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What is Relationship Marketing – The Ultimate Guide

Athira Unnikrishnan

Athira Unnikrishnan

7 min read

This was a couple of years back. I am looking for some pizza-making videos and I stumble upon this Domino’s Ad titled ‘pizza turnaround’. Quite intrigued, I start to watch the ad video. So, here’s a vague picture of how it went.

The ‘Domino’s Effect’ on Customer Relationship

The camera zooms in on strongly resentful reviews one after the other. I precisely remember reading this one phrase – ‘the pizza was cardboard’. For a moment I am confused and I recheck if this really was the brand’s ad or a competitor’s?! Well, yes it was indeed Domino’s.

Who would make an ad featuring such bad reviews? Wouldn’t it have a deteriorating effect on the brand? This unconventional ad was really tickling my fancy and I had to get to the bottom of this. Later they show the President, the head chef and the employees openly admitting their mistake and realizing how important it was for them to deliver scrumptious pizzas thereon. Now, you would think that would be ‘The end’; but no it was not.

They then show the team huddling up, creating new improved menus and preparing them. And then enters the best bit! The head chef and the sous chef set out on a mission to find their harshest critics with a bag full of freshly made pizzas. They go from door to door hand a slice of the pie to each of their critics. The customers are ‘wowed’ by the newly revamped pizza and instantly turn into the brand’s flag bearers from being their harshest critics!

Well, without a shadow of a doubt, what Domino’s took was indeed a risky step. But oh boy! The result was definitely worth it. These self-effacing ads struck the right chord with the audience. The ad not only helped the brand procure new customers but also retain a large section of their existing customers owing to its unfeigned and transparent outlook.

But that was not all, the brand took off with a series of such marketing campaigns and also leveraged their digital channels to reach more audience. Since then there was no looking back, the customer base of Domino’s grew stronger and stronger. Now that’s an amazing example of relationship marketing!

All these unorthodox campaigns have helped Domino’s tap into the possibilities and even establish loyal, long-term relationships with their customers. In this marketing era, that’s one of the biggest challenges; to create a strong relationship with your consumers. So, here’s delving into the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ of relationship marketing to help you form that strong customer base you’ve always dreamt of.

What is Relationship Marketing?

In the simplest of words, we can define relationship marketing as a dimension of marketing that emphasizes fostering long – term customer engagement and loyalty by cultivating a deep-rooted relation with them. Instead of going for short-term achievements and sales plans, relationship marketing focuses on long-term relationships that help in generating leads through word of mouth, one of the most efficient ways.

How Important is Relationship Marketing?

Stats say that 80 per cent of future profits of an enterprise will be from just 20 % of the existing customers. Retaining customers is pivotal to the growth of an organization. Customer Retention comes with creating a long-term relationship with the buyers and this is where relationship marketing comes into play.

With robust relationship marketing strategies in place, you will be able to keep in touch with your customers constantly, understand how they use your products, what they expect from the products and even know about their changing needs. This will help you tweak your products and services accordingly.

Well, that’s not all! As I mentioned earlier, when a loyal, long term relationship is established with your customers, they are bound to act as your brand ambassadors through positive word of mouth, helping you procure new customers.

Importance of Relationship Marketing.

Relationship Marketing Strategies

Strategies ought to be flawless when it comes to relationship marketing. Here are some of the best relationship marketing strategies that you can help you up your game:

  • Delivering Personalized Customer-centric experience
  • Offering Incentives for Customer Loyalty
  • Leveraging Technology
  • Conducting Customer Feedback Surveys
  • Delivering Valuable Content
  • Offers and Campaigns on Special Events
  • Customer Engagement through the best channels
  • Making the most of Social Media

Deliver a personalized, customer-centric experience

The customer is King. No second thoughts! Though a constant for centuries, this market mantra has never made more sense until now. A customer-centric approach should be your main focus rather than the products or services alone. Show your customers that they are valued. Provide them personalized attention. Here are some tips for delivering a customer-centric experience:

  • See to it that your new product or feature pertains to the customer’s problems and expectations.
  • Create Ads that will truly interest the customers.
  • Identify the potential issues that can arise for each section of your customers and resolve them.
  • Give them instant answers for their questions through Instagram DM or solve customer service related issues through a Facebook Messaging Bot.

