Relationship Marketing and the Small Business
If you’ve been online, researching social media or marketing for your small business, you might have heard about relationship marketing. It seem to be a buzzword all over social media, but besides providing you with tactics on how to do it, understanding what it is and why it will benefit you, is key to a convincing strategy.
Essentially, relationship marketing needs to meet the following criteria:
- long-term – this is where the “relationship” part comes in. While in life you may get away with being a commitment-phobe, in business you cant afford to be in it for the short term – its a well known fact that keeping a customer is cheaper than winning a new one.
- mutually beneficial – both parties in this relationship will need to get value out of the interaction – for the business – its profit, for the customer its the value they perceive from the product or service purchased
- Buyer and seller both focus on satisfactory exchanges, and value enhancement – so similar to the above point, everyone benefits.
So here’s how it works…
Once a satisfactory exchange has occurred, the customer starts to deepen the trust they have for the company and the company starts to have a better understanding of what the customer needs.
This information is fed back to the marketing department, who then adjust their marketing to meet the needs of the customer. The company as a whole meanwhile, strives to ensure that the customer continues to receive value, and also strives to increase the value provided.
Eventually, this results in a strong relationship between the company and the customer, and they become mutually depended, with continued co-operation and multiple satisfactory exchanges follow.
Customer Relationship Management
The issue of handling this customer information is the next issue that will be explored. Marketing practitioners use software to do market research and analyse information they know or can infer about their customers. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software focuses on using this information to create strategic marketing plans, and to develop and nurture the relationship with the customer.
In a future article, a review of CRM software will be given, but in the meantime, if looking to move forward there are many that can be found with a simple search engine query.