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What Is Relationship Marketing? Definition, Examples, Strategy

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Relationship Marketing

If you own a business, you might get tired of losing customers or having a hard time managing your existing customers. Moreover, retaining customers in your business is exceedingly 😞 challenging due to the multitude of options available to them instantly.

That’s where relationship marketing comes in for your aid 🦹. Relationship marketing is a customer-centric strategy that goes beyond the initial transaction, building long-term connections and fostering trust. But how can you leverage it to grow your business🤔 ? 

Well, worry not, as this blog post will offer you a better understanding of the core principles of relationship marketing, explore real-world examples, and provide a strategy to build rapport with customers . 

🔑KEY HIGHLIGHTS!

  • Relationship marketing focuses on building a long-lasting mutual connection with customers.
  • Partnership Marketing, accountable marketing, and basic marketing are some of the types of relationship marketing.
  • Relationship marketing is important for increasing customer satisfaction, retention rates, and lifetime value (CLV).
  • Some relationship marketing strategies include offering tailored and focused customer service, providing omnichannel communication, and automating marketing systems. 

What is relationship marketing?

Relationship marketing is a marketing approach and one side of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that focuses on developing long-lasting, mutual connections with customers. The marketing strategy involved in this goes beyond simply making a sale, as it prioritizes personalized interactions, loyalty programs, and exceptional service to cultivate ongoing customer engagement.

What is Relationship Marketing

A good and properly implemented relationship marketing strategy plays a crucial role in building customer loyalty and long-term engagement with your customer base. Within this marketing process, you are responsible for creating and maintaining connections through various strategies, such as providing related goods, sending customer satisfaction surveys, and offering services related to the product. 

By implementing a proper strategy, you are one step closer to encouraging customer loyalty and retention, which can lead to higher profitability and a competitive edge for businesses.

Types of relationship marketing

While relationship marketing floods you with many benefits, knowing about the types of it can offer you a more complete view of which is the right one for your business. 

So, here are some of the types of relationship marketing 👇:

1. Partnership Marketing

This is the type of marketing that requires you to partner with other businesses with the same aim of delivering value to your customers. Within the partnership marketing method, you can directly contact a third party to serve specific customers, develop new products, or improve them to offer more value to customers.

This simple marketing approach is effective as it helps you expand your reach, tap into new audiences, and offer customers a wider range of solutions.

2. Accountable marketing

This type of marketing continues even after your customer purchases products or services with you. It involves tracking customer interactions, measuring their satisfaction, and using that data to improve your marketing efforts and overall customer experience.

Accountable marketing is also about having confidence in the product or service you offer and actively offering solutions to problems your customers face or may face. Loyalty programs and rewards programs are some of the major strategies used in accountable marketing. 

3. Basic marketing

This is the traditional form, where the sole focus of any brand is on attracting new customers through different methods such as advertising and promotional campaigns. Within this marketing step, the goal is to sell by offering simple messages, an overview of pricing, and different promotions. 

This is also one form of direct selling that doesn’t contain any follow-up after purchase and no further communication or feedback. It is simple but the starting point for building relationships by introducing your brand and its offerings.

4. Reactive marketing

This approach involves actively seeking and responding to any of the customer inquiries, feedback, or complaints. Within this marketing step, the business is open to any reactive marketing approach whether it may be a complaint, compliment, suggestion, or any product idea. 

Reactive marketing is all about addressing customer’s needs after they’ve reached out, ensuring a positive experience, and fostering trust.

5. Referral marketing

Referral marketing is one of the best marketing steps to get new customers. As the customer is coming through someone who has already made a purchase with your brand, it means your brand is offering proper value to them. 

This marketing step involves different methods, from word-of-mouth from your existing customers to a positive post about your brand on social media, and it happens organically. Referral marketing holds immense power as humans naturally like to share their experiences.

