Relationship Marketing and a Des Moines-based startup
By Carl Maerz, Co-founder Rocket Referrals
One of the biggest drivers of relationship marketing was the paradigm shift in the way people are communicating today. Need I say the Internet and smartphones have changed everything? They’ve thrown a proverbial wrench into the (literal) marketing handbook of years past. Twenty years ago introductions were made by old fashioned means, like radio, billboards, Yellow Pages, carrier pigeon, that type of thing.
Yes, things have changed. Prior to the Internet, consumers had access only to a small network of friends and family to lean on for recommendations. Today people have instant access to hundreds of crowdsourced reviews and testimonials. Looking for home insurance? A drycleaner in your neighborhood? Just Google it. How many stars do they have? What are people saying about them?
By now the importance of the Internet, social media, and mobile is common sense. Most businesses know they should be online in some form or another. What many don’t know, however, is how to best leverage these new(ish) communication platforms to their advantage. There are different playbooks for different businesses. Relationship marketing is primarily focused on those able to develop personal and meaningful relationships with their clients, e.g. insurance agents, dentists, crossfit gyms. For businesses operating in a community it isn’t so much about creating a buzz, as it is about encouraging promoters (clients willing to refer) to speak up.
In reality (and in 2017), a referral can take many different forms: a testimonial, online review, social share, an inbound call, word-of-mouth, you name it. Relationship marketing looks to increase these referrals by sending highly personalized touch points that leverage personal relationships to increase profitability via referrals, cross-sales, and higher retention. This is achieved by first evaluating the loyalty of individual clients, and then using psychology-driven content to influence desired behavior.
For a company to successfully implement relationship marketing there is a need for automation. At Rocket Referrals, our software aims to make full use of the personal relationships that exist between a business and their clients. Insurance agents, for example, establish a bond with their clients and are expected to look out for them while keeping them top of mind. Of course, these agents couldn’t maintain regular meaningful communication with every client without some help. Rocket Referrals is designed to not only bridge this gap, but also encourage promoters to actively promote their agency. The software analyzes the existing client base of a business and creates individual profiles for each contact. These profiles are primarily founded on a client’s loyalty to the business, which is effectively measured over time. Highly personalized and purpose-driven communication is then sent to clients to encourage favorable behavior. This communication spans across email, handwritten cards, social media, and online review sites.
Learn more about relationship marketing and our journey as a Des Moines startup at our presentation at the AMA luncheon on January 11. Register now.