Relationship marketing is a vague concept, which becomes clear only when put into practice. Purely because building a relationship is the primary goal or should be the primary goal of every business endeavour at every stage of its interaction with its customer. You should clearly not aim to just get an impulsive buy from your client and then forget about them and move on because then that is not business, it is immoral opportunism.
A good moral and ethical business will develop a relationship marketing plan and allocate a budget for it. In my opinion relationship marketing kicks in from the very first contact the company makes with the potential client. and through the journey of trust building and helping the prospect to turn into a client. and then keeping the client a happy client as part of the acquisition stage. and then into the loyalty stage. You build relationships at all stages of your customer journey. Just like a real life relationship with family, partner or friend.
But you got to remember that relationships will not always be positive, they might involve, conflict, struggle, negotiation, unhappy moments, disbelief, discomfort, malice.
It is here that the company needs to behave like a modern father to a child. Where it should be patient and if the child is making unreasonable demands, take the argument on board and then try and resolve the conflict through the eyes of the customer / child. But equally, if you were in the wrong go forward and apologise to your kids and pick them up, hug them and kiss them and maybe buy them their favourite treat. I hope you get the drift.
Interestingly enough, I feel relationship marketing is very similar to improvisation in theatre practice. You Accept what the customer says or reacts, ie action and then you build upon it. Rather than having a monologue of trying to just sell sell sell. You understand what the customer is trying to say and then react accordingly. Establish a Dialogue, which is the basis of all great relationships.
I must confess that the closest any marketing tool has come to creating clear communication or dialogue and trust building, besides face to face meetings is – video marketing. Produce a short 30 sec to 2 min short film on what you are trying to communicate to your customer at the level of relationship you are at with them and then allow them to feed their responses back to you via social media, company website, emails, letters or blogs.
If you would like to know more about how to best utilise video production and video marketing in your endeavour to champion relationship marketing, then please feel free to contact Mike Saraswat or Indu Pillai at Ekstasy Ltd (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)