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What is a Relationship Marketing Strategy?

Chrissy April 26, 2021

A relationship marketing strategy is a mix of tactics used by companies to build strong relationships with customers, including methods to improve customer experiences. The goal of a relationship marketing strategy is to retain customers and promote lifetime brand loyalty.

The Five Phases Of Relationship Marketing

  1. Attract: This is when the brand and customer-first engage.
  2. Connect: Now, it’s up to the brand to pique the customer’s interest.
  3. Courting: You’ve got their interest, now woo them into a relationship. This is where you take interest in who they are and get their attention.
  4. Relationship: Your nurturing campaign worked, and now the customer is your new beau.
  5. Marriage: You’ve treated the customer so well throughout the relationship that they said yes to your proposal. Congrats, you have a lifetime customer!

Here’s A Look At Other Marketing Examples:

Remember, the purpose of using relationship development strategies in marketing is to create lifelong customers. This means focusing heavily on customer experience.

One of the ways you can do this is by making it easier to shop with your brand.

Provide Exceptional Customer Service


Customers who are consistently impressed by a brand’s customer service, are more likely to remain loyal to the brand.

The key to any great marketing strategy is to leave a lasting impression on the people you meet, preferably a positive one! You should always aim to over-deliver and create a memorable customer experience.

Experiential marketing, also known as engagement marketing, is a marketing strategy based on providing an exceptional customer experience. Wikipedia provides the following experiential definition: experience marketing directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand.

Experiential marketing is sometimes referred to as “live marketing” or “event marketing experience,” the idea is to create a memorable impact on the consumer. One that will inspire them to share with their friends both online and off.

Customer Appreciation


The Art Of Expressing Gratitude To Customers.

It’s a consistent, generous approach to engagement that conveys the importance of each customer to your success.

Prioritizing customer appreciation is the right thing to do, but it also sparks a positive spiral that can uplift every aspect of your business. Feeling and expressing gratitude has psychological benefits for team members and contributes to an uplifting work environment where people come first.

By appreciating customers every day, businesses reinforce the relationships that translate to higher retention and referral rates.

Some of the most important effects of customer appreciation aren’t necessarily measurable with metrics, though. Thanking customers can make them feel seen, heard, and valued. When you appreciate these people from day one, you build positive momentum that will carry you and them forward.

Customers Reviews


Ask for customer feedback through surveys, polls, and phone calls, which can create a positive impression that customer opinions are valued and help to create better products and services.

To say that customer reviews are powerful is an understatement. A few sentences in a review can have more influence on consumers than an entire website. A difference of one star—or even a half-star—can be all it takes for a shopper to choose a competitor over you.

But in order to get those sentences or that extra star, you need to ask your customers for reviews. Asking for reviews can feel awkward or self-serving, but the truth is that people generally love to share their opinions; they just don’t know the opportunity is there.

Chances are, you can already attest to the power of customer reviews from your own shopping experiences. Think about the number of times you’ve been on the fence about making a purchase and only followed through because other customers’ glowing Google reviews gave you the confidence to do so. Or maybe you were never on the fence at all, because you knew exactly what you wanted to buy because you heard great things about it from someone you know.

The fact of the matter is, what other people have to say about your business carries more weight than what you have to say about your business, even if they are complete strangers. In fact, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Loyalty Programs


1. Points programs (Marriott)

Points programs are among the most popular types of customer loyalty programs.

2. Tier-based programs (DSW)

A tiered program starts with a points program that allows customers to earn rewards with every purchase. Tier programs are like video games. Once you complete one level of spending, customers can unlock a new level that gives them access to more significant benefits and more perks.

3. Mission-driven programs (Ben & Jerry’s)

Not all rewards programs focus on tiers and discount codes. If your company has a strong social mission, then you may want to try a customer loyalty program with a cause.

Tiered programs can also align with your brand marketing strategy.

4. Spend-based programs (Azerbaijan Airlines)

We’ve already discussed loyalty campaigns that offer points to customers for every purchase they make. But how do you reward those customers who are spending more money in a shorter period? How do you encourage those customers to continue spending their money with you as opposed to going elsewhere?

Spend-based customer rewards programs allow companies to recognize high-spend customers.

5. Gaming programs (Starbucks)

Gaming programs introduce an element of fun into the mundane task of making a purchase. Let’s look at Starbucks as a great example of a customer loyalty program based on gamification.

6. Free perks programs (Grubhub)

Who doesn’t love gifts? Free perks programs gift loyal customers free products and services.

7. Subscription programs (Dirty Lemon)

Amazon Prime is the holy-grail of subscription-based customer loyalty programs. But you don’t have to be a tech giant to implement this kind of rewards model.

Dirty Lemon, an e-commerce start-up specializing in lemonade with a kick, gives subscribers a discount—everyone else has to pay full price for their charcoal lemonade.

8. Community programs (Sephora)

Sephora’s Beauty Insider program gives customers a choice of gifts based on a points system. But it also offers something unique: an online community.

9. Refer a friend programs (Freshly)

Referral programs are a type of customer reward that rewards customers for referring their friends and family. They help turn loyal customers into brand advocates.

A paid loyalty program requires customers to pay a fee for loyalty perks.

DoorDash customers can become DashPass members for a small monthly fee. In exchange, they get free delivery for a wide range of restaurants, so customers that use the app often ultimately save on orders.

11. Cashback programs (Bank of America)

The most successful loyalty programs make customers feel like they are getting something in return. Cashback rewards give customers cashback or money to spend with the business.

This type of loyalty program is popular for financial companies. But Gap also gives customers Gap Cash to spend at the store or online.

Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate marketing allows companies to effectively market a product with a low budget, low effort and time, and at a well-contained risk level while guaranteeing a high return on your investment, increase in brand awareness, and business growth.

Affiliate marketing involves a publisher (affiliate) signing up to an affiliate program offered by a retailer (advertiser) to promote and sell their products on a commission-based payment model. The publisher promotes the products or services using a unique link, which sends traffic to the company’s website. If the lead purchases the product, the publisher is paid a percentage of the sale. From a business perspective, it can be thought of as a way of expanding the marketing team by hiring people through third-party companies who are paid only following successful sales are made.

Customer Events


If there’s anything meeting and event planners today know to be true, it’s that making connections in person is a powerful thing. But for a variety of reasons, it’s not always easy or achievable to bring people together in the same space. It’s why virtual and hybrid events have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason.

Virtual events not only help planners expand their audience and promote inclusivity, but they can be an effective way to increase revenue and track key data about your audience. Despite these positives, however, there’s still a lot of planners that don’t know about hosting events online or adding virtual components to their in-person events.

LinkedIn Events are good for community building! Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Events Course for a full How-To Tutorial on all things event marketing.