Importance of relationship marketing

In any business, relationship marketing is important because it better defines an audience and gives you the ability to stay in close contact with customers. It is also essential as it helps businesse to increase their customer retention because it aims to satisfy the needs and feedback of customers to keep them coming back. 

You can experience a vast number of benefits from relationship marketing, and some of them are:

Improved customer satisfaction

By leveraging the power of relationship management, you can focus on customer needs and tailor your offerings and services to satisfy them better, leading to higher customer satisfaction. Moreover, you can improve customer experience by identifying and addressing customer issues promptly and proactively.

Increased customer retention rates.

Customers tend to stay longer with those brands that are always there for them, and by implementing relationship marketing, you can make your brand the one. Relationship marketing fosters loyalty, leading to repeat business and a higher customer lifetime value.

Word-of-mouth marketing

Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective ways of acquiring new customers, as customers are more likely to share their positive experiences with friends and family. This is where relationship marketing can be your biggest asset. 

Brand Loyalty and Customer Retention

Establishing a strong connection with customers leads to brand loyalty, decreasing customer churn and minimizing the necessity for costly customer acquisition tactics. A loyal customer is also more inclined to make repeat purchases, thus enhancing opportunities for future sales and engagement.

Increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

One of the major perks of relationship marketing is that it drastically increases customers’ lifetime value. When a customer develops a sense of trust and a valued relationship with a brand, they are more likely to return for more, which will surely increase customer lifetime value. 

Relationship marketing strategy

These are the steps that will help you to create a strong relationship marketing strategy for your business. 

1. Offer tailored and focused customer service.

Offering only information about products and features is not always the best approach. Personalization is also an important factor in building a solid relationship. 

Therefore, businesses need to provide personalized experience that makes each customer feel valued and understood. This approach fosters trust, loyalty, and, ultimately, a win-win situation for both your business and your customers.

2. Focus on omni-channel communication.

Customers prefer different modes of communication, so staying active on any platform where your customers can send messages is sure to be beneficial. While some may prefer social media, others may prefer email. Therefore, focusing on omni-channel communication can help you stay connected with your customers more efficiently.

3. Automate marketing system

As your business expands, the task of personally connecting with and satisfying each customer will become increasingly difficult. However, implementing an automated marketing system can guarantee that every customer receives communication from your company and has the chance to engage.

For example,  an e-commerce store can segment customers who have abandoned carts and send them automated email reminders with personalized product recommendations.

4. Implement loyalty rewards

Every loyal customer needs to be treated well, and by creating a loyalty reward program, you can do so. Creating and offering a loyalty program is a win-win situation for both the customer and businesses as it keeps the customer happy and keeps them longer. 

5. Create engaging content

Content is king. Creating engaging content that makes your customers feel more valued is one way of maintaining a strong connection with your customers. This may seem simple, but it is still one of the most effective methods when it comes to retaining customers. 

6. Ask for feedback regularly

Proper back-and-forth communication is the key to a mutual relationship. So, just blasting things about your business, such as new products or features, is not always the right thing to do. Instead, you should ask for feedback questions such as:

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your overall experience with our brand?
  • How would you rate your experience with the brand?
  • How likely are you to recommend our brand to others on a scale of 0 to 10?

This information helps you better understand what your brand is lacking or what changes are required. 

Relationship marketing examples

A business can use several types of activities to facilitate relationship marketing. Some examples of generic relationship marketing are: 

  • Offer thanks to customers via a social post or surprise gift card.
  • Establish a loyalty initiative that acknowledges and rewards customers for their ongoing support.
  • Engage customers through feedback collection methods like polls, surveys, and calls, demonstrating your commitment to enhancing products/services based on their input.
  • Deliver exceptional customer service to amaze clients and foster loyalty consistently.
  • Implement a customer loyalty or rewards scheme to maintain customer engagement.
  • Utilize traditional marketing strategies such as hosting events to connect with customers and the local community.
  • Provide discounts and incentives to loyal and returning customers.
  • Develop brand advocacy programs to compensate customers who engage in word-of-mouth advertising and user-generated content marketing.

