When talking about marketing, it is usual to do it in a general way, as a strategy that companies can develop to reach their target audience with their messages.
The reality is that there are many variants and types of marketing, beyond the differentiation that we usually make between online and offline strategies.
“Over 80 different types of marketing are known, including proximity marketing, cross-channel marketing, affiliate marketing, and relationship marketing, for example.”
Today we are going to focus on the last one, relationship marketing. Let’s see what this guy is all about, how you are going to be able to apply it to your business and a series of examples that are going to be very inspiring.
What is Relationship or Relationship Marketing?
It is known by both the name of relationship marketing and relational marketing, and both terms are used interchangeably. At the end of the day, the key lies in the importance that this strategy gives to the relationships between companies and their different audiences.
“Relational marketing is the way to use communication and advertising techniques to establish solid and lasting relationships with the target audience, as well as with other agents related to the business.”
The strong point of this strategy is long-term profitability. It is not limited to contacting users to encourage the purchase and then end the relationship, but focuses on establishing close links that promote understanding between both parties.
In this way, with the loyalty of users, it is encouraged that they become satisfied customers who can repeat their purchases at various points in time.
Depending on the type of products or services, these sales will be repeated more or less frequently. Obviously, selling food is not the same as selling vehicles.
In any case, priority is given to responding to the needs and interests of users to increase their satisfaction with the brand and create a faithful and close community.
How to apply Relational Marketing in your business?
Deciding on this type of strategy in your business is a safe bet. It requires effort and patience, but it offers many advantages that will be very useful within any company:
- Customer loyalty: It is not only an advantage for long-term sales, but also for the feedback that users will be able to give, and for the amount of information that will be able to be extracted about the buyer persona. Information that will be very useful at any time and for other strategies.
- Feeling of unity: Relationship marketing helps to create a very familiar, friendly and close environment that, well managed, can also be implemented with other agents who are related to the business.
- Reputation improvement: Loyal and satisfied users are the best way to achieve a good brand reputation through word of mouth.
- Customer identification: Knowing users well will make it easier to recognize potential customers, and not waste time on users who are not interested in purchasing.
To achieve all these benefits, as well as many others that emerge from these four major areas, the strategy must be implemented with logic. Taking care of each stage to establish it well before entering the next.
Stages of Relationship Marketing
The implementation of this type of strategy can be summarized in four well differentiated stages, and the fourth is the most important of all; the one that establishes the relationships.
“For the interaction phase to work, it is very important to have dedicated time and effort to the first three stages. Only in this way can the foundation of a long-term and really close relationship be established. ”
- Stage 1 – Information gathering: Start by generating quality leads that provide information about different types of users. To help you create an extensive database.With it, different actions are developed that encourage users to offer information and, with it, design your buyer person with all the possible data.
- Stage 2 – Segmentation Planning: When establishing relationships with people, you don’t treat everyone the same way (behavior in the office is not the same as with friends or with your children).You must take this same idea to your clients, bearing in mind that they are different and you must segment the public well to direct yourself in the most appropriate way.
- Stage 3 – Adaptation: With well-defined segmentation, you can start adapting your messages for each of the groups.Define the channels to address each segment of the population, the way to communicate, the tone, the most appropriate messages and actions, etc.
- Stage 4 – Interactions: This is the main phase, when you really start to interact with users and create meetings in which to foster those links that, little by little, will become stronger.
As you can see, in order to reach the interaction stage, it is very necessary that the previous phases have been worked on. It is the moment in which you begin to relate from you to you with the users, and for that you must know them well and be clear on how to address them.
If you have not done a good collection of information, or your database is small and you are not clear about the interests of your audience to be able to segment it, it is very likely that the interactions will not receive the expected reception.
Relational Marketing Examples
Having clarified what relationship marketing is and how it is established step by step, we will delve further by analyzing some examples.
