they spend their marketing dollars. It costs much more to acquire a new customer than to keep one. Relationship marketing helps marketers grow relationships and retain valuable customers, who can become free marketing and advertising for you.
Benefits of relationship marketing
Relationship marketing allows companies to build stronger relationships with clients and customers. In turn, the company and brand is building loyalty and gaining valuable insight on building or enhancing products or services that people will buy. Also, if the client and customer are happy with the brand, they will be sure to tell their friends and peers about it. And in today’s quickly paced, technology driven world where opinions, reviews, and news is flying through the web as fast as you can tweet it, having loyal customers with solid relationships is key.
Relationship marketing done well
Starbucks is great example of a successful relationship marketer. Among many other in-store features, Starbucks has a section on their website called “my Starbucks ideas” where customers volunteer ideas that they would like to see Starbucks act on. From bringing back a retired coffee drink to suggesting better ways to interact with customers, Starbucks customers are providing invaluable feedback about how Starbucks can improve its service. By acting on their customer’s feedback, not only is Starbucks bringing greater satisfaction to their clientele, but by doing so, they are creating a deeper relationship with said clientele. This results in the retention of existing customers and greater success for the company.
By using relationship marketing and involving themselves with a company, clients can receive the best service possible!
Progressive Medical has implemented relationship marketing tactics with their Medical’s Claims Professional Advisory Panel. Claims professionals were invited to join a special advisory panel to share their challenges, insights and opinions on Progressive Medical’s services. This information was then used by Progressive Medical to enhance services and even change their marketing approach. PMI responded on a one-on-one basis to feedback they received. Their use of relationship marketing is helping to build stronger connections to the company because the claims professional truly cares about the relationship.
Remember, the goal shouldn’t be to have your customers pick your product or service out of a number of competitors, it should be to make your product or service the only option they see, and relationship building can help you achieve that.
Arielle B. • June 23, 2011
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