Offer Incentives for Customer Loyalty

If you are set upon creating a relation with your customer then just know that it does not form with purchasing. In fact, to create long-term relations and brand loyalty, you should keep engaging with your customers even after the purchase.

Now this relationship marketing strategy has been trending for a while pleasing both enterprises and customers. Rewards, discounts, and incentives for customer loyalty! You can give your customers discounts, offers or even personalized suggestions on repurchase. Loyalty programs like referring the product to relatives and friends is also a great way to engage customers and gauge loyalty. Providing incentives as a part of the above-mentioned program can also help a great deal in promoting it among customers.

Leverage Technology

Long gone are those days when you have to store a big bulk of data in excel sheets. ERP and CRM solutions are in vogue now, helping enterprises keep reliable, central repository of business functions and customer data which can be accessed in a matter of seconds.

Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) enables the integration of multiple functions of a company into a single system and provides it’s access to the decision-makers of the company.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is all about collecting and storing customer details be it personal information or purchase patterns.

Both the management systems help enterprises make their sales and marketing processes more efficient, helping you gain more profit.

SAP, Microsoft, Oracle, etc. are the popular ERP platforms while Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are the lead players when it comes to CRM systems.

Do you want to stay ahead of the game? Then invest in technology, procure reliable data about your customers and amp up your relationship marketing pertaining to it.

Conduct regular Customer Feedback surveys

Conducting a customer feedback survey can help you take measures to improve your relationship marketing.

For a customer relationship to work, you have to resolve all possible issues your customer has with your product/service. There are certain questions that need an answer.

‘What does your customer expect from your product?’

‘What do they like the most about your product?’

‘Is there something that they dislike about your product?’

And the answers can be procured through feedbacks. Conducting a customer feedback survey or loyalty gauging NPS surveys at regular intervals can work wonders in knowing your customer’s mind. You can take measures to improve your relationship marketing based on these feedbacks. Well, I know making the questionnaire and distributing it among your customers can be quite time-consuming and prone to many errors. No issues. You have efficient cost-effective tools like SurveySparrow to take your feedback game a notch higher!

Provide Valuable Content

‘Content is King’ is one of the most popular marketing quotes by Bill Gates and I can’t find a more befitting quote that signifies the importance of content.

Content has the power to create a great customer relationship. And that’s exactly what became the game-changer for Dominos; their ‘pizza turnaround’ videos.

Valuable content should be able to address customer pain points, provide solutions and information in areas that interest them. Such a step can even help in connecting with customers emotionally and increase brand awareness, which in turn helps you gain loyal brand advocates.

Plan Interesting offers or campaigns on special events

Make the most out of special events and festive seasons to build a relation with your customers. You could launch some campaigns, conduct an event, include seasonal offers or do something simple as sending a gift card. These gestures show that you care to your customers. The experience will be cherished by them and is going to give a major boost to your relationship marketing strategies.

Engage with customers through the best channels

Demographics is an important aspect that helps delve deeper into your customer base. So, identifying the right platform for each demographic is imperative to extend your reach. For instance, Instagram appeals to a large section of the younger audience. By aiming at such channels you can actually connect and engage better with your customers. This will help your brand cultivate a relationship with your consumers, thus paving the way to loyalty.

Engaging with customers through the best channels is one of the best strategies for relationship marketing.

Make the most of social media

Social media is easily one of the best ways to create a relationship with your customer. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc. help in amping up communication processes, thereby helping you retain existing customers and generate new leads.

Having social media handles for your brand would make a huge difference in your business. You can share posts on interesting topics, conduct polls and other fun activities pertaining to your field. This is a sure shot step that can help boost customer engagement. But that’s not all, every like and share that comes along with your posts increases your reach and popularity.

When that’s the case, you need to be particular about the content you share on social media. Make sure you don’t post too much content nor too little; the golden rule is to deliver concise and original content. Also do make sure immediate attention is given to comments, messages and queries received from your followers. Social Media, without a doubt, can be the new home for marketing if rightly leveraged.

Winding Up!

Well, creating and implementing powerful relationship marketing strategies may not be as easy as it looks. The process can consume a large chunk of your time and effort, but let me tell you if you are able to pull it off, then there’ll be no turning back; provided that you follow the golden rule. Follow-up and Update.

 

Athira Unnikrishnan
Athira Unnikrishnan

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

Just a plain soul enthralled by the power of words and the aroma of food!

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