All the examples that you will see below will serve as inspiration and will give you ideas on how to apply these strategies to your business in a very effective way:
Example 1: “Loyalty programs”
Loyalty programs are the most classic example of relationship marketing, and the one we all know as consumers of one brand or another.
“They consist of establishing a relationship over time based on offering regular customers advantages over users who contact for the first time.”
There are businesses that do it through discounts, others through advantages in the shopping experience, and others with a program of points redeemable for different prizes (money, products, offers …).
Loyalty programs can be developed online or offline, and even through a combination of both. This is the case of Foster’s Hollywood and its “fosterian” users who, in addition to having exclusive discounts through a mobile app, can sit at the best tables in each restaurant.
Example 2: “After-sales customer service”
This is another of the relationship marketing techniques that can be used and which, unfortunately, is not as widespread. Or at least not always with good quality.
There are many businesses that, clearly, do not work well with customer relationships, because they end the contact once the sale has been made and they no longer take care of that user.
If what you are looking for is customer loyalty, it is very necessary to develop a good after-sales service with which to measure satisfaction, respond to possible incidents, and demonstrate to users that they are still important.
A good example is Atrápalo, which after purchasing tickets or booking travels always sends satisfaction surveys, related information that may be of interest to the user, and other emails with which it shows interest in maintaining that relationship.
Example 3: “Monitoring of social networks”
Being attentive to what users say about you on social networks when, for example, they label or mention you on social networks, is the first step to good management of your profiles. But it’s not enough.
Ideally, monitor everything that is said about your business, even when you are not included in the conversation. Thanks to monitoring you can:
- Anticipate crises: By listening to what users are saying you will be able to find those customers who are unhappy, offer them solutions and a means of dialogue before the situation can turn into a brand crisis.
- Set up discussions: Not only will you find those who are unhappy, you can also give users the opportunity to answer all their questions or to express their opinions. Find what they say about you, and give them a chance to discuss it directly with you.
- Gather information: Many times, there is more interesting data in conversations that are generated outside your profiles than in those that are guided by the brand. Listen and analyze what users say, and you can extract valuable information.
- Know the vocabulary: You will know what hashtags users use or how they talk about your products or services when you are not the one leading the conversation. In this way you will be able to know if you need to adapt or redirect the vision that your brand customers have.
Social media monitoring has the advantage of working in all areas of relationship marketing at once. It gives you data, helps you segment, allows you to target messages to every situation, and helps you establish a solid relationship with customers.
There are many tools on the market with which you will be able to monitor social networks, as well as generate complete reports with which to analyze everything. Some examples of tools are Hootsuite or Socialmention.
Example 4: “Personalization of the product or service”
By giving customers the option to personalize their purchases, you can retain users and receive a lot of interesting information for your business.
With these types of actions, you allow users to go one step further and achieve the product as they need it. They do not have to adapt to what the market offers, but it is the market that adapts to their specific needs.
In addition, you as a company can receive very valuable information that will allow you to know what changes users require, what they like, what needs they have and how your product or service solves them. Information that will help you evolve and offer better options.
An interesting example is Converse’s “Custom” platform, a tool that allows users to create their perfect shoes by customizing each part and paying very little money, more than for normal ones.
In this way, the shoe brand gets information on fashion trends, and adapts its seasons to what users demand.
At the same time, customers make purchases with which they are completely satisfied and remain faithful to a service that allows them to create their own designs whenever they want.
Relationship marketing is one of the best options for those who are not afraid to work in the medium and long term. Of course, it is not incompatible with other strategies that help to attract new clients in the short term.
It offers many advantages and guarantees that users repeat their purchases and remain faithful to the brand. Although it is also true that it requires effort and dedication, which can be quite hard at first.
Once you have established the different actions with which to support your relationship marketing strategy, the most important thing is that you listen to users and treat them closely and consistently.
If customers are important to your business, these types of strategies are perfect to prove it to them. What other relational marketing actions do you know and find effective? Are there any that you especially liked as a user?