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What is Customer Relationship Marketing?

Marketing encompasses a very broad, expansive category under which many forms of marketing exist. You’ve heard of digital marketing, social media marketing, networking marketing, content marketing, and on and on the list goes.

However, customer relationship marketing (or CRM), is arguably among the most important forms of marketing.

Why?

Because it is one of a few types of marketing that emphasizes the importance of the human aspect in business.

When you get right down to it, business is not about a product or a service. It’s about people. That is why relationship marketing should be among the most utilized forms of marketing within your business.

But to effectively reap the benefits of customer relationship marketing, you must first have a solid idea of what it is, why your business needs it, and how to implement it.

In this article, we cover why it is important to have a stronger understanding of customer relationship marketing.

The 5 Ws

It isn’t enough to merely understand the relationship marketing definition. That is important, but knowing how to define it is merely the first step. When asking the question “What is relationship marketing?” in an attempt to better understand it, you must also ask “who, what, where, when, and why?”

Who

Who you design your customer marketing relationship strategy for depends on who is your target audience. Refer to your ideal customer profile that you created when you wrote your business plan. Evaluate your current customer base. Look at your prospective customer base and the general public you are sending a message to.

What

Techopedia defines customer relationship marketing as “a business process in which client relationships, customer loyalty, and brand value are built through marketing strategies and activities.” People and marketing go hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other.

There is no point in creating a marketing strategy without people to market to and there is no chance of getting people as customers until you market effectively to them. This means the way you shape your marketing strategy is incredibly important and it should always be people-focused.

Where

Customer relationship marketing can be executed both in person and online. However, this is too general a statement to make. When you start coming up with your customer relationship marketing strategy, approach it like a business plan.

Get specific about where you would conduct CRM strategies in person. At your place of business? At a conference or trade show? At community events in your region?

Be very detailed regarding where exactly you will execute CRM strategies online, as well. Through an email marketing campaign? Across social media platforms? Which ones? On your website’s blog? Through customer service chats?

When

When should you be executing customer relationship marketing strategies? Well, ideally, all the time. It should be ingrained in every other form of marketing strategy you use: content marketing, social media marketing, and so on.

When you are putting together your social media marketing strategy ask “how can I develop this in such a way that resonates with the people who see it and offers real value to them?” Keep the general public, your ideal customers, and your current customers in mind with all of your general marketing practices and business operations.

Why

There are countless reasons to implement a customer relationship marketing strategy, but the most important one is this: Your business depends on it. It is a necessity for any business that seeks to actually flourish rather than just make it by every month. Your business is nothing without customers (people) so keep them at the center of every business and marketing decision you make.

customer relationship marketing 5 Ws, how to come up with your customer relationship marketing strategy

What is the Importance of Customer Relationship Marketing?

Customer relationship marketing comes with a myriad of benefits and is necessary for several reasons. Firstly, it demonstrates to your existing customers that you genuinely care about their needs and desires and have a vested interest in helping them attain what they seek while providing a solution to their problem.

It also allows you to provide excellent customer service and showcase greater commitment on a higher level. Customer relationship marketing is arguably the most authentic and effective form of marketing.

Just a few examples of the many benefits CRM has to offer include:

  • Better two-way communication with customers
  • Increased referrals and lead generation
  • A more enhanced understanding of your customer’s needs, concerns, problems, and desires
  • Improved customer experiences
  • A competitive edge over other businesses in your industry
  • Potential for increased revenue

What are the Main Types of Customer Relationship Marketing?

There are many types and levels of customer relationship marketing, including basic, reactive, accountable, proactive, and partnership.

