How To Get Out of a ‘Relationship Rut’ With Your Customers

I’ve been married to my awesome husband for 10 years. Before we got married, we dated for 5 years. So, all in all, we have been together for a total of 15 years. That’s a long time! Around the time we got married, I remember all of the words of wisdom (wanted or unwanted) imparted on us about what makes a great marriage and relationship. Two words that were repeated over and over were “communication” and “trust”. After all this time with my husband, I couldn’t agree more with this advice. You have to know how to effectively communicate with one another for anything to work, which in my opinion, naturally leads to more trust.

Modern Marketing is in the Relationship Business

As in our personal lives, modern marketing is also all about relationships; relationships with your prospects, customers, Sales, IT and executives. And the list goes on. This begs a very important question – what are your relationships like with these groups of people? Do you foster an environment of trust and communication?

A lot of customers that I work with need help creating better relationships with at least one, if not all, of these different groups. I think that’s likely true for most companies. Really, who hasn’t experienced a ‘relationship rut’ at some point in time?

Putting our internal stakeholder relationships aside, let’s focus on the relationships that have the highest priority – our customers. And let’s lump prospects in with that too – after all, they are our future customers.

Think about all the ways you communicate with your customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle – do you clearly communicate at each stage so that you are the trusted voice when it comes to the space that your products and services occupy? Do you even have a defined customer lifecycle?

Customer Lifecycle Programs Nurture Relationships

This graphic represents the continuous customer lifecycle and the expectations that customers have at each stage. The first half represents the buying stages of a customer, while the second half represents the stages that drive customer loyalty and retention. As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to engage your customers.

Today’s savvy customers expect companies to create meaningful experiences for them. To do this effectively, customers expect companies to know who they are, engage them with personalized, relevant information, and to lead them by anticipating their future needs and maintaining loyalty. There are a lot of possibilities for nurture programs that align at each stage of the lifecycle. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started:

So now I will impart my words of wisdom to you (wanted or unwanted). Having a defined customer lifecycle will help to ensure that you avoid ‘relationship ruts’ with your customers. Be sure to nurture your customer relationships by communicating often through each stage of the lifecycle and this will help to build loyalty and trust.

Need some help betting understanding your customer lifecycle programs? Request to participate in the Exploring Customer Lifecyle Programs facilitated discussion. Also see our full menu of services that are available at no cost to Oracle Marketing Cloud customers.

Editor's Note: Today's post comes courtesy of Melissa McConnell, Marketing Advisor, Oracle Marketing Cloud.

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