Definition

relationship marketing

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: IT channel sales and marketing strategy for the digital era
Contributor(s): Laura Aberle

Relationship marketing is a facet of customer relationship management (CRM) that focuses on customer loyalty and long-term customer engagement rather than shorter-term goals like customer acquisition and individual sales. The goal of relationship marketing (or customer relationship marketing) is to create strong, even emotional, customer connections to a brand that can lead to ongoing business, free word-of-mouth promotion and information from customers that can generate leads.

Relationship marketing stands in contrast to the more traditional transactional marketing approach, which focuses on increasing the number of individual sales. In the transactional model, the return on customer acquisition cost may be insufficient. A customer may be convinced to select that brand one time, but without a strong relationship marketing strategy, the customer may not come back to that brand in the future. While organizations combine elements of both relationship and transactional marketing, customer relationship marketing is starting to play a more important role for many companies.

relationship marketing elements
Effective relationship marketing involves a variety of overlapping strategies and technologies that help foster a deeper, long-term relationship with current and prospective customers.

Implementing a relationship marketing strategy

Relationship marketing is based on the tenets of customer experience management (CEM), which focuses on improving customer interactions to foster better brand loyalty. While these interactions can still occur in person or over the phone, much of relationship marketing and CEM has taken to the Web.

With the abundance of information on the Web and flourishing use of social media, most consumers expect to have easy, tailored access to details about a brand and even expect the opportunity to influence products and services via social media posts and online reviews. Today, relationship marketing involves creating easy two-way communication between customers and the business, tracking customer activities and providing tailored information to customers based on those activities.

For example, an e-commerce site might track a customer's activity by allowing them to create a user profile so that their information is conveniently saved for future visits, and so that the site can push more tailored information to them next time. Site visitors might also be able to sign in through Facebook or another social media channel, allowing them a simpler user experience and automatically connecting them to the brand's social media presence.

This is where CRM and marketing automation software can support a relationship marketing strategy by making it easier to record, track and act on customer information. Social CRM tools go further by helping to extend relationship marketing into the social media sphere, allowing companies to more easily monitor and respond to customer issues on social media channels, which in turn helps maintain a better brand image.

This was last updated in November 2014

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How to use CRM as part of your customer engagement strategy

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Relationship marketing is a great example.. for marketing concept..
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I think there's no doubt that relationship marketing is the way of the future - building sustained engagement is going to be more beneficial in the long run than going from sale to sale. There are plenty of statistics out there to show that it's much more expensive to obtain a new customer than to retain an existing one. 
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What's more important today: relationship marketing or transactional marketing?
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Absolutely Relationship Marketing. Transactions are a one-time deal. Relationships can last forever. Focusing on the long-term customer relationship will drive lasting loyalty.
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I'll believe that transactional marketing is losing importance when Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sales are a distant memory. Relationship-building in the form of content marketing and improved customer service is gaining importance in industries once ruled by price and promotion alone, but transactional marketing is still of primary importance for plenty of apps and old school retailers alike. 
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Like the others who responded here, I lean heavily, maybe totally, toward relationship marketing. One-ups are always nice, but they're not the heart of any business. Business growth depends on repeat customers, on relationships. Skip focusing on relationship marketing and your business is forced to start over again every day, one transaction at a time.
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Build the relationship and the transactions will follow. It's not Einstein who said it, but it might as well have been. This formula works, so follow it.
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Just like someone said, transactional marketing is one off thing. But it takes relationship to make the customer wants to keep doing transaction with you and that in its on way defines the LIFE TIME VALUE of a customer.
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Relationship-marketing has been key to our Hyper Local marketing campaigns with the use of community liaisons, as an internet service provider to rural markets we have to build relationships with the market we serve. Without local presence of a store to sell our services we can build key relationships and market to those that are in need of our service with a relationship with the market. 
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thumbs up for relationship marketing.due to intense competition in the business world of today ,customers are to be treated with due care and the passport to win their loyalty and trust is to engage in relationships with them.
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No doubt in my mind that relationship marketing is the future. You will want to build relationships with your client and get payments on a recurring basis. In transactional marketing, it's more about ROI, which is also important but since it's a one time thing, not a viable model.
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