What is relationship marketing?
Relationship marketing is different from other forms of marketing, which often focus on a single transaction. Relationship marketing, on the other hand, is not usually linked to a product or an offer. This means that a company that wants to focus on relationship marketing is refining the way they do business in order to maximise the value of the relationship with the customer.
Relationship marketing primarily involves the company improving its internal operations. Many customers stop buying from a company not because they didn't like the product, but simply because they were frustrated with customer service. If a company adapts its internal operations to satisfy all customers' service needs, customers will be happier even in the event that they should experience some kind of problem with their product.
What you should be aware of
Technology in general plays a major role in the 21st century, and so technology also plays an important role in relationship marketing. The internet has made it easier for companies to track, store, analyse and then use vast amounts of data about their customers. Customers are exposed to personalised ads, special offers and fast service as a sign of appreciation for their loyalty.
Social media also allows companies to engage their customers in an informal and continuous way. In the past, it would have been impossible to keep track of all customers, but technology makes it easy for companies to automate their marketing efforts.
Branding is the final ingredient in relationship marketing. A company can create a long-term relationship with a customer if the customer feels the brand reflects who they are or who they want to be. Customers are less likely to switch to another brand if they believe that switching brands can be telling about their identity. An example might be that customers who buy organic free-range eggs will not immediately switch to buying scratch eggs. Another example might be that a firm does not immediately want to switch audit firms from Deloitte to a smaller and more unknown firm, as this might say something about the identity and quality of the firm.
The importance of relationship marketing
Acquiring new customers can be challenging and expensive. Relationship marketing helps retain customers over the long term, resulting in customer loyalty rather than customers buying something once or very rarely.
Relationship marketing is important for its ability to stay in close contact with customers. By understanding how customers use a brand's products and services and observing additional unmet needs, brands can create new features and offerings that meet those needs, further strengthening the relationship.