We frequently talk about the strategy and tactics involved with getting closer to your customers, but we’ve also learned that the process and the benefits of customer relationship marketing are not so easily separated. If for no other reason, we say this because getting buy-in from leadership is often the first step in determining whether the strategy will ultimately be successful in the end.
Most leadership teams already know that customer relationship marketing holds potential for their company, even if they’re not always sure what exactly these benefits are. Or maybe they can describe a few of the benefits in some detail, while glossing over other important resources that can be leveraged as part of building better customer relationships. So we wanted to curate a list of potential benefits.
1. Customer Retention: When you listen to your customers and act accordingly, you keep more of them. Yes, the first step in the process for any marketing strategy is anonymous marketing and lead generation to acquire new customers. But among the first tangible benefits of customer relationship marketing is increased customer retention. Customers who feel like they’re not being listened tend to become former customers.
2. Improvement through Customer Feedback: When you listen to your customers, you also generate data that you can act on in the future. This includes communicating with product management teams, but it also includes improvements to your customer marketing. For one thing, you may be able to adopt this feedback into content marketing that continues to nurture customer relationships.
3. Increased Revenue and Lifetime Value: By increasing customer retention rates and responding to feedback with relevant improvements, companies inevitably increase their revenue-per-customer as well as the lifetime value of that customer. Lifetime value is one of the key benefits of customer marketing because it includes not just the total sales from that individual customer, but the customer’s loyalty to and advocacy of the brand.
4. Brand Resilience: More than repeat sales, customer loyalty also means greater brand resilience. Even typically conscientious companies can make missteps or even blatant mistakes. Customers are more willing to forgive companies to which they feel an authentic connection and loyalty. This is a critical difference between loyalty and rewards programs and true customer-centric marketing strategies.
5. Customer Acquisition: Last but not least, this is another benefit of customer relationship marketing. We intentionally include customer acquisition at the end of the list because while there may be expensive methods for acquiring customers in the short-term, customer marketing is a reliably better way to acquire customers over the long run. It’s only the companies that consistently listen to their customers and respond accordingly; it’s only the companies that demonstrate a track record of customer success that can hope to achieve these efficient means of customer acquisition.
Integrating Customer Marketing Across Your Company
We touched on this earlier when we were talking about customer feedback and identifying areas for improvement, but over time, customer-centric marketing should become more fully integrated with the rest of your company’s operations in its own kind of relevant dialogue. Broader decisions about resource allocation and meeting company objectives are best made when informed by customer marketing data in the aggregate as well as qualitative data insights derived from key customer relationships.