Real-time Relationship Marketing Examples

Lego Ideas

Lego has a web platform referred to as Lego Ideas through which it engages the public. Users are able to share idea pictures, post and discuss graphical content for new items, and show off their Lego work. The Lego members can then vote and comment on specific concepts that, within their understanding, can be implemented.

In this way, Lego enables its members to freely engage and enhance the growth of the creativity that stems from this community. It also encourages people to post new ideas and continue publishing their ideas, then select a few of them and turn them into branded products.

Capital One

Capital One is one of the best real-time examples of relationship management. Capital One establishes and implements relationship marketing, starting with the identification of the customer’s pain points, desires, concerns, and passions. They make this clear with their unique TSA campaign. It is rather common to hear complaints from travelers, especially from those who are forced to spend a lot of time waiting in queues to go through the TSA at airports.

This is viewed as an opportunity to nurture business connections, which is why Capital One promises to refund a TSA PreCheck fee when paid with a Capital One card. This helps the brand know what needs to be improved while still offering its customer value.

Starbucks

Starbucks is renowned for its exceptional ability to build strong customer connections. They consistently prompt their customers to provide feedback on a wide range of subjects, encompassing different product ideas and service concepts. The insights gathered from this feedback are employed to build a strong bond with the customers. 

Additionally, Starbucks frequently showcases content generated by users on their website and social media channels, featuring captivating videos and images of customers savoring their beverages on platforms like Instagram or Twitter.

Final Thoughts

Customer loyalty is crucial for any business. And here, relationship marketing plays a key role in nurturing these important connections, building trust, and ensuring satisfaction. You can establish a loyal customer base that supports long-term business growth by focusing on customer needs, personalizing interaction and using automation tools. 

Remember, relationship marketing requires consistent effort to understand and meet customer needs. Moreover, you can strengthen customer relationships by introducing loyalty rewards, providing omnichannel support, regularly seeking feedback, and developing engaging content.

FAQs

What is a good relationship marketing strategy?

A good relationship marketing strategy is a step-by-step blueprint designed and developed to build a strong customer connection. This marketing strategy revolves around personalized interactions, loyalty programs, and targeted communication.

What are the characteristics of relationship marketing?

The characteristics of relationship marketing are as follows: 

  • Customer experience
  • Customer service
  • Developing loyalty
  • Engage your customers consistently
  • Better feedback
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Personalization

Can you automate relationship marketing?

Although there are parts of relationship marketing that can be automated, not everything is subject to digitization. Some common tasks that can be enhanced with technology include:

  • Email marketing
  • Loyalty and rewards programs
  • Personalized notifications
  • Social media management
  • Targeted paid digital marketing

How relationship marketing can help a company?

Relationship marketing offers many benefits for companies, both financially and in terms of building a solid brand. Here are some of the key ways relation marketing can help a company:

  • Customer Retention
  • Higher Customer Lifetime Value
  • Increased Sales and Revenue
  • Enhanced Brand Advocacy
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction
  • Reduced Marketing Costs
  • Competitive Advantage

What are the disadvantages of relationship marketing?

While there are many advantages you can get with relationship marketing, there are also some disadvantages you can face by it. Here is a breakdown of some disadvantages of relationship marketing. 

  • Second-Class Treatment of New Customers
  • Propagation of False Rumors
  • Time-Consuming Nature
  • Excessive Closeness
  • Changing Customer Preferences

Why use relationship marketing?

There are numerous compelling reasons to leverage relationship marketing for your business. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Boosted Customer Retention
  • Increase sales and revenue
  • Free Brand Advocates
  • Marketing Cost Efficiency
  • Better Customer Insights
  • Building a Sustainable Business Model
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Dinesh Silwal

Dinesh Silwal is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of KrispCall. For the past few years, he has been advancing and innovating in the cloud telephony industry, using AI to enhance and improve telephony solutions, and driving KrispCall to the forefront of the field.

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