  • Basic CRM: Basic customer relationship marketing is the initial stage; the time when you convert a lead into a customer. Alternatively, this is known as a direct sale.
  • Reactive CRM: Once you have made the sale, the next step is to respond by asking the customer to provide feedback about their buying experience.
  • Accountable CRM: This can go hand-in-hand with reactive CRM. Accountable customer relationship marketing involves directly contacting the customer after a sale to confirm the product or service has satisfied their needs. This will allow you to inquire about feedback if you haven’t already established other avenues to get it. It is also the most opportune time to ask the customer what else you can do for them.
  • Proactive CRM: Once you receive feedback from the customer, you can step into a more collaborative phase of customer relationship marketing. Proactive CRM involves allowing the customer’s feedback to influence the next steps you take to improve the product or service, the buying experience, and your CRM strategy.
  • Partnership CRM: The primary goal of customer relationship marketing is to ensure a one-time buyer can be converted into a loyal, repeat customer. This will involve tailoring the product or service (or future products and services) to meet and exceed their needs or desires. To foster lasting relationships with customers, establish ways to stay in contact with them. Next, encourage them to sign up as an email subscriber, follow your social media pages, or alert them when your company is offering rewards and discounts on various products or services.

How Do You Build Customer Relationships in Marketing?

There are countless ways to build relationships with customers with effective marketing strategies. The key is to determine which strategies align best with your company’s mission and brand (as well as who your ideal customer is). The way you build your customer relationship marketing strategy will be influenced largely by your key demographic and the type of business you operate. Building those relationships will be a step-by-step process.

Do Your Research

Spend plenty of time familiarizing yourself with customer relationship marketing and the various types of CRM as well as the various tools for implementing CRM. Read articles online and talk to other business owners who have successfully implemented a customer relationship marketing strategy. Discuss CRM with your employees and colleagues, and listen to your customers. This is the initial phase where you will focus mainly on absorbing new information and brainstorming a creative strategy.

Put it on Paper

Time to write it all out. Take notes while you conduct your CRM research so you can incorporate them into your written CRM strategy. Approach this like writing a business plan.

Don’t be vague or overly generalize certain areas. Write down the specifics for each category. Write measurable goals with dates, deadlines, and numbers.

Use Multiple Avenues

Just as people should not rely on one stock in their investment portfolio, businesses should not rely on only one tool or platform for executing customer relationship marketing strategies. Most businesses will have broad platforms, including in-person customer relationship marketing and online customer relationship marketing. Within those two categories are many subcategories.

Be Intentional About the Avenues You Use

This means figuring out which social media platforms perform best for your business and its customer relationship marketing strategy. Deciding whether video or written content (or a hybrid of both) resonates better with your target audience. In the beginning, this may be a process of trial and error while figuring out which systems work.

Always Welcome Feedback

The best way to know how to better cater to your customers is to ask them directly. Have survey cards at your place of business. Place an online survey form on your website. Invite loyal customers to participate in a market research study (and offer them rewards and incentives to do this). The feedback you receive will help you fine-tune your customer marketing strategy over time.

What is an Example of Relationship Marketing?

A great way to refine and design your customer relationship marketing strategy is to review and examine relationship marketing examples already proven to be effective for other businesses.

CRM example
  • Online examples: One example of CRM includes publicly thanking a customer on a social media platform or sending them a surprise gift card. Another great example of effective CRM is having an excellent online customer service system in place with both 24/7 chatbots and live agents during business hours.
  • In-person examples: Remember walking into that local coffee shop and getting a punch card that offers you a free coffee after buying 9 cups? That’s a classic example of a simple, yet effective customer relationship marketing tactic. If you have a small, local business, building relationships with customers by being on a first-name basis with them and inquiring about their life and well-being is another example.
  • Example from a well-known brand: Starbucks knows a thing or two about effective customer relationship marketing. This globally recognized brand frequently sends its customers an email with information on special offers, product launches, and discounts. They are also one of many brands that will offer their email subscribers and loyal customers a complimentary treat whenever they have a birthday.

Looking for more ways to build your customer relationship marketing strategy? Contact the team at Content Writers today!

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Shannon helps businesses get more business by crafting content with the most engaging, user-friendly, and marketable material. For over five years, she has crafted thousands of written pieces for hundreds of clients. Her range of work includes blog posts, music reviews, articles, interviews, product descriptions, press releases, public service announcements, sponsorship proposals, and social media content.

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