Relationship marketing has really been around since businesses started doing business. It’s about getting to know your customers and looking after them

Annabel Power, Director Concep, Asia Pacific

In the past businesses focused on outward facing marketing with an emphasis on brand recognition. Now we’re seeing it come full circle back to the relationship with our customers. Relationship marketing shows us that it is the relationship that builds the brand equity, and the customers that count.

But relationship marketing itself is changing. Digital and social media have hugely impacted how brands are perceived. Negative comments versus positive comments impact a brand immediately, often in real time. There is a much more rapid channel to negative feedback than there has been in the past. Clients become advocates (or not) of your brand. So there is a lot more at stake when you are building your business relationships

High-value relationships need a personalised approach

Nowadays firms must work harder to maintain their position. Not only is there more competition, globalisation in the digital, mobile age mean customers have remote access to offerings they didn’t have before. There is not the longstanding loyalty that once might have been based on old school networks and deals done over a handshake. It’s a new world, and needs a new approach.

Firms offering professional services rely heavily on a smaller number of high value relationships because their business is less transactional. Often, they are providing a multi-faceted approach, or a very personalised service. Whether that is financial advice or legal services, more and more it relies on a longer-term, in-depth relationship.

Globalisation also brings international partnerships, so a firm in Sydney could easily be working with a partner in London. Both partners need to be able to share data insights for their customers, and to deliver the best customer service those insights need to include the full customer relationship. Traditionally that might have been a quick phone briefing before a customer meeting but now forward-thinking firms can share a much wider view of their customer relationship across the cloud, with instant access to the full customer picture.

Use technology to create advantage

Cloud-based technology is transforming relationship marketing. It means we can access key customer data in real time, get the latest information and get it on the go. Have they paid their bill? Are they opening our emails? Did they come to our events? Are they giving us more work? Who knows who best? By connecting all the multiple platforms into one dashboard for an individual, we can instantly see the overall persona of that customer. We can also easily see who our most engaged customers are, where our marketing dollars are working most effectively, and use those insights to know what the next best course of action is.

With cloud-based technologies, the right strategies, people and processes, you will be able to understand your customers and build long-lasting, mutually-rewarding relationships that ensure you are always their first choice – and your best referral.

What strategies, technologies, and processes are you putting in place to ensure your brand is front of mind?

Adapted from an original article by Annabel Power, Director Concep, Asia Pacific: Relationship marketing in the cloud-era. Download the full article here.