Old school marketing revolved around selling the benefits of your services and products against competitors with similar benefits. Promotional materials clearly delineated all the features and what the organization  could do FOR the prospective client, funder, customer or partner.  New school marketing is turning such thinking upside down and talking about what we can do WITH the prospective stakeholder.

 These two little words, relationship marketing, mark a major shift in direction.  This new approach is based on a relationship where all partners talk and  engage with one another, and together come up with the best service and product suite solutions.  And with open dialogue, the key tenet of any relationship, the value proposition emerges as one that both clients and partners connect with.


So, it’s time to celebrate Relationship Marketing.  It’s powerful, it’s engaging and it’s here to stay because:

  • ·         It equalizes the marketing process, so that customers take ownership and become more accountable in the ultimate engagement process, be it choosing to fund the organization or registering or utilizing one of its programs.
  • ·         It can be personalized. My relationship with a Latino customer may be different than that with an Anglo buyer.  This customization of the marketing, leads to better culturally relevant messaging.  It’s dynamic.  Relationships change over time, as do marketing strategies. Relationship marketing  enables you to be more dynamic in your thinking over time.
  • ·         It allows for more creativity in product development. Relationships mean we listen to customer ideas and then actually do something with them. 
  • ·         It builds trust with your customers as they see and assume good intent.
  • ·         Relationship marketing means we can ask customers to endorse us, and be advocates for our products or services via word-of-mouth and referrals.


5 Essentials for Relationship Marketing:

 1.     Don’t assume one size fits all. Be sure your communications is culturally competent—this is critical to creating relationships with our diverse communities.

2.     Focus heavily on Social Media. The research is out — more and more people are creating relationships online.  Don’t miss this opportunity.

3.     Hire staff who are “other oriented” as they will find it easier to connect and build a relationship.

4.     Make sure your collateral materials, advertising, and web pages reflect and focus on the customer’s needs, not the organization’s.

5.     Build a relationship with your partners by supporting their causes. Allocate your charitable contributions to those organizations. This seals the relationship.

Bottom line: relationship marketing is much more egalitarian — and tears down the barriers of power between the seller and buyer.  It is a partnership where all win. Win-win, indeed.