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Integrated Marketing Association

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing places an emphasis on building customer loyalty by engaging customers and keeping them satisfied for the long term, instead of focusing on short-term aims like bringing in new customers and making sales. Relationship marketing is a newer strategy that has grown thanks to social media. It’s unique because it places much greater value on the lasting relationships that can develop between a brand and its customers, taking advertising and communications beyond simple product promotion.

Relationship marketing aims to help customers feel deep, almost emotional, loyalty to a specific brand or business. It sees the payoff in the form of repeat business – perhaps even over a period of years or decades – as well as free promotion via word-of-mouth and referrals. This marketing strategy recognizes there is an opportunity for greater cost returns when customers come back repeatedly out of loyalty to the brand, rather than being drawn in by additional advertising campaigns.

Relationship marketing takes a different approach from most other marketing strategies, which tend to focus on transactions. Transactional marketing techniques focus on increasing sales and attracting new customers, and there’s little or no emphasis on customer experience. With relationship marketing, the goal is to have customers experience such high levels of satisfaction with the brand that they return repeatedly and provide free advertising by referring additional customers.

Although relationship marketing is a relatively new concept, more and more brands are shifting their strategies to adopt this approach. Increasingly, consumers are demanding a level of personal care from the brands they frequent. High-quality products and services are no longer enough. Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” advertising campaign and Amazon’s obsession with top-quality customer service are two great examples of relationship marketing at work.

Relationship marketing like most other marketing strategies relies on a companies ability to place the customer into the companies organizational chart (figuratively). This allows a company to have a 360-degree view of the relationship between the customer and company. However, this is no small task. Companies will have to implement and integrate several technologies into one common view of the customer in order to track and capture each interaction or touch point a prospect or customer has with a company’s brand.  The complexity is often compounded by legacy systems, multiple locations, multiple stakeholders, not to mention very costly.

To help marketers and business executives identify and select the technologies they will need to launch an effective relationship marketing strategy, IMA has cataloged over 3600 technologies on Martec Showcase. IMA also has strategic partnerships with various consultants and experts that can help you select the right technologies based on your specific needs.

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