How to do a relationship marketing strategy: types of strategies + examples

Discover how to create a customized relationship marketing strategy that strengthens the bond between brand and consumer, leading to scalable growth and long-term benefits.
Morgan Hugoboom
1 March 2024
Comment mettre en place une stratégie de marketing relationnel: types de stratégies + exemples

Relationship marketing establishes valuable connections between a brand and its customers. In today’s economy, this connection is crucial to a business’ success. Repeat customers drive revenue and provide additional benefits like word-of-mouth marketing and increased brand awareness. Fostering a deeper relationship with its customers helps a business achieve long-term gains for sustainable growth.

Understanding relationship marketing’s essence involves recognizing it as more than a strategy; it’s a philosophy that infuses every interaction with meaning. Beyond transactions, it seeks to create a community of loyal advocates for the brand, transforming customer engagement into a powerful driver of growth. This approach aligns with the modern consumer’s desire for authenticity and personalized attention, marking a significant shift from traditional marketing tactics focused on one-off sales to fostering enduring connections.

In this article, we review the core ways to create a successful relationship marketing strategy. We look at ways to do relationship marketing, including examples and the steps to start in your business.

Relationship marketing definition: 

Relationship marketing is a strategy in which brands prioritize nurturing a positive, ongoing relationship with their customers – with the overall goal of boosting brand loyalty, repeat purchases, and other long-term benefits. 

Benefits of relationship marketing strategy:

Implementing relationship marketing is beneficial to B2B as well as B2C businesses. It can be scaled to meet the needs and size of a business, from small brick-and-mortar shops to international brands.

Benefits of using relationship marketing include:

  1. Increase the ROI of customer acquisition
  2. Maximize customer lifetime value (CLV)
  3. More targeted campaigns for optimized performance
  4. Better customer satisfaction
  5. More savings on marketing and advertising
  6. Increased brand awareness
  7. Opportunities for cross-selling, upselling, and repeat purchasing
  8. Improved customer loyalty and less churn
  9. Positive reviews and customer feedback
  10. Better brand-wide coordination on customer experience (CX)
  11. Referral marketing, like referrals and word-of-mouth
  12. Better customer understanding and data collection

Each benefit is not just a result but a stepping stone to building a brand that resonates deeply with its audience. For instance, by focusing on increased customer satisfaction, businesses can unlock a virtuous cycle where satisfied customers become the most credible promoters of the brand. This organic growth mechanism is both cost-effective and sustainable, setting the stage for a brand to thrive even in the face of market fluctuations. Enhanced brand awareness and loyalty stem from genuine connections, emphasizing the transformative power of relationship marketing in today’s digital age.

10 types of relationship marketing strategies

Relationship marketing examples

We’ve listed the most popular and frequently used relationship marketing strategies, but relationship marketing is a diverse practice that comes in countless different forms. A business should customize its approach based on customers’ needs, company resources, and other factors. 

Types of relationship marketing strategy include:

  1. Creating a more personalized customer experience
  2. Improving overall customer experience and customer service
  3. Collecting customer feedback (polls, surveys)
  4. Instituting loyalty programs
  5. Offering incentives, discounts, and rewards
  6. Thanking customers for their continued business
  7. Creating a brand philosophy, ethos, or cause
  8. Creating programs for brand ambassadors, advocacy, or user-generated content marketing
  9. Developing valuable, informative content
  10. Harnessing technology to better serve customer needs

Delving deeper into these strategies reveals the multifaceted nature of relationship marketing. For example, creating a more personalized customer experience goes beyond mere customization; it involves understanding the unique journey of each customer and tailoring interactions to reflect their evolving preferences and needs. Similarly, the development of valuable, informative content is not just about providing information but about storytelling that connects with customers on an emotional level, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

Creating a more personalized customer experience

According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers today expect personalization when interacting with a brand. This personalization can take many forms, such as using email segmentation to tailor messaging to a customer’s preferences or customizing the user experience based on customer behaviors. Brands can use MarTech, such as customer relationship management (CRM) tools and customer data platforms (CDPs), to identify effective ways to personalize the customer experience (CX).

Improving overall customer experience and customer service

In addition to personalizing the customer experience, brands should also prioritize improving the overall customer experience. A whopping 86% of loyal customers will leave a business after 2-3 negative customer experiences. Customer service cannot be overlooked in the pursuit of sales. Providing a positive customer service experience is critical for promoting an ongoing relationship with customers.

