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  • Writer's pictureMary Anne Thornton

What is Relationship Marketing?

Updated: Feb 24

Relationship marketing. It’s a term you’ve likely heard before, but what exactly does it mean, why is it important, and how can you apply the principles to your marketing strategy?

My name is Mary Anne, and I am your resident Relational Marketing Guru. My career has mixed sales and marketing together, relying on customer relationships to market new products or retain customers in my current position. Over the next few weeks, this blog will cover the concept of relationship marketing, why it is essential, and offer tips on implementing tactics into your marketing plan and with staff across various departments in your organization.

What is Relationship Marketing?

The Association of National Advertisers defines relationship marketing as “Relationship Marketing is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy that emphasizes customer retention, satisfaction, and lifetime customer value. Its purpose is to market to current customers versus new customer acquisition through sales and advertising”(The Association of National Advertisers, n.d.).

Relationship marketing is understanding the customer’s needs and desires by getting to know them personally. As someone who works with customers daily, getting to know customers personally lets me know if an additional product or service is right for them. Still, most importantly, it leaves the customer feeling like they are important and listened to.

Four Reasons Relationship Marketing Is Important #1. Relationship marketing helps you identify your target market

Focusing on building relationships with your customers can help your organization pinpoint precisely who your target market is. Correctly defining your target market can save time and money.

#2. Relationship marketing builds loyalty and trust

Getting to know your customers personally allows for earned trust between your organization and the customer. In turn, this loyalty and trust can lead to an increase in sales.

#3 Relationship marketing can improve your CLV

Your organization wants to ensure that great customers stay long-term and continue subscribing to your service or purchasing your products. Longer-term customers equate to a higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). In addition, relationship marketing builds loyalty and trust. When customers trust a company and feel that their needs, wants, and desires are being taken care of, they will stay longer as a customer and refer friends and family to your organization.

#4 Loyal customers refer friends When done well, relationship marketing can carry over into referral marketing. Taking good care of customers by genuinely getting to know what they need often leads to sharing the experience with their family and friends. According to Neilsen, in 2021, 88% of customers trust word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family (Neilsen, 2021).

Relationship marketing is a strategy that connects the organization with its customers by being authentic and personal. It helps you better understand your target market and brings value to your customers by establishing and supporting a long-term relationship.

To learn more about how you can apply the principles of relationship marketing, please connect with me on LinkedIn.

References Neilsen. (2021). Nielsen. Retrieved January 17, 2022, from The Association of National Advertisers. (n.d.). Relationship Marketing. ANA. Retrieved January 17, 2022, from


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