With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, relationship marketers are prepping Cupid’s arrows in hopes of enticing new prospects to their brands.

Unfortunately, when it comes to love – and marketing – not everyone knows how to play the game. When brands focus on getting new leads at the beginning, it can come across as a little indiscriminate; even desperate.

It pays off to focus your energy on the relationships you already have: after all, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer can be up to five times more likely than a new customer. Despite the lure of “new flings,” over 65 percent of the average company’s business comes from existing customers.

With this in mind, here’s some relationship advice to help you build healthy and mutually respectful customer relationships. If you can’t win all the customers you love, love the ones you’re with…

  1. Only fools rush in
    Healthy relationships need healthy boundaries, especially in the early stages. Don’t overstep by asking for too much – or extra sensitive data – early on in the funnel. (And never ask for more data than you’re going to use.) Keep it light-hearted at sign-up and take time to demonstrate the added value based on consumer data you collect. The same goes for opt-in from apps or websites: Slow your roll on potentially invasive requests like access to location and media files or enabling push notifications.

  2. Make it non-transactional
    Customer relationships are about more than scoring another sale or snagging another subscription. Position your brand as a helpful partner – for instance, via instructional content – without ulterior motives. Marketers are getting the message: While the key success metrics for marketing optimization are still “sales” (31 percent) and “revenue” (23 percent), now “engagement” (17 percent) is gaining ground as a vital indicator of healthy relationships.   

  3. The personal touch
    Personal attention makes the heart grow fonder, whether it’s personalized messages, bespoke recommendations, or birthday and anniversary messages. When asked about the role of personalization in advancing customer relationships, 56 percent of marketers say it has a strong impact, while 18 percent say it has an “extreme” impact. Selligent Marketing Cloud lets you leverage data from universal consumer profiles to create personalized marketing moments across email, websites and mobile on customized journeys for every customer. Our customer, Hearst UK, used birthdays and personal preferences to boost magazine subscriptions and entice fans.

  4. Keep the spark alive
    Speaking of remembering birthdays, small gestures of attention keep the spark alive in relationships. The same goes for emotional messaging: push notifications featuring emoji achieve CTRs of 4.94 percent, almost 2 percent more than non-emoji messages (CleverTap). Also, consider doing the unexpected: Selligent client and UK retailer ASDA reached over 6 million customers with a special Easter surprise campaign using location data and a Giant Hen(!). Consumers are delighted when brands show thoughtfulness: Selligent client ExtraSpace Storage boosted loyalty and customer satisfaction by checking in with helpful information on their customers’ house moving date. Always by your side.

  5. LISTEN
    Happy relationships are really like “two hearts, believing in just one mind.” Knowing what’s on your consumers’ minds and what they want – before they know it – is the key to long-term sparkle. Personalized shopping recommendations powered by AI functionality are helping e-commerce leader Amazon generate 35 percent of total revenue. But emulate this formula with caution: A whopping 38 percent of US digital shoppers find poor product recommendations such a buzzkill, they would stop shopping with a retailer altogether (Bazaarvoice). For a little help, enlist Selligent’s natively integrated Cortex AI engine to create personalized AI-powered experiences that hit home.

  6. Don’t get too stalkerish
    Personal attention is great, but too much can be off-putting and downright creepy. Use real-time pings such as text messages or push notifications with extreme caution – and only if you have something endearing to say. And who still cold calls prospective leads these days? Robots, that’s who! Also, think twice about location-triggered communications: “I can see you!!!” *maniacal laugh* – and adjust marketing pressure to match personal tolerance levels. The Selligent platform uses AI capabilities to find the optimal send time and frequency – plus the right device/channel – for connecting to individual customers (and avoiding the creep factor).

  7. Play the long game
    The secret to longevity in a relationship is remaining curious about your partner. Use every opportunity to learn more about your consumers and make sure to safely keep all your insights in a consumer data platform (CDP) as the key to consumer-first marketing that keeps the fire burning. And may we suggest loyalty programs for an extra boost? First of all, loyalty programs like the ones managed by Selligent clients Cinesa and Kruitvat are the perfect format to collect more relevant consumer data. And second, they totally work: A strong 36 percent of U.S. internet users shop more frequently at stores that let them earn rewards. With that said, a happy customer relationship is a gift that keeps on giving.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Selligent Marketing Cloud!

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