Giving the Unexpected to Your Customers

In a relationship marketing platform, creating long-term relationships with customers is an integral part of a successful marketing strategy. Building strong affiliations and contacts through superior customer service is the first step towards a successful marketing platform. Just as important as building strong customer relations, is developing new ways to give the customer more than other companies are providing and more than then the customer expects.

Giving Customers Something They Can't Get Elsewhere

If you are operating in a niche market, chances are you are already offering a product or service that's difficult for customers to find elsewhere. In a competitive marketplace, what can you do to distinguish your business from the competition? Give your customers something that they don't typically get from other companies.

One idea that isn't universally implemented is free samples and discount coupons with each order. Another good idea that's only utilized by a handful of businesses is birthday recognition. You can send your customer a birthday greeting by email or by card, offering special discounts or free samples during their birthday month. People love to get something for free even though a high percentage of people who receive the coupon never actually redeem it. The feeling of goodwill and loyalty is still planted in your customer's mind.

Giving Your Customer the Totally Unexpected

This is somewhat similar to the above suggestions, but with a slightly different twist. Doing something for your customers that is really unexpected and out of the ordinary will set you apart from your competition.

How about a follow up email after an order to be sure that the customer is happy with their products? Instead of a free birthday coupon that the customer can redeem, how about just sending a small sample with a birthday greeting? What about automatic re-order email reminders? Reminders are popular for products like contact lenses, but how about for coffee or skin care supplies?

Thanking Potential Customers Who Don't Make a Purchase

How about a "thank you" to customers who don't end up buying from your site? This may sound a bit odd, but if you've reached out to a new client, but they haven't made a purchase, it's still a good idea to thank this person for their time and consideration. This is not a widespread practice. Typically we only thank people who make a purchase. The idea here is that just because this person did not buy this time doesn't mean they never will. If they are thanked regardless, this will distinguish you from the rest and cause them to think of your company when make future purchases.

All of these strategies are suggestions and ways to help you strengthen the relationship marketing platform you are building for your business.

Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing
firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by
creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
Join his JV Wealth e-zine at

Social Networking as Part of Relationship Marketing

If you’re doing business in the eCommerce universe, it’s vital to build a strong network of relationships with your clients.  From time to time, it’s necessary to gain new business, new clients and new customers to bring into the pool of focus for building this network of relationships. You may be doing all the “right” things, such as newsletters, email marketing campaigns and advertising on other websites, but you still feel that you’re not attracting as many new customers, or building as many new relationships as you’d like. Exploring social networks, as a way to form new or expand upon existing business relationships will be worth investigating, if your business has not yet done so.

Social Networking

Popular social networks like Facebook are thought of as a place to keep in touch with long distance friends, share photos and stories about your life. But these online social networks are also a great way to make new business contacts. Each network is structured differently so you may want to join several, or investigate the sites on your own before deciding which ones to utilize for business purposes. Implementing consistent social networking can be the next step in a relationship-marketing based strategy for your business. Below are a few of the most popular social networks and what they have to offer from a business perspective.


When thinking of a social network, many adults assume they are juvenile or the domain of teenagers and twenty-somethings. If you have an aversion to the idea, LinkedIn is the best place for you to start, as it has a mature, professional audience with a combination of social and business networking. When you join LinkedIn, you can list your contacts, both social and professional, and invite them to join. Once your contacts have joined, you then have access to their social and professional contacts and they have access to yours. This is a great way to reach out to new people and make connections because of the mutual friend/associate you have in common.


Facebook isn’t just for kids anymore, the demographic of this particular social network continues to broaden, and it’s a great resource for making contacts and potentially looking for people to hire if and when your business expands. Facebook has a number of useful features and advanced applications, along with a certain level of privacy that doesn’t exist in other networks. It also has the sheer volume of numbers on its side: with 600 million searches and more than 30 billion page views a month, there is a seemingly endless pool of resources to tap into.


MySpace is perhaps the social network that is geared most towards a younger population. However, try not to let that deter you. The Internet is making it easier for younger, tech-savvy people to create their own online companies, which means there is large market of younger business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as potential customers that you can connect with on MySpace. Young people also have more disposable income than ever before, which means that subscribers to MySpace have money to spend, and they’re always looking for unique, niche market products.

Building strong customer relationships as part of a relationship-marketing platform is an important ingredient in the success of your business. Using these social networking sites has the potential to connect you with an extremely talented and professional cross-section of people previously untapped by your business. Part of any successful relationship-marketing platform involves reaching out and building relationships with people with whom you have something in common. These social networks are an excellent way to expand your network of business contacts.

Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing
firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by
creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
Join his JV Wealth e-zine at

Relationship Marketing: Tips for Getting Started

Simply put, relationship marketing is the strategy of building strong, loyal and committed relationships with your client base. Often in striving to gain media visibility and recognition, businesses temporarily forget or overlook their most important marketing resource, your business relationship with people!

