Relationship Marketing – What’s this all about?

It seems that lately, we’ve  heard a lot about relationship marketing. We’re told that we need to build sustainable relationships with our customers. That the customer should be at the center of the relationship.
But what exactly is relationship marketing You building a relationship is creating a trusting environment based on a profound understanding of customers, their needs their preferences, and their tastes. Many marketers confuse relationship marketing with email marketing which isn’t surprising because email is the most heavily used media in relationship marketing.
But of course, that would be like saying that advertising is simply creating ads for television. It’s much more than that. Relationship marketing is a customer-centric view of marketing. It’s a form of marketing that instead of “pushing product”, focuses on establishing a relationship, a connection with a prospective customer, and then nurturing the relationship throughout the buying process.
Instead of pushing products, the relationship marketer focuses on the quality of the customer experience. Once the relationship is established, the marketer will continue to grow and build that relationship, diversifying and deepening the relationship by satisfying a growing number of needs. This process takes place for each customer taken individually, not as a segment or as a mass market.
And it doesn’t focus on the product or service that you have to offer. The product is simply the solution to the challenge that your customer is facing. Not the basis of the relationship. So more formally we could say that relationship marketing is a form of marketing that seeks to establish to maintain and grow a business relationship between an organization and its customers a relationship based on a profound understanding of their customers and their needs but also on trust towards the brand.
We use the term relationship marketing as opposed to transactional marketing because the goal isn’t simply to sell products or services at a given point in time, but to build and grow a relationship over time and to grow customer lifetime value. Transactional marketing campaigns have one objective: to make the sale! With relationship marketing, the objective is still to make the sale but not at the cost of the relationship of the spamming customer or trying to sell them the wrong product.
True relationship marketing creates value for customers who trade their attention and ultimately their hard-earned cash for information and experience, and the solution to their needs. Simply put, relationship marketing is about making yourself useful and valuable in the eyes of the customer. It’s about helping them make the right choices and to get more enjoyment out of everything they buy.
That’s what I call B2Me With that in mind, the marketer’s role is to migrate customers along a continuum moving them from the state of the prospect to customer, from casual to loyal, and from discovery to brand ambassador. So there you have it in a nutshell. That is what relationship marketing is all about.
Now if you want to get started with relationship marketing, ask yourself these three fundamental questions. First of all, to have a relationship, you at a minimum need to know whom you’re doing business with. Over and above an email address or an invoice number, do you know who your customers are?
If not, what can you do to identify them and rank them accurately? Secondly, how should you segment your customers, not in terms of demographics (their age, their gender their income, or their education) but rather in terms of their behavior and the quality of the relationship? Thirdly, once you’ve identified your customers, how will you collect and store all that information, make it readily available and usable for your marketing communications.
Okay, so that’s all well and good, but to build a relationship you have to start from the beginning. And finding new customers is the hardest thing you can do. So when I say that marketers need to guide their customers through the purchase process what do I mean exactly.

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