You can't fault marketers for always trying to give customers what they wanted when they wanted. Instant gratification triggers all sorts of pleasant psychological feelings, of course, and a happy customer, so the thinking goes, will keep coming back for more happiness.
But marketing has evolved lately. Brands recognize that this episodic framing of marketing might net some big gains in the short term, but it doesn't cement the necessary bonds for lasting relationships. After all, another brand could interrupt a loose bond with a similar or more appealing offer and steal the customer.
If this all seems like the underpinnings of relationship management between people, in some ways it is. Marketers now recognize that customers stay wedded to brands when – like two people who forge a long-term commitment – those brands consistently deliver personalized experiences over the long haul. Such a relationship proves that not only does the brand understand the customer, but it will always be there when needed, in good times and bad.
The biggest justification for relationship-centric journeys is grounded in the facts and figures of revenue. The previous way that marketers focused on customers – what many called "customer-centric" – doesn’t sound much different from a relationship-centric approach, but it is different. Rather than market for the here and now, relationship-centric marketing means getting to intimately know your customers so that you're able to constantly make meaningful offers that will secure their loyal appreciation and their money.
Now, understanding your customers over the long term requires more of a commitment from organizations than the short-term approach, but fortunately the work is made a lot easier with the help of advanced analytics. With the support of a customer analytics platform, your organization can continuously analyze all sorts of data so that you can have a real-time, complete view of customers, enabling you to anticipate their individual needs and lay the foundation for long-term relationships. Indeed, with the right technological help, you'll be in it for the long term.
Albert McKeon is a Zylotech contributing writer.
If you liked this post, check out our recent blog post: What does individualism and relevance mean for marketers today?