Below are a few handy tips to help you reassess your relationships with your customers, and how to develop a plan for building and improving those relationships.

Get Organized

It’s difficult to target and streamline communication and build relationships if you don't start out knowing where you stand with your customers. You probably have files on your customers, but do these files include the tracking of correspondence? If not, this is an aspect that should be added to your customer files.

Another idea is to develop a file of success stories. Are there customers with whom you have a strong relationship, who are loyal and devoted clients? If so, assess the history of your relationship with these clients to determine if you did something different to gain their loyalty. You may even want to start a file of success stories to refer to for inspiration when creativity about how to expand customer relationships may be waning.

Develop a Communication Plan

Communication is the first step in building strong relationships with your customers. First, assess what your communication strategy is. If you do not currently have a strategy for ongoing contact with your clients, it’s time to develop one! Whether it’s a weekly, monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly correspondence with your clients, it’s important to decide on a plan of action and implement that plan.

If you already have a communication plan in place, and are tracking your customer communication, now is the time to review and assess the effectiveness of your plan.

  • Do your customers seem engaged and interested in your communication with them?
  • Is your customer base steady, or do you seem to be losing customers?
  • Have you had any repeated complaints from multiple customers?
  • How can you better serve your customers?
  • Is there an easy and reliable way for customers to reach you if they have a complaint, concern, or would like to make a suggestion?

This may all sound overwhelming at first, but these are just a few areas to get you started thinking about how to facilitate more communication with your customers. You are probably already doing some of these things. If there are several of these suggestions that you are not doing, yet you feel compelled to implement, don't panic! Just take one suggestion at a time and move forward that way.

Relationships with clients are built over time, and anything you do now to start the process is a step in the right direction. Once you start to understand and embrace the importance of customer relationships in a strategic marketing plan, you will be heading for success.

Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing
firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by
creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
Join his JV Wealth e-zine at

Relationship Marketing: A Brief Overview

The relationship marketing strategy developed from the direct response marketing campaigns popular in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. These campaigns emphasized the importance of customer retention and continued customer satisfaction, rather than an emphasis on individual transactions, and per-case customer resolution.

What is Relationship Marketing?

Relationship marketing is a type of strategic marketing that targets it’s audience with more direct information on the specific products and services a customer may have interest in. It differs from other forms of marketing in that it seeks to retain customers by building relationships with them, rather than a direct or intrusive strategy, which focuses on acquisition of new clients by targeting majority demographics, based upon prospective client lists purchased from third party sources.

As traditional marketing took off in the 60’s and 70’s, companies found it more difficult to sell consumer products. The original model had developed into a system, which focused on selling relatively low-value products in mass quantities to a higher volume of consumers. Since the beginning of modern day marketing platforms, many methods have been developed in an attempt to broaden its scope. Relationship marketing grew out of this era, and is one example of an attempt to expand the reach and applicability of marketing.

Simply put, relationship marketing focuses on targeting the relationship of company to customer. If you have an existing customer base, it makes sense to learn what these customers like about your products and services and how you as a company can improve on this. If you build on the good relationships you already have with your customers, and create customer loyalty, this is more valuable than putting energy towards always attempting to gain new business.

Defensive Marketing vs. Offensive Marketing

Relationship marketing can be understood in simple football-like terms of offensive and defensive approaches. “Defensive” marketing and “offensive” marketing are terms that were coined by C. Fornell and B. Wernerfelt in 1987.

Defensive marketing describes attempts to reduce customer turnover, increase customer loyalty and retain the customer base already in place, by keeping them happy with your service, and interested in your products. In contrast, offensive marketing seeks to obtain new customers and increase purchase frequency. Defensive marketing focuses on reducing, or better managing customer dissatisfaction, while offensive marketing focuses on “liberating” dissatisfied customers from competitors and moving them into the offensive marketer’s customer base essentially getting customers to switch teams.

Customer & Consumer Relationships

Relationship marketing is a key collaborative strategy to retain customers. It is essentially an offshoot of customer and consumer relationship management. The theory is this; attracting new customers is more costly, yet less profitable than developing existing client loyalty. By developing and promoting your existing client base through research and an understanding, you will create a loyal client base for years to come, with less expense and higher returns. Building lasting relationships with the clients you already have is a recipe for long-term marketing success.

Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing
firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by
creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
Join his JV Wealth e-zine at

Relationship Marketing: Why It’s So Effective

Relationship marketing focuses on the connection a company has with its existing client base while building and improving on those relationships. This is a long-term process seeking stable solutions to earnings and return on investment. It is not a glitzy quick fix solution, so it doesn't always get the attention it deserves, but it is a collaborative strategy that truly works.

