Relationship marketing is the ability to interact with each customer uniquely, based on that customer’s specific wants, needs and preferences.
What is Relationship Marketing?
Relationship marketing is the interacting with each customer uniquely, based on that customer’s specific wants, needs and preferences. When customers are understood and addressed with messaging that is relevant and timely, much stronger brand-customer relationships develop, resulting in a much more loyal – and valuable – customer base.
In the not-too-distant past, mass customer marketing was the norm, in which most or all of a brand’s customers would receive the same messages or offers. Today, most marketers are well aware of the importance of segmenting their customers into homogenous groups (e.g., “big spenders who prefer shoes and handbags”) to which more relevant communications can be sent. Relationship marketing takes this one step further and focuses on how to communicate with each individual customer based on what is known about that specific customer’s preferences and likely future behaviors.
The short-term goal is to achieve a degree of granularity and relevance that will deliver much higher marketing campaign response rates and greater customer satisfaction. In the long-term, the consistently successful engagement of customers on this level leads to a higher degree of customer loyalty, more word-of-mouth promotion and significant increases in overall brand equity.
Experience clearly indicates that relationship marketing techniques generate huge improvements in key customer metrics, such as spend levels, future value, retention rates and brand perception.
It’s All About Data-Driven Marketing
Customers need to feel that the marketing messaging they receive is like a one-on-one conversation, one in which they are understood and appreciated, one in which the brand is not wasting their time or patronizing them. In other words, when brands engage customers via emotionally intelligent interactions, customers will consistently perceive unique value that competitors simply don’t provide.
Achieving this level of personalization at scale means implementing systems that can analyze all the data available on each customer and then automate the delivery of the most relevant offers and messages at every stage of each customer’s individual customer journey. The first step is being able to segment customers into hundreds of distinct micro-segments that allow marketers to deliver interactions that are very relevant to small groups of customers. But the next step is the ability to target each customer uniquely, based on everything that is known about that customer.
Consistently engaging with customers as individuals requires marketers to convert the vast amount of data they already have at their disposal into a source of insights and actionable marketing strategies. This approach changes customer communications from being just a set of interactions into an ongoing, one-on-one conversation – – a relationship! Accomplishing this level of “emotional intelligence” with thousands or millions of customers demands advanced customer analytics and marketing automation technologies, including predictive customer modeling and behavioral targeting. These technologies enable marketers to accurately and efficiently communicate with each customer in the best manner possible.
Some specific technologies marketers should consider when planning their path to relationship marketing include:
- Single Customer View – A self-contained, unified and continuously updated aggregated database of all the information available about each customer. A single customer view is an essential component that enables organizations to understand and interact with each customer in the most personalized and effective ways.
- Multi-channel Campaign Automation – Different people are more receptive to communications via different channels, while various channels are better suited to particular types of messages. Effectively determining which realtime channels (e.g., website pop-up, email, SMS, push notification, phone call) work best for each customer, and for each type of message, is a powerful way to improve the effectiveness of personalized campaigns.
- Predictive Customer Modeling – A predictive marketing engine applies mathematical and statistical models to transactional, behavioral, demographic and realtime data in order to predict future customer behavior and value.
- Realtime On-site/In-app Activity Tracking – A system for tracking the activity of individual customers on websites and in mobile apps provides additional customer behavior data that significantly enhances the marketer’s ability to individually address each customer in the most relevant and personalized manner (and to deliver hypertargeted realtime messaging). Read on to learn more!
A key aspect of relationship marketing is combining predictive behavior modeling with realtime behavior tracking and the capability to respond, in realtime, with messaging tailored to each individual’s context at a specific point in time. The Holy Grail of personalized marketing is the ability to deliver highly relevant, behavior-triggered customer messaging at the exact moment of greatest impact.
By targeting particular customers with particular offers that are connected with particular customer actions, marketers can thrill each individual customer throughout his or her unique customer journey, immediately mitigate bad experiences, and can cater to very specific needs and circumstances. When done right, this aspect of relationship marketing creates extremely high customer satisfaction and fierce brand loyalty.
The automated campaign delivery system is triggered when it identifies that a specific customer has performed specific actions and/or are within specific circumstances. Furthermore, the system should also be able to deliver each campaign via the ideal communication channel(s) given the customer, the campaign and the activity trigger.
Customers have come to expect these types of personalized, realtime communications, promotions and product recommendations from the brands with which they are engaged. Brands must absolutely employ individualized, realtime marketing efforts to remain relevant and stay ahead of their competitors.
The Leading Relationship Marketing Software
Optimove is a Relationship Marketing Hub that combines the most advanced customer modeling technologies with an automated marketing orchestration platform. In a nutshell, Optimove helps marketers implement a systematic approach to planning, executing, measuring and optimizing a complete, highly personalized customer marketing plan that effectively addresses each individual customer.
Request a Web demo to learn how you can use Optimove to achieve highly successful relationship marketing.
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