At Erreco Strategies we get many requests from businesses about how they want to hone their online presence and use it to attract more customers. While this is undoubtedly important in this age of fast-paced technology and ever-revolving apps, it is important to remember that the crux of marketing is about connecting with people. The best and greatest advertising schemes percolate our emotions. They teach us what we want out of our lives and highlight our aspirations. Good marketing is much more than the sum of its social media metrics (although they really help). It fuels our souls and becomes a part of our identity.
This Forbes article speaks to the power of relationship marketing, a marketing strategy that some businesses use to build steady, trust-worthy and positive relationships with customers.
In the post, Forbes interviews Jay Deutsch, the CEO of BDA, the largest branded merchandising agency in the United States. His 300-million-dollar company has made merchandise for Coca-Cola, the MLB and Bank of America.
Deutsch is a firm practitioner of relationship marketing and has etched out a fortune helping large corporations make merchandise that engages their customers. In a digital world, he argues that merchandise allows customers to touch, feel and wear a particular brand. The company’s brand becomes threaded into their identity.
Unsurprisingly, the most effective driver of customer loyalty and pillar of relationship marketing is face-to-face interaction. How many restaurants are you loyal to, not only because you like their food, but because you like their service? And maybe you have one shoe boutique that you keep returning to not because its products are well-priced, but because the owner knows you buy name and has personally stretched a new pair of leather boots for you?
In a world that seems to be getting faster and busier, it pays to be able to welcome your customers, honor their time and get to know them.
If you own a brick and mortar business, the environment that you cultivate in your store can also build relationships with your clientele. Take for example, Anthropologie, a chain store that utilizes local designers and decorators to cultivate a store that makes customers feel unique. The store is dressed up like a moving window display and feels like a worldly, comfortable, cozy and artistic home. Anthropologie’s target customer is an affluent woman between 30 and 40 years old and their products, merchandising and catalogues thrive at cultivating an emotional relationship with their customers. Customers buy knick-knacks and clothing out of their emotional attachment to the store’s brand which helps them envision their ideal life.
Relationship marketing teaches us that is it pays to be intimate with your target customer’s desires and world outlook. Don’t get us wrong, social media and digital marketing are incredibly important in today’s marketing landscape, but digital strategy should be forged with relationships in mind. Who is behind the mobile phone or computer screen you are targeting? How do you want them to feel? What can you say to engage them online with your brand (remember social media is powerful because it has the potential to be two-way).
Whether you’re sending a text message, making a social media post, sending an email, or face-to-face, remember, the best marketing tactics are highly personal.