Relationship Marketing

Marketing is no longer simply about developing, selling and delivering products. It is progressively more concerned with the development and maintenance of mutually satisfying long-term relationships with customers…Enduring relationships with customers cannot be duplicated by competitors, and therefore provide for a unique and sustained customer experience. Relationship management is based on two economic arguments:

  1. It is more expensive to win a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer
  2. The longer the association between company and customer the more profitable the relationship for the firm

 It has long been claimed that it is 10 times more expensive to win a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.

(See Buttle, Frances 1996: Relationship marketing: Theory and Practice, Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd)

Transactional vs Relationship Marketing

Transactional marketing emphasises the exchange of product for money. It focuses on the individual sale, promotes product features and places relatively little emphasis on customer service. Relationship marketing, on the other hand, focuses on product benefits and is geared towards long-term retention of customers.
Transactional marketing is a relatively low-cost way to go to market, because there is no need to invest a great deal of time or money in sales people and support personnel. Its main disadvantage is that it generates little customer loyalty. If customers have had a bad experience or receive a marginally better deal elsewhere, they are quick to leave.

Relationship marketing requires a greater investment in sales and service resources, and is more complicated to implement. The pay-off is that customers are more loyal and less likely to jump to a competitor on a whim.

(See CIM Revision Cards Marketing Management in Practice John Williams, CIM 2006)

Undercover Marketing

Undercover marketing, also known as stealth marketing, takes place without customers even knowing they are being marketed to. 

For example, Sony Ericsson launched a stealth marketing campaign called “fake tourists” to promote their new mobile phone. Sixty actors took to the streets in 10 US cities, with a simple task – ask unassuming bystanders to take your picture. The aim was to enable consumers to interact with the product, and it certainly worked. John Maron, Sony Ericcson’s marketing director, came up with the idea, and says:

That was an easy way to create a very non-evasive interesting conversation with somebody without the pressure of it feeling, like, this is a pitch.

Marketing Communications

For every event, you should consider your marketing mix, i.e. the different platforms you’re planning to use and how they work with one-another. 

When planning your communications mix, think about:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is their preferred communication channel?
  • What is the key message(s) you want to communicate to this audience?
  • What do you want the communication to achieve?
  • What is your budget?
  • What is your time-scale?

Throughout, you need to understand the features of your event, and the benefits it can offer to your audience. Features here refer to details or a description of your event; a benefit answers the question “what’s in it for your audience?”