Relationship marketing in 2023 – our take on the trends

Author: Yasmine Ait Maskour - Marketing automation strategist at Emakina.BE

As we begin a new year, we’re often bombarded with articles about new trends for the year ahead. Taking a scan through Forbes alone, we’re seeing lots of mentions of the metaverse, artificial intelligence, web3, blockchain,  NFTs – and that’s just the beginning. It can seem utterly bewildering, leaving you thinking, ‘What about the older tools that I know – and love – inside out?’. In this article, we want to reassure you that the latest innovations aren’t necessarily the death knell for older tech. In fact, many brands – and their customers – are happily still using their more dated tools. Instead, we’re going to look at ways to switch up your relationship marketing (without jumping into big tech investments), to propel you into 2023 with confidence and a fresh approach your customers will love.

Birthday emails are great, but enough of the promo codes

Marketing campaigns that use, for example, birthday reminders can be really effective in building brand loyalty and generating revenue. In fact, according to Campaign Monitor, birthday emails generate 342% higher revenue per email compared to promotional emails. But they now need to work a bit harder. Use opportunities like this to make your customers feel loved, rather than just giving out promo codes. For example, if you sell kitchen appliances and they’ve bought a mixer from you, rather than simply sending a voucher for a second purchase, you could congratulate the customer on their birthday, offer a special deal on accessories for the model of mixer they bought and maybe a voucher for a free mixer check up? Just a few tweaks, using the data you have on previous purchases, makes it that bit more personal.

Beware of 10% discounts for newsletter signups

Offering a promotion or discount as an incentive for subscribing to newsletters may initially bring in new leads, but it can also undermine the value and credibility of the company in the eyes of customers. Customers may view newsletters as a way just to access discounts and promotions, then unsubscribe once they have received their offer. To avoid high unsubscribe rates and inactive audiences, it’s important to focus on providing value to the customer through continued, personalised and exclusive content. Like with birthdays, instead of using promotions as the primary incentive, why not offer a tailored and meaningful experience for the customer through an ongoing content strategy that makes the most of the data you have about their interests and preferences? Birthdays are only once a year after all. As with the mixer example above – you know they have a mixer, so you could send them seasonal recipe ideas for their mixer, or ideas for what they can do with their attachments. It’s all about making your brand more human. Even simple touches like allowing your customers to choose their preferred frequency of communication can help customers feel more valued, engaged and ‘listened to’.

Change the way you think about data

Many brands do not effectively make the most all of the data that they collect. A 2019 study conducted in the United States found that 35% of marketers are unsure of the quality of the data they are collecting. In order to capture relevant data that can be used to support meaningful communication and strategic objectives, you need to ask the right questions of your users. By using first party data intelligently and focusing on strategies that bring added value to your customer, you can work to build brand loyalty and avoid causing brand blindness. In 2023 and beyond, make an effort to think twice about the data you collect and ask yourself how it can be used to support your goals and improve your customer’s experience. Be creative – even if you do only know their birthday, that means know their star sign for example. If that fits with your brand image, then use it to create fun, tailored content! Spotify’s annual Unwrapped campaign goes viral every year and is based purely on each customer’s listening data – work with what you have and think about what more you can get.

Cut through the proverbial noise

Back to school, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas… the list goes on. It’s time to stop basing all your marketing efforts on these saturated events and rather base it on what your data is telling you. Use it to define new moments based on your unique customers and their needs and wants. Cut through the noise of mainstream marketing campaigns by leveraging less noisy moments to make your brand’s voice heard. Here are four ways you can use data to do this:

  1. Use predictive and automated models to gain a deeper understanding of your audience and use this knowledge to improve your customer experience and support the overall goals of your business. Start thinking about data in a proactive and strategic way, rather than simply reacting to information as it becomes available. By building, deconstructing, linking, and connecting your data in a meaningful way, you will gain valuable insights and make more informed decisions.
  2. Create an editorial calendar for campaigns that is tailored to your brand and audience. This can involve defining specific goals and target audiences for each campaign, and carefully considering the timing, messaging, and channels that will be most effective in achieving these goals.
  3. Question your short-term strategies based on promotions and start building communities of brand lovers as opposed to ‘quick-fix’ promo lovers who will stick around for much longer than just another sale or saving.
  4. Build data-driven user marketing based on the individual user and a dee and meaningful ‘why’ that is tailored to them through seamless touchpoints in your communication.

We hope these insights into relationship marketing tactics for the year ahead will help you appreciate that you don’t necessarily have to invest in the latest tech, or jump onto the VR bandwagon (and blow your entire marketing budget) to increase your ROI. There’s so much to learn from looking back at what worked and what didn’t work for your customers and adapting accordingly. If you’re looking to take your relationship marketing to the next level in 2023, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert relationship marketing team at Emakina and let’s work together to speak to your customers like the individuals that they are – now that’s a trend worth starting!

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