Marketing and advertising focus on eliciting a desired reaction from prospective or existing customers. When people are exposed to marketing images and information they interpret the message conveyed and absorb it based on their own understanding. Thus they formulate a conclusion as to what their relationship with the business communicating the message is or will be. Effective marketing focuses on the areas of greatest interest to the target audience. The best marketing messages convey a relationship that supports those interests. Every business markets to build new or sustain existing business. Business with new and existing customers is predicated on relationships. Employing marketing messages that promote relationships can be the most powerful path to long term success.
In all marketing efforts the most important step is to define the target market. Knowing the target audience allows definition of the most important aspects of the relationship between service provider and customer. Understanding what the customers value in the relationship allows the business to focus on providing those core benefits and build communications that send the right message. The primary purpose of the relationship should be supported and enhanced through all forms of communication. A customer may be looking for safety and reliability. They may be an enthusiast or be interested in performance. Whatever the focus is – marketing efforts that support that relationship will be the most successful.
Every interaction with a prospect or customer is a marketing opportunity. More specifically every time a person is exposed to a service or product a message is delivered. And every time a message is absorbed by a customer the idea of their place in the relationship is formed or reinforced. Advertisements and customer relationship support systems are direct efforts at establishing and maintaining business relationships. Other areas that customers receive messages are the appearance of the building, customer waiting room, signage, etc. Communications such as emails, phone calls, and in person conversations are also venues for relationship reinforcement. Documents such as estimates and invoices communicate the identity of the business and its relationship with customers. Company websites and social media such as Facebook also establish and support customer relationships. Every communication should support the basis of the relationship.
Monitoring the Message
Relationship marketing is based on understanding the primary objectives of the customer in engaging and continuing a relationship with a service provider. To ensure that the relationship message is communicated effectively all avenues of communication should be evaluated and modified if necessary. Marketing focused on relationships as opposed to marketing to stimulate sales transactions can be equated to putting the horse before the cart. Sales occur as a result of the relationship as opposed to the relationship being part of the sales transaction. Relationship marketing is a powerful factor in achieving long term success.