Relationship Marketing
3 Keys to Success

by James on November 10, 2008

Over the next three Mondays I will present three keys to successful relationship marketing.

I remember watching a focus group with lapsed customers of a major telco. One participant described, in glowing detail, what my client’s brand meant to her. When the moderator asked why she was no longer a customer she looked at him like he was a crazy person.

“I really like X but, I’m not stupid, Y gave me a check for $100 to switch.”

If you think about it, there are three participants in a marketing relationship: the brand, the customer and the sales channel.  And each has its own priorities.

For Successful Relationship Marking – Understand the Nature of the Relationship

The brand, in addition to sales, has many factors to be concerned about: competition, reputation, positioning, the trade, pricing, packaging, etc..

The sales channel’s primary concern is sales.  “I need to turn my inventory.”  “I need traffic in my store or on my site.”  “I want my customers to be happy and satisfied with their purchase, and I want them to come back many times.”

The customer is looking for a low hassle solution to their problem at a reasonable price. They are willing to be loyal but not at the price of practicality.

I developed an approach to relationship marketing when I worked in Europe that has been effective every time I’ve employ it. Break marketing communication into two streams, one representing the brand’s voice and the other representing the sales channel. The brand can focus its energy and resources on the five Relationship Marketing Principles. And sales can focus, without apology, on what it, and frankly the customers, are looking for, an efficient commercial transaction.

Hip Shots

  • Understand the needs of all the constituents to create a balanced series of customer communications.
  • Ask each piece of customer communication to only do one job.
  • Brand communication should focus on building a value proposition with customers that goes beyond the functional benefits of the product.
  • Sales communication should focus on making the transaction as efficient as possible.
  • Use behavioral data to target brand and sale communication messaging to be relevant to each customer cohort.

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