Thursday, May 7, 2015

Marketing Strategists: 3 tips for building better relationships (because customers are people too)

The best marketing strategy won’t work if no one is listening. You first need an interested and engaged customer base, since that’s the audience for your content. By building stronger customer relationship, you will drive higher results for not just your marketing programs but sales performance too.

As an IMC graduate student, I have learned the importance of creating integrated marketing strategies that put the customer first. Here are two great articles that can help you learn how to treat your customers like humans, not commodities. 

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s report “How marketers will win,” marketing visionaries know marketing success in five years will be all about engagement. Marketing veteran Jim Stengel recommends you measure customer relationships like anyone else: get them to look forward to hearing from you. You’ll both benefit from a relationship built on human connection and trust.

Cultivating this type of customer relationship isn’t a new concept; it’s always been a part of sales. But creating and maintaining that value, respect, and connection is part of relationship marketing too. In the Huffington Post article “Relationship Marketing 1-2-3: Why Building Relationships Matters MostR. Kay Green points out the key to building customer relationships is all about “providing value on a consistent, ongoing basis.” Just like a personal relationship, this takes time, commitment, and communication.

Now that you’re hooked on the value of building better customer relationships, here are 3 tips to help you get started:
  • Engagement = Loyalty. Renewal, retention, and repeat purchases are all measurable marketing goals that drive better engagement, resulting in higher sales.
  • Stop shouting. Your customers have a lot to say, so stop telling them what you want them to know and start listening to them through surveys, support logs and across social channels.
  • Be human. All the right technology and tracking is useless unless you engage your customers in a human way through storytelling, honesty, and transparency.
Customer loyalty is all about human connection so treat your customer relationships like all other people in your life: engage, listen, and converse in a two-way dialogue.

Dana Huston I @dlhNU2015

Dana is a Master of Science candidate in Integrated Marketing Communication at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She is a senior marketing professional with experience in innovative marketing strategy, analytics, and automation solutions.

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