If you’re a relationship marketer, the questions you ask yourself at work sound a heck of lot like the questions you ask when you’re dating. How do you go about giving a good first impression? What are ways to keep the conversation going? And how do you make your interactions meaningful?

There is a very similar give and take when it comes to creating great customer engagement. In order to foster a positive relationship in today’s crowded marketplaces, marketers need to put in the work to understand and anticipate what customers want. That’s why in light of Valentine’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to the LUV (Listen, Understand, and Value) approach to contextual marketing.

Putting Relationship (Marketing) Intelligence to Work

The LUV approach is a 3-step marketing framework that centers consumer needs at the forefront of your marketing campaigns, ensuring that your brand can meet high expectations, and deliver relationship value in exchange for (brand) trust.


While you might tempted to send lots of messages in the beginning, remember that overcrowding your customer’s inboxes is one of the easiest ways to turn customers off. Like a good partner, you’re going to have to listen (and invest in some data tracking) to tune in to your consumer data first before you can expect to provide meaningful engagement. That means you’ll want to find out your consumer’s interests, concerns, preferred devices and open times, and tailor your messaging accordingly. The key is to make mutual communication easy, and make it worth their time.  

Customers want brands to talk about things that are valuable to them, and not just what you want them to know about your brand . If you place a high value on relevancy, your customers will come to trust that you’ll be responsive to their needs. 


Like in any budding relationship, people aren’t interested in one-way conversations or communications that make no attempt to engage them meaningfully. To prime yourself for even more success, don’t be afraid to ask for a better understanding of what their specific, individual interests are.

Your customers expect a real discussion with your brands, so they’ll feel delighted if they feel that you are interested in what they have to say. Marketers have a wide range of tools at their disposal to identify customer preferences: surveys, competitions and games, newsletter subscriptions, etc. Be patient and, most importantly, try to be responsive with the feedback they give. There’s nothing like the kind of loyalty you get when customers realize that the brand values their opinion.


Once a significant amount of time has been invested, people begin to consider a long-term commitment.  At this point, it’s more important than ever to recognize that customers need to feel valued and understood.  Customers that have purchased, engaged, and committed to you over a period of time, need to feel important.  Recognizing these valuable customers through special promotions and loyalty activities such as birthday or anniversary emails is important, but also spend time thinking about what your consumer would consider meaningful value.

To that end, and while it’s impossible to meet all your customers’ needs, it’s helpful to know in advance the areas of interaction where your brand is best fit to provide value to consumer and the company at the same time. What known problems can your brand solve for your customer? Can you answer a question before they realize they’ve got one? The more valued these loyal customers feel, the better chances of commitment in the long haul.  


CoolBlue, a major Dutch e-commerce powerhouse, put the L.U.V. philosophy to the test. Find out how CoolBlue successfully decreased return rates by as much as 30 percent using Selligent's best in class marketing automation tools and consumer-first best practices for marketing here.


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