“Real-time,” “mobilization,” “ROI,” “ROAS” (return on advertising spend); yes, each of these are cliché business buzzwords we have all heard make their ways around the marketing and public relations sphere. Yet more and more, one simple word seems to surface more than any other. And in fact, it plays an essential role in defining each of these terms and illustrating how successful B2B or B2C marketing is accomplished. Of course, I am talking about the word “relationships.”
In business, I have heard some say that fundamental advertising was the key to building close client “relationships.” I have heard others say that marketing was the essential solution to building close client “relationships.” Well, those assertions are only partially correct. Certainly, the objective of every organization is to build long-lasting, valuable relationships with their target clients. But can they say that advertising and/or marketing is a client relationship? That truly strays off course from what an actual defined relationship is. Such an assertion requires me to ask how exactly does one determine a relationship between target customer and advertising? Or between target customer and marketing? Neither makes any sense. Before the word makes any more rounds through the business world, we must take a look at what the word actually means and what it really stands for.
Relationships with clients, individuals, or audiences are simply defined through interpersonal interaction. Person-to-person communication is always required. This is the exact reason why marketing is not an actual relationship in itself. Marketing is primarily a one-way act of communication. Advertising, content marketing, or various other marketing concepts, only generate attention. They can make an audience aware of an organization, but until that audience responds, no relationship actually exists. Instead of considering successful marketing a relationship, marketing should be seen as the first step in the relationship-building process, and as a way to inspire and develop future relationships.
There are several ways to turn your creative marketing ideas into future, long-lasting relationships:
Your first marketing solution should be to plan your marketing objectives. Planning starts by identifying the needs of your audience. When you determine their needs, your goal is then to develop a chain of resources and activities that will help them meet those needs.
Start by conducting primary and secondary market research. Focus group studies, interviews, and questionnaires are great ways to get started. You can also grasp the needs of your audience through online SEO and web search analytics. By determining what your audience is searching for online, you will be able to determine how you should narrow down and focus your brand strategy.
- Develop a Strategic Value Proposition
After you sense-and-respond, then you must develop a way to make your core values appeal to the audience. No, it is not just with a tagline. Instead, this should be an exact proposal of your intentions. Develop a way to get your point across to the audience. Show them what your objective is and what you plan to do for them. Let your truths be known.
- Integrate Direct Marketing Solutions
Inbound marketing has given a way for organizations to gain quick and direct responses from their target audiences. Past marketing solutions called for long and drawn out communication cycles. Brand advertising once had to go through each communication channel before it actually reached an audience. Now with social media, organizations have a chance to skip over the old communications channels and reach the audience directly. But keep in mind, this does not truly build a “real” relationship. It merely creates an interaction that is ideal for relationship building.
Marketing in itself is not a form of relationship with a target audience. Marketing is only the first step and it is your way of setting up that first call. But remember, your marketing strategy must appeal to the audience in a way that will make them call first!