Marketing has become all about relationships. Or rather, marketing has returned to its true roots - relationships. Big budget marketers understand this and work hard for their reward, while small budget marketers are challenged by this low hanging fruit.
Just look at the automotive marketplace for an example.
You can't find bigger budgets than the automotive companies, and you can't find bigger believers in relationship marketing than automotive marketers. Buy a car today and the emphasis is on creating a relationship between you and the automaker; the goal being both a lifetime customer, but also to encourage and reinforce positive word of mouth. Believe me, when your friend sees you wearing that Audi jacket it makes an impression. That jacket, or hat, or shirt creates an unstated endorsement. Not between you and the dealer, but between you and the manufacturer. Budgets for relationship marketing have soared in the automotive marketplace.
Why? Because relationships matter.
Meanwhile, your car dealer is doing the same old - pushing product. Yes, they have become more sophisticated through digital, but in the end they are doing the same thing using multiple channels - pushing product. It's short-term gain, requiring the ongoing feeding to accomplish their sales goals.
What if car dealers and other retailers balanced that short-term approach with a longer-term relationship building approach? Car manufacturers are reaching out to their database. Car dealers could be reaching out to their customers, too. Relationships, true relationships, are developed with customers, not databases.
Relationship marketing requires intentionality with the customer. Could you imagine the loyalty that would be created if you received a thank you letter, not an email, after you made a recent purchase of a product, or a hotel room, or spent the day skiing at your local mountain?
Maybe instead of the "corporate enforced" follow-up call on your recent automotive purchase or service, you received a personal note thanking you for your business or providing you with two tickets to the movies. Or after a family vacation you received an unexpected photograph of your kids enjoying an ice cream cone. Or the clothing store you frequently shop at sent you a personal note about a new suit that just arrived because they knew you would be interested in it.