Article

James Darrall
James Darrall 7 December 2017

What is relationship marketing and how can it help you get referrals?

You may be contacting fewer people and doing it less frequently but the biggest benefit of this is you will be attracting the right audience. This audience will love your content, they will love working with you and they will love telling everybody about how great you are. Professional services firms put great emphasis on referrals and relationship marketing is the best way of achieving this.

In short, relationship marketing is about trust and delivering on promises, as outlined by Dr. Christian Grönroos (1990).

"To establish, maintain and enhance relationships with customers and other partners, at a profit, so that the objectives of the parties involved are met. This is achieved by a mutual exchange and fulfillment of promises".

When somebody signs up to receive your content it is done so in the trust that you will engage with them on the terms originally "agreed", at the point of sign up. This can almost be viewed as your first transaction with this individual. Contacts exchange their personal details in return for your valuable, timely, relevant content. This consequently allows you to build your brand equity, defined as:

A brand's power derived from the goodwill and name recognition that it has earned over time, which translates into higher sales volume and higher profit margins against competing brands. (Olenski, 2013)

Relationship marketing is different to other forms of marketing in that it is focused on customer satisfaction, customer retention and the long term value of customer relationships, rather than more short term, transactional relationships. If however, you take your contacts permission to market to them for granted and send them anything and everything that is not relevant to them, they may well get buyers remorse from this "transaction" and retract that permission for you to engage them, as you have broken that trust. This decreases your brand equity.

Avoid having a leaky bucket!

Customer centricity is one of the key concepts in relationship marketing. Rather than focusing on recruiting new customers to replace customers who move on (like a leaky bucket) emphasis should be put on retaining customers (Jim Blythe, 2009).

The "Right" way to do Relationship Marketing

In their book "Precision Marketing: Maximizing Revenue Through Relevance" (2012) Sandra Zoratti and Lee Gallagher suggest using analytics to achieve relevance in your marketing. Precision marketing is:

  • Sending the right message
  • To the right person
  • At the right time
  • Through the right channel

​Companies that successfully engage their B2B customers realize 63% lower customer attrition, 55% higher share of wallet, and 50% higher productivity. (Gallup)

Firms hold so much data on clients, from regular CRM data and marketing insights through to financial and sales records. What's their general demographic? Have they paid their bills? Are they opening our emails? Did they come to our events? Are they giving us more work? Who knows who best? Do we have their explicit consent to market to them? What have they subscribed to? The key to doing relationship marketing successfully is bringing this data into one 360 degree view of that contact. With the technology solutions available these days there is no excuse why this cannot be achieved. An added bonus is that this will also make GDPR a breeze for you, possibly saving you 4% of your revenue or $20 million in fines!

Summary

You may be contacting fewer people and doing it less frequently but the biggest benefit of this is you will be attracting the right audience. This audience will love your content, they will love working with you and they will love telling everybody about how great you are. Professional services firms put great emphasis on referrals and relationship marketing is the best way of achieving this

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of traditional outreach methods to get in touch with targeted buyers or sellers.Here are some of the best and fastest growing global B2B platforms that are helping thousands of businesses in the world to grow and reach their international and local clients.

Salman Sharif
Salman Sharif 7 July 2017
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Collection Of The Best Email Testing Tools Online

Collection Of The Best Email Testing Tools Online

Don’t be afraid of email testing. There are many free or freemium tools online that can help you with testing your SPAM score, deliverability and even the rendering of your email. We feature 30 email testing tools in this article. Check out the complete list!

Roland Pokornyik
Roland Pokornyik 31 October 2016
Read more
How does social engagement contribute to the overall customer experience? New research!

How does social engagement contribute to the overall customer experience? New research!

It is now widely accepted that companies offering an excellent customer experience (CX) are more likely than their peers to deliver against their commercial objectives. New research from Digital Doughnut and Hootsuite is dedicated to looking at how companies are using social media channels in the context of their broader CX strategy.

Linus Gregoriadis
Linus Gregoriadis 16 January 2018
Read more