Relationship Marketing & Customer Lifecycle

Getting To Know Your Customer

Relationship marketing is putting the “CUSTOM” back in customer. This seems to be a radical idea in most marketing circles these days. The focus appears to be on attracting customers rather than training and supporting them so you keep them. This is also called offensive marketing. Things are beginning to change slowly, but not fast enough and if you want to keep your customers, then check it out and implement it. It will make you money.

Relationship marketing evolved from direct response marketing in the 1960’s, emerging in the 80’s to become a system that emphasizes the building of long term (relationship) customers rather than on single transactions. This marketing philosophy, called your customers “life cycle” offers a range of products/services, as people actually need them.

Why would focusing on your existing people be more profitable? If you’re constantly spending money and resources to land new team members, your profitability suffers. You aren’t building a loyal base of people who stay with you time and time again. Called “churn”, these people won’t come back to you. Another term for attempting to keep people and increase their loyalty is also called “defensive marketing”. Those who have already opened their wallets are the key to continued profitability and long-term residual income.

You can also view your customer lifetime value as a long-term asset. And what do you do with assets? You value them and treat them accordingly. You keep your customer assets happy so they wind up being loyal. Loyalty is worth money to your business, since the cost of keeping an existing customer is only about 10 per cent of the cost of getting a new one. Pay attention to your present customers.

The Customer Lifecycle

Not everyone is the same when they come to you for a product, service or opportunity. They all need something specifically for THEM. If you’re marketing online, first start communication and build a relationship with people. The methods are endless, such as: email, instant messaging, community forums, blogging and websites. Your objective is to show them what you have to offer and getting them to your website. That takes work. Once they’re there, get their e-mail address by giving something away right on the spot. The instant reward will keep them interested.

Provide meaningful quality information and credibility. This will often translate into program registrations. THIS is the beginning of your relationship, NOT the end. This is where you start your long-term love affair with your customer and offer value added extras to their commitment to participate. For reinforcement, show them how to get the best value and usage out of their purchase(s). This more than anything will set you apart from your competition. This step will ensure you word-of-mouth referrals (Think team building!) and retention of people.

Last, but not least, provide your customers with the tools or feeling of being a valued member of a “community”. This turns them into your biggest promoters and new team builders.

Your web site can use web-based relationship marketing, and it comes in two approaches: open content and premium content. Open content means your visitors can access everything on your site. Premium content access is limited to people who have registered their e-mail address or have bought something. Figure out what works the best for you and do not deviate from your plan.

Remember web-based relationship marketing means you are marketing person to person – not as a business to a person. The distinction makes a difference, as people will actually open your e-mails and read them as opposed to hitting the delete key because they’re sick of reading junk-mail soliciting something This does not take a lot of money nor does it involve a huge risk. It’s simply human-to-human communication, creating bonds with your existing customers, and generating referrals (Think: new customers).

Once you have a person as a customer doesn’t it make sense to keep your existing customers? Increase your loyal customer base? If you answered yes to these two questions, then relationship marketing is definitely for you. Keep your main focus on achieving loyal relationships with new and existing customers.