Businesses can take several different approaches to marketing. The most traditional models involve communications and branding focused exclusively on direct sales.
These companies use promotions, aggressive advertising and constant merchandising or product development to maintain a high level of sales. A more modern approach attempts to build long-term relationships with customers in an effort to increase customer lifetime value and reduce churn.
This type of relationship marketing focuses less on direct sales and more on providing a consistent and valuable experience for the customer. Companies that use relationship marketing have higher long-term revenues since the cost of retention is significantly lower than the cost of new customer acquisition.
Businesses that are focused on long-term relationships need to supply sales leads and existing customers with a reason to include the brand in everyday life. One effective way to do this is to provide meaningful content and resources.
This could involve a weekly newsletter, partnerships with relevant businesses or other regular communications that are not targeted at direct sales. Customers who find the information useful will view the business as a partner and authority instead of just a retailer selling products. These communications must occur even when a sales opportunity is not present.
Social Media Campaign
Social media is another key component when building long-term relationships with customers. Unlike marketing emails or landing pages, social media websites give average consumers a channel for communicating with the company. This produces an interactive experience that will directly contribute to long-term customer loyalty.
Anyone using a social media outlet maintained by the business can ask questions, talk to other customers and respond to news or other official communications. Proper social media management will create a dialog as questions are answered and concerns addressed. This is another way to add intrinsic value to the brand outside of direct product sales.
Loyalty programs have become a familiar marketing strategy in a number of diverse industries. These programs are very effective because they directly reward customers who have chosen to maintain a long-term relationship with a business. The accumulation of points, rewards or discounts is based on continued loyalty to the brand.
They also make customers feel included in the business. Many programs reward loyal customers with some elevated status that makes shopping with the company more enjoyable. This prevents churn and increases customer lifetime value when implemented properly.
Modern consumers are very sophisticated. Businesses need to use segmentation and analytical data in order to diversify and personalize marketing strategies. It is no longer effective to communicate exclusively through generic campaigns.
Building a long-term relationship means targeting the individual needs of specific groups of customers. This often involves maintaining several different marketing campaigns at the same time in order to provide customers with the most relevant content and products available based on personal interests and previous behaviors.
The most successful companies are building long-term relationships by increasing accessibility and focusing on post-sales interactions like customer service. The emergence of the mobile market is one area where a business can become a relevant part of everyday life.
Simple applications make the brand a useful resource for customers. Maintaining a strong customer service presence increases loyalty and builds trust from consumers. These elements contribute to long-term relationships that are rewarding for the business and the consumer.