Customer service
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6
 min read

How to Position for Success: The Relationship Centric Era

At IgnitePost, we dubbed this new era the Relationship Centric Era because it emphasizes communicating in a way that builds trust, deepens connections, and fosters better relationships. This is now the standard way companies must operate, or risk being left behind.

How to Position for Success: The Relationship Centric Era

There is a fundamental shift happening in how businesses communicate with customers. We live in a world where ALL users expect conversational, personalized, VIP treatment as a standard. This is true for both current and prospective customers. Whether you realize it or not, everyone now expects specialized treatment.

At IgnitePost, we dubbed this new era the Relationship Centric Era because it emphasizes communicating in a way that builds trust, deepens connections, and fosters better relationships. This is now the standard way companies must operate, or risk being left behind.

But how exactly did we get to this point?

As we enter this new ‘Relationship Centric’ Era we must leave ‘Mass Digital Communication’ behind.
As we enter this new ‘Relationship Centric’ Era we must leave ‘Mass Digital Communication’ behind.

If we examine the last 2 decades, it’s easy to see what caused this shift.  In the 2000’s, the standard business approach was Product Centric.  Simply put, products and services were sold and marketed by touting features.  The more bells & whistles a product had, the better.  From this thinking, emerged massive catalogs describing every feature of a product, and statistics like ‘lines of code written' was common during this time period.

Later, we realized that buyers didn’t necessarily care about all the capabilities of your platform. Instead, they cared about what your product or service could specifically do for them and how it would help them achieve their goals.  

In a broader sense, we call this Jobs Theory… the notion that a buyer was hiring your product or service to do a specific job for them. Anything you added to your service beyond what was needed to complete their job just made things more complex and unnecessary.  

So in this way, sales and marketing transitioned from being Product Centric to being Customer Centric.  Businesses then shifted their focus to gain mindshare with their prospects.  

You're likely already familiar with this type of marketing, as it gave rise to the adage ‘a prospect needs to see your brand 7 times before they remember you and take action’.  The more a prospect saw your brand, logo, etc, the more it would reinforce that your product was the best fit!

Of course, this led to the detrimental effects that we now see today.  As a result of Customer Centric marketing, companies started creating as many touchpoint as possible… emails, calls, texts, digital ads, TV ads, push notifications… you name it!

Fast forward to today. People are over-saturated with digital ads and as a result, the effectiveness of those channels are declining.

Thankfully, as I mentioned previously, we are entering the Relationship Centric Era.  This is an entirely new era that will be defined by companies who interact with customers in a mindful way. A way that builds trust and deepens the relationship between the brand and customer.  

The quality of touchpoints will surpass the quantity of touchpoints as an important metric.  The experience your customer or prospect has with your brand will be absolutely paramount, as this will separate you from the rest of the crowd.

Currently, everyone is taking the same approach and using similar tools to gain mindshare in their market.  The challenge is to do something different. To differentiate themselves from the competition, brands need to start thinking mindfully about each interaction with a customer.  Every point of contact is an opportunity to provide value, establish a deeper connection, and build a relationship.

Customers now have seemingly limitless options to choose from in nearly every category.  Why would they choose your company or brand over another?  If you’ve put effort into building a relationship with the customer, the answer is easy… the customer knows you value their business. If all other variables are equal, this value would ensure they choose your business over a competitor.

Establishing better relationships with your customers is paramount to everything else!  Better relationships lead to increased trust, more sales, higher LTV, and greater tolerance for sub-par product experiences.  Conversely, not investing in relationship building experiences can have the opposite effect!

HOW DO WE KNOW? – THE NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES!

At IgnitePost, we believe the Relationship Centric Era is already here, but don’t take our word for it! It’s easy to see the proof when you look at numbers and statistics!

Digital Saturation has decreased the effectiveness of marketing across the board and businesses are losing the ability to reach their customers & prospects in an effective way. This means lower LTV and lost revenue.

Consider this…on average, people receive over 120 emails per day and are subjected to more than 5,000 digital ads every day! What’s worse is that users also receive push notifications and messages on literally every device they own (phone, computer, tablet, watch..etc.). There is seemingly no escape from the constant barrage of notifications!

People receive over 120 Emails per Day and are subjected to more than 5,000 digital ads every day (in addition to notifications on every device they own)!
People receive over 120 Emails per Day and are subjected to more than 5,000 digital ads every day (in addition to notifications on every device they own)!

The Relationship Centric Era will produce clear winners and losers, and the dynamics are evident. The effectiveness of email marketing is declining and will continue downward. This decline is due to several factors:

  • Digital saturation - we talked about this earlier (people are getting inundated with notifications from everywhere).
  • Spam filters getting smarter by the day (meaning fewer emails actually reaching intended recipients).
  • Ever increasing volume of email (it’s getting harder to stand out in the sea of emails).

Consumers are now aware of the detrimental effects of too much screen time and are actively looking for ways to decrease screen time. Services such as iOS Screen Time and Android Digital Wellbeing are two examples of ways people are consciously limiting their device use.

To communicate effectively in a personalized, conversational way, companies need to focus on relationship building techniques and fundamentally change their approach.

Businesses have already embraced this new era, with a new approach, and are choosing to deliver personalized experiences at scale. This is setting them worlds apart from their competition.

Side note: Are you concerned about being left behind by the Relationship Centric Era? We put together this quick checklist to help your business out! Follow the action items in this checklist and you can be certain that your business will be prepared!

DOWNLOAD THE RELATIONSHIP CENTRIC ERA CHECKLIST

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT MOVING FORWARD?

Digital media has changed the world. It has brought a variety of new platforms through which brands and consumers can communicate and share experiences, from social media forums to e-commerce channels. As a result, new ways to create and enhance consumer relationships are evolving all the time, as is the ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data. We’ve also seen constant change in the way people interact with media such as TV and the internet.

What digital media hasn’t changed is PEOPLE. We are still physical creatures that thrive on human contact, community, and stimulation. Giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience. In the never-ending stream of two-way virtual communication, sending a direct sensory experience can set your brand apart.

Scientific evidence shows that humans learn about their environment primarily through the sense of touch and by interacting with objects in their surroundings.

For example, as eCommerce continues to rise, one major hurdle left to overcome is the ability to replicate a human, in-person experience. Without a physical storefront, companies must work that much harder to  create connection or foster community.

By embracing the new Relationship Centric way of thinking, brands can begin to improve the experience users have with their brand while creating physical, tangible connections to consumers.

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED!

How can you leverage this new shift in attitude and use it to your advantage? We did the legwork for you and put together a simple step-by-step checklist to follow (Download it below). Just go through each item and you’ll be primed to maximize your efforts during this new era while others are left behind!

DOWNLOAD THE RELATIONSHIP CENTRIC ERA CHECKLIST

Do you have additional methods to increase customer loyalty or deepen relationships? If so, we’d love to hear about them!  Drop us a line or leave a comment below!

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ignitePOST Team
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