This article originally appeared on the Prime Design Solutions website.

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Relationship Marketing: what is it?

Relationship marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on achieving customer loyalty and repeat business by developing strong, positive relationships with customers through communication and quality customer service. Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is a key factor in a successful client relationship and focuses on increasing customer loyalty and interaction in order to establish long-term customer engagement.

This type of marketing moves away from methodologies that focus on a one-time pitch and sell. Relationship marketing is designed to help us develop strong connections with our customers by providing information that is directly suited to their specific needs and interests, and we do this through open communication. Relationship marketing touches on positive human emotions by providing an enjoyable experience from the beginning of the transaction, going far beyond the closing of the sale.

A successful relationship marketing strategy creates strong customer bonds that lead to ongoing business with this customer, as well as free word of mouth promotion and lead generation. The ultimate goal of relationship marketing is to get customers, keep customers, and grow customers.


Relationship Marketing vs. Transactional Marketing

Transactional marketing focuses on increasing the number of individual sales, the opposite of relationship marketing, and usually results in a less than sufficient customer service experience. Transactional marketing leaves very little time for individual customer interaction and a quality customer service experience because the effort is spent acquiring new sales, rather than turning the sale already made into more business.

To transition this type of marketing strategy into a relationship marketing strategy, invest more time into individual clients by dedicating genuine attention to every sale, throughout the entire process. Research your customers to learn what they need and what they will need in the future, putting yourself ahead of the game and proving to them that you are the brand worth building loyalty in.

Provide each customer with a smooth, timely and enjoyable business transaction and they are more likely to recall this experience the next time they are choosing a brand. A relationship marketing strategy can help you create ongoing business by eliminating the desire for a client to seek alternative solutions in the future. Make yourself the obvious choice by delivering excellent customer service, as well as an exceptional end product/service.

Customer Experience Management

The best way to achieve an on-going relationship with clients is to understand customer experience management, or CEM, which focuses on improving customer interaction as a means of establishing better brand loyalty. CEM is simply communicating with your client. This used to occur over the phone or in person — however, the majority has transitioned to the digital world over the years.

If you think your business would benefit from implementing a relationship marketing strategy, reconfigure your marketing plan to incorporate some of these techniques when interacting with your customer base. If you have closed sales and think there might be potential for more business,  do some research to find out — and reach out to this client.

A subtle way to reinforce your brand to a former client might be to send them a useful article or share a relevant product/service promotion that would benefit them in particular. You can do this through social media, which is also a great way to improve brand image. By conducting online reviews, you are communicating to your customers that you value their input and strive to continually improve customer satisfaction. User profiles give you the ability to track customer activity and allow you to learn your customer using technology – great for large companies.

There is a plethora of marketing automation software that you can purchase online which supports relationship marketing strategies by tracking, recording, and remembering customer information, giving you the upper hand and expanding your customer relationships by providing solutions before they have to ask.

Relationship marketing is an extremely beneficial resource to get more mileage out of every sale, as well as improve your company’s reputation for overall customer service experience.