Marketers realize the landscape is changing but are they responding in the right ways to improve relationships with customers? According to a recent 1204146_rainbow_in_handsurvey of 1to1 Media subscribers, “there is a disconnect between theory and practice.” The whitepaper issued by Peppers & Rogers Group on this topic considers the disconnect as it analyzes what marketers need to do differently to improve customer relationships.

Analysts point out that client relationships are top of mind for many firms. For example, findings indicate,

  • Marketers understand the need to build long-term client relationships: 88%
  • Marketers spend a significant portion of budget on retaining clients: 24%

But the era of social media is changing the way marketers should build their relationship marketing programs. Peppers & Rogers analysts highlight the following new realities in the relationship marketing environment:

Marketing Message: Previously controlled by brand promise but now controlled by customer advocates and critics

Marketing Tactics: Previously viable for an entire campaign and now viable for as long as customer feedback is positive

Execution of Brand Promise: Depends on company’s reputation for trustworthiness

Company Reputation: Depends on customers who access more information and form their own opinions. Reputation is no longer necessarily connected to effective marketing campaigns

As marketers deal with the empowered consumer, look for them to improve their relationship marketing programs as follows:

Integrated: Consumers will be able to connect with marketers through several online channels including email, Web sites, and social media sites and while each channel may offer a difference experience, the brand promise will remain consistent.

Flexible: The best marketers will quickly respond to consumer concerns and complaints. These interactions are visible to all who want to see them and, done properly, can build the marketers’ reputation for truly caring about its clients.

[Source: Relationship Marketing Outlook,  Peppers & Rogers Group whitepaper 9.24.09]