Less Expense, Higher Returns

If you were told that you could increase your sales without increasing your marketing budget, your interest would be piqued, would it not? This is precisely what relationship marketing does.

A typical way businesses operate is to assume that when a customer has purchased a product or service once, the customer will remain loyal. This can be a costly mistake, as it is easier and less expensive to build relationships with existing customers than it is to entice new consumers or to win back customers that have defected to your competition.

The following are a few key statistics to consider when determining where to put your marketing dollars:

  • Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers
  • Referrals among repeat customers are 107% greater than referrals from non-customers
  • It costs six times more to sell something to a prospect than to sell to an existing customer

Based on these statistics, you can see that your marketing budget will go further if it is used to build and nurture your existing customer relationships. This means treating your customers as though they are your strategic collaborative partners, rather than just numbers.

One Thing at a Time

It may seem a bit daunting to think you need to completely change your marketing strategy overnight, but it need not send you into a panic. You can choose to start slowly. Focus on just one of the above mentioned bullet points to test the efficiency of the strategy and you should notice a difference in your business right away.

For example, bullet point number one: Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers. For example, you operate a website that sells specialty health and beauty supplies. There is a certain brand of sunscreen Sally found on holiday in France that isn't sold in the United States. She happens to find your website, which does sell this particular sunscreen, and she’s thrilled. She becomes a loyal customer and purchases the product. On a return trip to France, she finds a shampoo she loves that yet again, isn't available in the U.S. Happily, she finds the shampoo on your website, and in the meantime, purchases a few more products to try. She talks with her sister on the phone and recommends the shampoo from your website, which then results in more purchases for your company.

This is not an unlikely scenario. In Sally's story, she has taken the lead in investigating the website, but there are marketing strategies that would push a customer towards making that leap on their own. How about an email with a list of new products offering a discount? Or a few samples of new products when you ship orders? There are many ways to strategically build strong customer relationships, which will enhance the longevity of your business, as well as its bottom line.

Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing
firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by
creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
Join his JV Wealth e-zine at


First Steps to Forming a Strategic Alliance: Identifying Your Target Market

If you have an Internet business, particularly a small one, forging partnerships with companies in related markets is an important marketing strategy to raise awareness for your business and to expand your own client base.

This may sound like a fantastic idea, but how do you go about building these partnerships? It seems so daunting . . . if you’re just a small niche market business, how can you help anyone else and why would they want to partner with you?

These are valid questions and concerns, but forging a strategic alliance isn’t as difficult as it may initially appear to be. The Internet is full of small, niche market businesses, so it is not a far-fetched idea to think that a company of a similar size to yours would welcome an alliance with you, and that you’d be able to help one another.

Getting Started

The first step towards embarking upon a strategic marketing alliance is to select a company who is not a direct competitor of yours, that wouldn’t serve either one of you very well, but to choose a company whose interests run similar to your own, without being a direct competitor.

Initially, figuring out what these businesses might be is to assess your own target market. You must know whom your business appeals to before you can embark on deciding who might be interested in a similar client base.

You first must ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • What is the average age of your clients?
  • What are their occupations?
  • What is their income range?
  • What other interests do they have?
  • What are some other products or services that are compatible with mine?

If you don’t have immediate answers to these questions, it is time to create a market survey to get the answers you need, or to simply inventory your client roster and compile some basic data. The occupation and income range may not be relevant information to your business, if you deal in luxury goods, but it will of course matter if you deal in refrigerators or stoves, or something that everyone at some point needs to purchase where income is a less telling metric. Questions 1, 4 and 5 may be the most helpful in targeting potential partners for smaller Internet businesses.

The Next Step

Once you have identified your target market, and a product or service that may be a good accompaniment to yours, what do you do next?

Let’s say for instance, that your company rents designer wedding gowns. The occupation and income, as stated above, are less important considerations than questions 1 and 5. It naturally follows that someone in need of a wedding dress may also be in need of a caterer, photographer or wedding planner. In this instance, question number 5 is the most important consideration, but the age of your clients may also be important. Will a young couple prefer a young photographer? Will an older couple prefer an older more established photographer? Perhaps.

In this case, your next step will be to contact some photographers, caterers and wedding planers to propose a referral agreement, or even to exchange mailing lists and client lists. It is also important to seek alliances with a variety of companies in terms of age, and establishment: some clients will distinctly want an experienced photographer, while some will be willing to take a chance on a newer professional.

Forming a strategic alliance can be an integral part to the marketing and ultimate success of your business. The first step is to know your client base, so you can target and appropriate partner. Don’t be intimidated by approaching companies with which to forge an alliance, ideally this is a partnership - something from which both parties will benefit equally.

Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A Joint Venture Marketing
firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by
creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
Join his JV Wealth e-zine at