Collecting customer feedback (polls, surveys)

Collecting customer data is an important relationship marketing strategy for a few reasons. It provides valuable data on customer preferences that a brand might not otherwise gain through traditional CRM tools. It also helps build a stronger connection with customers by showing that a company values their opinions and seriously considers their experiences. Finally, it delivers positive feedback that businesses can use in their marketing, furthering brand image and referral marketing opportunities.

Instituting loyalty programs

One survey found that 78% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand if they are part of the brand’s loyalty program, even if there’s an easier option. Consumers in a loyalty program also generate 12-18% more incremental revenue growth every year compared to non-members. 

Offering incentives, discounts, and rewards

Rewards or discounts are a great way to generate sales while building a stronger customer relationship. Businesses incentivize sales while customers feel positively toward a purchase because they receive a reward.

For example, a brand can offer customers reward points for each dollar spent with the company. Customers can use these points to get discounts on later buys, cash back or other rewards such as promotional items or free products. This method is often used with loyalty programs but can also work on its own.

Thanking customers for their continued business

How to do relationship marketing can be as simple as sending thank you messages to customers. When a brand shows appreciation, it makes customers feel important, boosting their loyalty and relationship with the brand. Fortunately, this relationship marketing strategy is an easy one for any business to implement.

A brand can send “thank-you” emails after a customer completes a purchase. It can also comment on social media posts that feature its products. Or, it can celebrate milestones on its website or social media channels while thanking customers for their continued business.

Creating a brand philosophy, ethos, or cause

Customers are more likely to align themselves to a brand that matches their own values. It’s getting more crucial for companies to stand out as competition grows and customers have more choices. If a brand supports a strong belief or cause, it can draw in customers who agree with those values and stay loyal for ethical reasons, even if there are cheaper or more convenient options.

Creating programs for brand ambassadors, advocacy, or user-generated content marketing

By encouraging customers to become brand ambassadors or create their own content, businesses can grow their reach and build stronger connections with their customers and communities. Investing in these relationships leads to powerful recommendations, better awareness of the brand among target groups, and content that customers can relate to.

Developing valuable, informative content

Content marketing is a long-term strategy with big results. According to one survey, marketers that prioritize blog strategy are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI. Creating informative content establishes a brand as a valued resource for its customers.

Customers who already trust a brand are more likely to turn to it for future needs (and sales). They are also more likely to share the content with their friends and family, which helps in getting referrals and can increase sales.

Harnessing technology to better serve customer needs

A successful relationship marketing strategy uses MarTech. Tools like CRM (customer relationship management) and CDPs (customer data platforms) help businesses make smart decisions using real data. A CRM can coordinate marketing campaigns, monitor sales, manage customer touchpoints, and more.

A CDP provides a database of omnichannel, real-time customer data that can be used for segmentation, predictive automation, and personalized customer experiences and marketing. Automation tools can be used to create responsive marketing or enhanced customer service based on customer preferences and behaviors. Data and MarTech empower businesses to better serve their customers, resulting in a stronger relationship marketing strategy with higher ROI.

How to do relationship marketing in your business

Getting started with relationship marketing is as simple as:

Using customer data

Brands should review their customer data first before starting any relationship marketing strategy. Customer data will inform their strategy by providing a comprehensive understanding of what customers want, where they best interact with a brand, and what is most likely to convert. Companies can collect data through CRMs and CDPs, soliciting customer feedback, reviewing performance on specific channels, etc.

Automating whenever possible

“Personalized” doesn’t have to mean “manual”. Brands can utilize CRM and other automation tools to streamline personalization efforts, reduce manning requirements, and develop responsive marketing that is more targeted with less hands-on effort. 

Empowering customer-facing teams

By providing teams with MarTech tools and customer data, brands empower their customer-facing teams to provide a higher quality customer experience. Tools can also help teams to establish cross-organizational plans and campaigns to promote the company’s overall relationship marketing strategy. 

Reviewing data and results and adjusting as needed

Brands should regularly review performance data to understand where their relationship marketing strategy works and where it needs changes. This can include reviewing campaign performances, open rates for email marketing, conversion rates on promotions, and the ROI for ambassador or customer loyalty programs. By reviewing customer data and performance metrics, a brand can stay agile and develop data-driven strategies that are more likely to generate results.

Building customer loyalty through a relationship marketing strategy

The types of relationship marketing strategies are as varied as the businesses that use them. By applying some of the practices above, a company can create a relationship marketing strategy customized to fit its audience, resources, and goals. This personalized customer experience and enhanced connection between brand and buyer will ultimately lead to long-term gain and scalable growth.

Find out how your business can benefit from Dialog Insight.

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