As businesses strive to be competitive and profitable, they must foster positive relationships between their brands and their customers to achieve these goals.
Relationship Marketing is a strategy to target a market, keep products or services relevant, and make customers happy. It focuses on long-term customer loyalty and engagement and affects long-term product sales and roadmaps.
To get an idea, browse the five examples of relationship marketing presented in this article: Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, Nike, Sendoso and HubSpot. They show how strong customer relationships can lead to brand loyalty, repeat purchases, word-of-mouth promotion, or social proof.
Why is relationship marketing important?
Before analyzing relationship marketing in action, it is important to understand why companies invest in the strategy. Businesses might push for a single sale, but relationship marketing is all about building lasting relationships with customers.
Improved customer experience. When a business personalizes one-to-one conversations with its customers and prospects, it can deliver a great experience around the product or service. Many people leave a brand because of poor customer service or a feeling of not being heard.
Sales increase. Building good relationships can mean more revenue for a business. Relationship marketing leads to sales in two ways: happy customers can spend more, and they recommend others to use the product or service.
Innovative opportunities. Customer needs and wants can lead to new product or service ideas. Organizations can find out what customers like about an existing product or what they wish it had. In turn, customers gain a sense of partnership when they feel heard and a company meets their needs.
Better feedback. At a time when social media is a platform for voicing opinions and sharing stories of success – or failure – many brands are paying attention. They ask customers and prospects to provide feedback in a meaningful way. If a business collects feedback proactively, it can react or respond appropriately to opinions and experiences. Feedback sources can include surveys, reviews, and customer success managers.
More loyalty. Cultivating customer loyalty is one of the main reasons why relationship marketing strategies are important. Winning new customers is an expensive business, so organizations should try to retain as many existing customers as possible.
5 examples of good relationship marketing strategies
Human interaction is important, even in the digital age. With so many options to choose from for every purchase, relationship marketing and its use of personalized experiences and one-to-one communications is more important than ever. In these examples of relationship marketing, brands are implementing this strategy.
- Starbucks. Despite iconic status, Starbucks doesn’t rely solely on brand recognition to drive revenue. In every market, the focus is on customers. Starbucks takes, engages and responds to customer feedback while focusing on building relationships through digital channels. Starbucks uses its social media posts and channels to engage directly with the consumer base and frequently sends personalized emails to its subscriber base.
One of the major relationship marketing campaigns launched by Starbucks is the “What’s your idea Starbucks?” campaign. countryside. Starbucks fans submit their ideas for new products or revive old ones and request improvements to existing products. Through this campaign, fans feel like they are shaping the bigger picture for Starbucks.
- South West Airlines. Southwest Airlines excels in customer retention and customer retention. It creates a complete customer experience through social channels, its website for booking flights and even in a passenger’s experience during a flight.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards program promotes strong brand loyalty. Members of the rewards program accumulate points for each flight, through referrals and on their birthdays and other special occasions. When frequent travelers use Southwest, additional benefits come into play to retain that customer.
- Nike. Nike faces fierce competition in the consumer sportswear industry, and as a result, works hard to retain customers and build meaningful relationships through emotional endeavors. His designs and messages elicit an emotional response. Customers and prospects should feel part of the Nike family and identify with the company with their personal growth, cause beliefs and even vacation nostalgia. Nike depicts a world where one can achieve one’s childhood dreams through hard work.
- Sendoso. Sendoso is a B2B company that uses its software to create lasting impressions online and offline. It is both an example of relationship marketing and a provider of relationship marketing. Sendoso sells a service based on account and relationship-based marketing that bridges the gap between direct mail programs and digital marketing.
Sendoso learns about its prospects and customers and helps them deploy relationship marketing campaigns. Examples include sending gifts and other thoughtful items to people through the mail. The personalized experience comes from captured audience data, and thoughtful choices and messages are tied to a digital experience.
- HubSpot. HubSpot’s business model focuses on meaningful relationships with prospects, customers, and the internal resources that support them: marketing teams, sales organizations, and service departments.
HubSpot builds brand loyalty among its partners and customers because retention is a priority for it as a SaaS company. HubSpot offers three essential resources for these audiences look for information, build relationships within your community and create opportunities to learn and grow. Their knowledge base, community, and HubSpot Academy all foster a deep and meaningful relationship with the brand.
5 best practices in relational marketing
To model a relationship marketing strategy on these examples, prioritize these key principles of the approach.
Focus on customer needs. Listen and react to customer feedback to inform the company’s next steps.
Be authentic and informative. Be honest and share a client’s ideas with others when it benefits them. And be available to communicate when a customer needs or wants it.
Add a personalized experience. Deliver tailored campaigns specific to the interests and needs of an individual, not a wider audience. Personalized offers and gifts are good examples.
Show customers you appreciate them. Offer loyalty programs, special birthday offers, and rewards for customer feedback and interaction.
Provide ongoing support. Evaluate your company’s return and warranty policy, customer success programs, and other customer retention efforts. Make sure the client gets the support they need to want to continue their sponsorship.