Every business owner, regardless of the size, nature and extent of the business, necessarily has a marketing game plan in place.
Marketing strategy lies at the core of your success as a brand, revenue generation and in gaining a competitive edge.
It also helps to define the goals, objectives, vision and aspirations of the organization. It helps to analyze the current situation, map the desired direction, and make decisions on how to get to the desired destination.
In addition, marketing strategy is a method of understanding and focusing on the 3 C’s: competition, customer and corporation. The internal and external environment have to be scanned, with a keen awareness of the operating environment such as social, political, economic, technological, demographic and cultural aspects of the business environment.
There are several routes and methods to deployment of marketing strategy. They include:
- B2C (business to consumer)
- Employee marketing
- B2B (business to business)
- Direct sales
- Cause marketing
- Earned media (PR)
- Affinity marketing
- Internet based
- POP (point of purchase)
- Word of mouth (social media)
- Paid advertising
- Referral programs
- Content marketing
- Networking, events
- Search Engine Marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Relationship marketing
- Behavioral marketing
All marketing efforts that are focused on building strong, enduring and meaningful relationships with customers, vendors, shareholders, suppliers and employees can be termed relationship marketing.
Traditional marketing tended to focus on transactions, sales, revenues, products and services, with only minimal efforts to understand, know and connect with the customer in a deeper and more lasting fashion.
While profitability remains the core aspiration of a business enterprise, the inclusion of a larger goal helps to drive the marketing efforts.
Studies show that loyal and committed customers bring in 51% more revenues and sales because they spend at least 23% more as compared to new ones.
Profits can be ramped up by more than 25% through just 5% of better customer retention rates.
80% of a company’s future revenues actually come from 20% of current customers.
Relationship marketing creates value, promotes engagement and connections with customers, and helps to strengthen and sustain your brand.
The strategies that are deployed in relationship marketing include:
- Going the extra mile to exceed customer expectations
- Active listening to customers
- Implement real changes based on feedback, reviews
- Utilizing feedback as a change-agent
- Finding innovative opportunities in reviews and feedback
- Making attempts to win back lost business opportunities
- Leveraging the power of social media
- Knowing where customers spend most time and connecting with them at the right time and place
- Making efforts to resolve bad interactions/broken relationships
- Deployment and implementation of smart customer touch points
- Actively promoting easier and more convenient tasks for customers
- Using the power of loyalty and referral programs
- Incorporating technology for routine interactions, email and social media marketing
- Investing in a world-class customer service team
- Ensuring the right analytics and data collection
- Being proactive about resolving common issues and requests
- Investing in top quality CRM software and tools
The relationship marketing sector has undergone dramatic growth in the recent years. Though the results do show amazing effectiveness, there are bound to be pockets of reduced effectiveness, gaps in implementation and varying degrees of ROI.
Otherwise, you would fall short of getting the maximum results from the strategy. It also helps you to plan for the future, identify the gaps and pain points and stay ahead of your competitors.
You need to know for certain how effectively your investment in relationship marketing strategies is paying off. A recent study showed that 74% of marketers are unable to demonstrate, measure or report on the impact of their marketing efforts on their businesses.
Unless your relationship marketing strategy involves timely and relevant data collection, accurate measurement, regular reporting and social media insights, it would end up becoming just a futile exercise.
Important Metrics That You Need To Track
1. Volume of Website Traffic: Visitors to your website represent a huge potential pool that can be transformed into customers and then into loyal evangelists for your brand, products and services. You can analyze website traffic in several different ways, including total volume, estimated engagement, device type, etc. Other filters that can be applied are channel type, subdomain directory, page, post and/or keyword. These numbers help you to understand and how many visitors got to your site and what they did there.
2. Source of traffic: With the sheer number of channels through which visitors/customers can access websites, analyzing the numbers by traffic source helps you to deploy resources where they’re most needed. Organic searches, direct visitors, social media/content sources and referrals must be analyzed to create the right type of marketing content and messaging.
3. Repeat or New: When you analyze the volume of repeat or returning customers to your website, it gives you insights about how relevant/irrelevant your content is in the context of relationship marketing.
4. Sessions and Frequency: Visitors/Customers may follow different patterns in their purchasing journey. They may browse during the evenings when they’re free, add items to the cart during the next day and finally make the purchase a day or two later. These are unique sessions and reflect the continued engagement with your website, products/services. Measuring the number of sessions, frequency of visits, timing, and average session duration, can help relationship marketers understand the behavioral aspects of visitors/customers. It also helps to confirm the UX of your website, whether it’s easy to navigate, the quality of content and whether the visitor has been able to swiftly arrive at what they wanted.
5. Page Metrics: Measuring the total number of pages visited, whether certain pages were visited more frequently than others and how the visitor behaved on these pages helps to understand the value of these pages for that particular customer. This helps relationship marketers to provide more personalized marketing messages. Additionally, you can also measure the exit rate, and most visited pages.
6. Bounce Rate: Unlike exit rate measurement, bounce rate analytics examines how many visitors abandoned your website after viewing just one or two pages. This helps you to tweak the pages so that load time is reduced, the CTA is clearer etc.
7. Conversion: is based on the aims of your marketing campaign – sales, subscription, downloading of content, lead entry, etc. Conversion rates are a cornerstone of traditional marketing, but they represent only one (but important) piece of the puzzle in relationship marketing.
8. Social Media Connect: The number of clicks, retweets, shares, likes, comments and reviews provides valuable insights about the success or failure of your relationship marketing strategies. Social media engagement helps you to tweak content offerings and track the success of your relationship marketing strategy.