Effective relationship marketing requires careful planning and implementation. Like all strategy implementation you need to align the right technologies, processes…and people.
1 – People Strategy
Make sure you have a clear relationship marketing strategy that reflects and supports your business strategy, and the right marketing team to deliver it.
A highly effective strategy will achieve security, business intelligence and efficiency. The relationship marketing approach needs to be long term. There can be a ‘churn and burn’ culture in marketing and business development teams, and not the longevity needed to nurture the connections.
Relationships are made and may end quickly when staff leave. You need to invest in the resources and roles that support relationship growth, and put systems in place that capture insights when people do exit the firm. It is worth paying for the right level of resource: someone who really understands the firm’s long-term strategy and sees the big picture; someone who adapts as required to the insights that today’s marketing technology can generate thanks to more accurate reporting and measurement.
The right people, with the right technology and approach, can help reposition your marketing team from being seen as “the people who can organize a good party” into people who truly add value to the organization.
2 – Know Your Customer
Get to really know, understand and value your customers. Build up a picture.
Firms hold huge quantities of customer data. Data from regular CRM activity, content management, financial records, responses to marketing campaigns, marketing metrics, sales records and even client feedback. Keeping it all in one place builds up a persona for that individual and the organization. It reflects the full customer life cycle and their value to the firm.
It also provides essential business intelligence and the opportunity to analyse customer data that will give you the insights to make decisions on the next best action to take. If this seems complicated, find a technology partner who are willing and able to help you achieve this.
These long-term insights will tell you how that client wants to interact with you. You may not hear from them for some time, and in the interim you still need to make sure that the dialog is maintained so that when they are ready to come back for additional work, they come straight to you. The strength of the relationship lies in being carefully nurtured across the entirety of that relationship.
3 – Communicate
Communicate regularly, in a tailored way, with the content you know your customers want to receive (because you’ve built their profile and listened to their feedback).
Communicate frequently and appropriately. Build in that two-way communication and encourage feedback. It is hard to get in front of people face-to-face but this is where digital marketing techniques come in:
- Implement nurturing programs around particular topics and areas of interest that people will want to to sign up for without being asked
- Develop insights, advice and thinking that are useful and relevant to your clients
- Tailor your products and services to your clients because you listen to them and understand their needs.
- Reward your clients for their loyalty. It could be a special client offering, or an enhancement to the customer service offering or access to privileged content.
Your cloud-based relationship marketing technology should make it quick and easy for you to deliver the digital content your clients want, on the device they want, when they want it. It should help you capture their preferences, give you deep analytical insights and understand their behaviors at a glance. It should make communication and tracking engagement simple.
But if you really want to build great client relationships remember that people do business with people – not technology – so having the team you need to connect with your clients should be your starting point.
By Annabel Power, Managing Director, Concep APAC