Should You Be Investing in Relationships More?

There’s no one way to do marketing.

But in our years of experience, we’ve discovered that there are definitely more effective ways to do marketing.

And one of our favorites by FAR is relationship marketing.

Pinky promise gif

The official definition of relationship marketing is “a strategy of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that emphasizes customer retention, satisfaction, and lifetime customer value.”

To us, relationship marketing means forming genuine, human connections that we care about. Because when you’re marketing to your friends, it feels natural!

So why does relationship marketing matter?

Relationship marketing feels real. And marketing that feels real works.

It’s about:

  • knowing your audience,
  • knowing your customers,
  • and knowing your brand.

Putting yourself and your brand into your marketing is what speaks to people the most.

Here are some of our favorite examples of relationship marketing:

  • Cotopaxi, an ethically made and sustainably sourced outdoor gear B Corp, (already a kicka** brand) takes their awesomeness a step further by including a handwritten note with every order.
    • These notes are written by members of the refugee community in Salt Lake City, Utah.
    • Cotopaxi makes “Gear for Good” and donates 1% of its revenue to the Cotopaxi Foundation which supports nonprofits.
    • Including handwritten notes speaks to the mission-driven audience their brand attracts, and shows their authenticity.
  • Christina recently attended Raleigh Chamber’s DEI conference and absolutely loved listening to Brand Fuel’s Danny Rosin and Mary Angelini, co-founder of Gabi’s talk about how being radically inclusive is a business advantage.
    • Brand Fuel is a brand merchandising B Corp with a focus on creating meaningful connections and sustainability.
    • Gabi’s is a packaging and shipping business that employs people with special abilities.
    • Together, they’ve worked on multiple kitting projects for Brand Fuel’s clients. Christina was blown away by the level of sophistication of these projects. People with disabilities are seriously underestimated. Thankfully, collaborations like this change lives AND make for a powerful brand story.
    • It’s also worth mentioning that people love to receive gifts, so developing creative branded merchandise / gifting is a fantastic way to strengthen a relationship with your clients, partners, and employees.

Building awareness, creating great jobs, and forming meaningful connections while using your business as a force for good… all of this is built on the foundation of relationships.

And speaking of great relationship-building…

The Founders Summit was a huge success!

Last weekend, we gathered founders in the Raleigh area to build community, dive into the entrepreneur experience, and share insights. It was a blast!

Thank you to everyone who could make it, from our fantastic panelists to our generous sponsors — we couldn’t have done it without you!

Click here to see a fabulous recap video pulled together by the amazing Alicia Hawes of Three Birdies Desk & Design.

One of the key takeaways shared this weekend by a panel of marketers at the Founders Summit was (and disclaimer – our panelists didn’t know we were planning to dive into relationship marketing this month):

“Before focusing on the ROI of your marketing, instead first focus on building the foundation for a strong ROR – ‘return on relationships.’”

While relationships should always start without any expectations, if you take the time to invest in others — inevitably, all of the good you put out into the world will come back to you tenfold.

If you’re a direct-to-consumer business — start by knowing your customer in a meaningful way.

Tell stories, give back, and solve real problems with your products.

For B2B businesses – even starting by building just one meaningful relationship can lead to a valuable connection, even if that relationship isn’t your perfect target audience.

Taking a page out of sales expert (and, in turn, relationship marketer), Allison Davis’ book, networking isn’t about you. It’s about knowing your audience, being intentional about your connections, and speaking to their desires and needs.

(Speaking of Allison – Got sales questions? Consider signing up for her free Sales Roundtable. Each month, Allison gathers a group of growth-minded business owners to tackle their biggest sales questions and move business forward. We’ve found her Roundtable to be super valuable PLUS it’s a great example of a bada** relationship marketing strategy. Register here:

One meaningful connection leads to another, and then it’s your job to really foster those relationships.

Check in, spend time thinking about how to make those connections stronger (i.e. opportunities to serve), and take action. Being genuine will attract a real audience.

At the end of the day, we think meaningful relationships will always lead to a true competitive advantage.

One more note on community-building — we’ve got a big project in the works that we’re launching this fall and if you’re passionate about giving gifts (or overwhelmed because you don’t have time to give thoughtful gifts) we would LOVE for you to join the beta group for better made easy. All you need to do is click here to sign up for our “better” gifting-focused emails and follow us here on the ‘gram.