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The Rise of Relationship Marketing

In their enthusiasm for expansion, many companies focus entirely on acquiring new customers. While this ambition can lead to innovation and growth, it often also excludes the most profitable group of customers for a company, their existing customers. Studies have estimated that it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire new customers than to keep a current customer.

It has long been understood that while new customers are great, regular customers are the biggest and most reliable source of income for companies. Loyalty programs for returning customers have been very popular for years for this reason. Nowadays, just about every store you go in has some kind of loyalty program or care card something-or-other to attach to your keys. So how do you stand out? You become more personal with your customers or clients.

The Personal Touch

Say you own a car dealership. A customer comes in, interested in buying a new red convertible. You sell him one with your ace salesman skills, and he drives off happy with his new purchase or lease. This exchange was great for both people- he got a cool new car, you got a nice commission check, and everyone wins. So it’s beneficial for both of you for him to come back again for his next car, as he can trust that you won’t take advantage and you can trust that he will buy from you. How do you get him to come back though?

Send him a personalized mailer with an ad for your new low prices on cars. Normally he may throw that mailer out, but this one is different- not only does it have his name, but it compares all the newest and fastest red convertibles. This catches his eye much better than a white envelope with “current resident” printed on it or an email that goes directly to their spam folder. Just by piquing his interest, you can have a repeat sale, all without the added expense of research to find that one guy, find out he likes cars, which cars, which colors, etc. Variable data printing has made this all possible, to customize a mailing campaign for each individual customer down to the text, address, and even the content of the entire mailer.

Building a Market Organically

The benefits of relationship marketing are endless, but one of the most advantageous is the ability to organically build a solid customer base. Customers like to have a “regular”, they like to be recognized at their favorite restaurants or stores. After all, what would Cheers be without Norm?

Once you get one regular, they’ll want to tell people, and people will ask. Spending money takes a lot of trust, so people want to ask their friends or family first about a new product or service so they don’t waste any. Gaining the trust of just one customer can build a word-of-mouth network and give you endorsements more valuable than even the best billboard or commercial. This network of returning customers is the “rock” of many companies’ income, and often a majority of their profits. Gaining this trust leads to brand loyalty and ultimately, higher profits, increased sales, and expansion for your company.

Interested in building a relationship with your customers? Call today to see how we can help.