Thursday Thoughts: Relationship Marketing
What is Relationship Marketing?
Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to build and foster long-term relationships with customers. The goal is to establish customer loyalty for repeat sales; however, these customers also tend to act as good referral sources.
Think of brands you use and purchase from repeatedly. You have a relationship with these companies as they continue reaching out and selling to you. In comparison, there are companies you may buy from only once and never hear from again; you may not even remember their names.
In B2B marketing, we use traditional marketing in certain instances, but relationship marketing in others. We work with many companies that utilize us for the strategy and execution of their traditional marketing, but also have us oversee and aid in relationship marketing, alongside their sales team.
Traditional Marketing vs. Relationship Marketing
Traditional marketing uses one-way communication from the brand to audience and consists of:
- Communicating via mass messaging: one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.
- Making the initial sale as quickly as possible.
Relationship marketing uses two-way communication between the brand and audience and consists of:
- Personalizing the marketing experience: specialized messaging for each consumer or a specific customer segment.
- Engaging with customers continuously—before, during and after every sale.
- Creating customer loyalty and retaining customers for future sales.
- Utilizing customers as brand advocates.
Relationship Marketing and Social Media
Social media plays a very important role in relationship marketing because of its two-way conversation that can happen very quickly. It is a great tool to reach masses of people but also to interact with them one-on-one electronically, either publicly or through direct messages. When public, your customers act as influencers; your company’s social audience is immediately exaggerated as the customers’ audiences can see your conversation. When these ‘friends-of-friends’ see your posts, they too can decide whether or not they want to form relationships with your company and buy from you.
The major question to think about here is if your audience is even on social media, and if so, which channels are best to reach them. Depending on your brand and services, social media can be used as a primary channel for communication with customers. For B2B marketing, keep in mind that while your company LinkedIn page may not have many followers, your sales team and other customer-facing contacts can expand your reach by sharing and liking your company’s posts on their personal LinkedIn accounts.
Check back soon for a follow-up article on how to get started with Relationship Marketing and what mistakes to avoid!