What is relationship marketing?
Relationship marketing is a kind of marketing that focuses on developing more profound, more significant relationships with customers to assure long-term satisfaction and brand loyalty. Relationship marketing does not focus on short-term gains or sales transactions — rather, it focuses on pleasing an audience and your consumers for the long-haul.
Here, let’s have a look at some relationship marketing examples and then explore how you can develop a powerful relationship marketing strategy today.
Relationship Marketing Examples
In the past few years, Domino’s has got its fair share of risks for innovation and improvement sake. It involved a series of ads called Pizza turnaround. They showcased a range of negative customer reviews, read by real Domino’s employees, before ensuring a new and enhanced recipe.
These self-deprecating ads genuinely appeal to viewers but go against any conventional sales playbook, which is why they work. By accepting their mistake, Domino’s re-invented its brand as genuine and honest — and who wouldn’t aspire to purchase from a company like that?
Additionally, Domino’s has led other genius marketing campaigns like the Domino’s wedding registry, in which soon-to-be-married couples can create their pizza registry. Domino’s has also done a wonderful job tapping into their digital audience — at one point, the company even enabled people to order pizza using a simple pizza emoji. Now, half of Domino’s sales are by digital channels.
Eventually, Domino’s has taken plenty of risky steps to cultivate a loyal, long-term customer base. They took short-term losses for long-term gains by gently and strategically re-inventing their product and their brand and then engaging with their viewers on their customer’s favourite digital platforms.
Surely, a 35-minute film is not the most popular avenue a hotel can take when it desires to increase sales — and yet, that’s exactly what Marriott chose to do with their film, “Two Bellmen Three.”
With other influencer content like “Episodes,” which mimics TV travel documentaries, this film allows Marriott to appeal to a younger demographic and create brand awareness on youth-dominant platforms like Snapchat. Best of all, their content rarely resembles an ad and is typically concentrated on presenting an audience with a fun or helpful information on several travel destinations.
Relationship marketing is about presenting both new and existing customers valuable content despite where they are in your buyer’s journey. Good relationship marketing should urge the random viewer as powerfully as it pleases your long-term customers to ensure that your customers can grow with you for the long-haul.
GE does a fabulous job of broadening its content and the platforms it helps ensure it satisfies as many people as possible. For instance, GE built two sponsored podcasts, which have collectively resulted in nearly 8 million downloads. Additionally, the company has a successful YouTube channel and a blog that encompasses Arnold Spielberg’s topics to 3D printing.
By consistently giving a diverse range of quality content, GE confers its desire to please its long-term customers even at the cost of short-term wins.
ArmorSuit’s warranty policy starts like this — “Most warranties are limited to 30 days or one year, but with our Lifetime Replacement Warranty, our customers can ask for a replacement screen protector for a lifetime. This way, you never require to buy a whole new kit when a replacement is required.”
ArmorSuit’s lifetime warranty outlines the company’s steadfast commitment to keeping its customers pleased. While it might seem absurd to offer a lifetime warranty, it makes sense for developing strong relationships with ArmorSuit’s customers — when the company’s customers then require other products related to tech, they’ll most likely check out ArmorSuit’s website first.
In 2014, Panera issued a promising statement that eliminating all artificial flavours, sweeteners, and preservatives from all Panera products by the end of 2016. The company continued transparent throughout the process, publishing progress reports to show a level of accountability and clarity to its customers.
Surely, it was a risky decision to accept they’d previously used unhealthy ingredients in their food — but it paid off big-time in 2016 when the brand could officially say “100% of our food is 100% clean”.
Now, they proceed to concentrate on developing strong relationships with their customers through personalization.
Next, let’s explore how you can create a strong relationship marketing strategy for your own business.
Relationship Marketing Strategy
- Implement personalized, customer-focused service.
When you’re building a relationship marketing strategy and involving your customers, your primary interest should never focus on your product or service. Rather, your concerns should constantly revolve around the customer — Would the consumer want to see this advertisement? Would the customer be enthusiastic about this Instagram post? Does our new product delight the customer?
Additionally, it would help if you create channels for immediate support when your customers need guidance. Perhaps you execute a Facebook Messaging Bot for service-related concerns. Alternatively, maybe you acknowledge your customer’s questions via Instagram DM. By meeting your customers where they want to be met, you’re showing your willingness to support them, notwithstanding the hassles it might entail for your overall business process.
- Engage with the consumer where they are.
The reason why Marriott’s strategy works aren’t just because of the content they generate — it’s also because of where they post that content. Creating videos especially for Snapchat allows Marriott to appeal to a younger demographic on a platform already familiar with that audience.
Furthermore, it would help if you did your research to determine which platforms are most prevalent for your ideal demographic. By reaching out to them by those channels, you’re exhibiting a level of helpfulness and understanding that will boost those users to interact with your brand.
- Grant incentives and rewards for customer loyalty.
To develop a long-term relationship with your customers and to build lasting brand loyalty, you must continue to engage with customers even after they’ve bought a product. Consider what you can give them once they’ve converted customers — perhaps they can get a discount on additional products or receive personalized recommendations based on their preferences.
Consider Panera — by building a loyalty rewards program, Panera incentivizes its customers to buy additional products and gradually forms a more meaningful relationship by collecting information about each customer and then using it to offer individual suggestions for individual food preferences.
- Produce valuable content that tells a compelling story.
Suppose a customer has already bought your product. In that case, they don’t need to see new product advertisements to become brand loyalists — rather, they need to feel your business allows valuable content despite their purchase intent.
Marriott’s film isn’t meant to turn a viewer into a profitable customer quickly. Instead, its goal is to improve brand awareness so that down the road, when that observer is ready to book a hotel for an upcoming trip, they’ll retrieve the compelling film they saw once and think of Marriott.
- Collect feedback regularly.
A relationship runs two-ways — to truly develop a meaningful connection with your customers, you must ask them for feedback. What do they want to see from your brand? What do they like about your product? What do they wish you wrote about on your blog? This information is critical to ensure you’re consistently improving your relationship marketing strategy to fit your specific audience’s needs best.