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Marketing: Build long-lasting relationships

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Customers are becoming more demanding and discerning. One of the reasons behind their amplified expectations is an increase in choices, which means that customers can choose the best products and brands they do business with.

Customers expect these brands to treat them as individuals and invest in building a relationship with them. Rather than one-off interactions, customers want a long-lasting rapport that starts even before they’ve decided to start doing business with a company.

The relationship doesn’t start when money changes hands, but as early as the marketing phase.

Why is it important for marketers to really know their customers and market to the individual rather than the segment?

You want to focus on building a relationship with your customer because that will ultimately create a long-term high value customer. It’s about acquisition-first versus relationship-first companies. Acquisition-first companies are very focused on instant gratification, the first purchase, and they’re spending more money on that acquisition than on creating an incredible experience.

The companies that are really winning are investing in building incredible experiences and have great relationships with their customers. Then, the relationship becomes the acquisition machine because those people end up telling other people.

The relationship ends up driving word of mouth. And you have higher lifetime value, so you can spend more on acquisition if you want to.

How can marketers merge multichannel customer information to better target their customers?

There’s the traditional data, like purchase and profile, and there’s also email click data and Web behavior. Data is stored in multiple locations and you need to pull the critical data to where you need it to be able to access your programs.

Data is changing and social data and Web and mobile behavior are of most interest because these are the channels that customers are embracing and that marketers can use to better target their customers.

Companies should personalize interactions or they will lose customers. What do companies need to do to use data to provide relevant information?

You need to first figure out the campaigns or programs you want to execute and then see what data you need to make that happen. For example, most people won’t give you birthday data, but they provide it on Facebook.

The most powerful data source is Web behavior and social data–these two areas are new-school data sources that companies should really be taking advantage of.

What are the marketing trends you expect to see in the coming months?

The first is a shift from acquisition-first to relationship-first companies. The most advanced companies are shifting to spend more in relationship building rather than acquisition. That’s going to be a huge shift.

Mobile is making everything interactive. For example, Dominos Pizza is using its pizza box and turning it into a portal for a digital experience. Mobile is a portal for interactivity and it’s already starting to become huge.

Display is now becoming a relationship marketing channel, and it’s probably the biggest shift that’s happened in marketing in the past 20 years. Companies are bidding to buy individuals in real time, but the problem was that they don’t know who the individual is and can’t marry this information with historical data.

Today, companies can have targeted interactions by bringing together Web behavior and CRM information, allowing businesses to bid for display ads specifically for an individual in real time.

Note: Content contribution from Adrian Mitrache who is a staff writer for Bestinbound.com.

Contact: Marv Dumon at marvin.dumon@gmail.com

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