SBM 083: How Relationship Marketing Can Transform Your Business with Jessika Phillips

Today’s Guest

In this episode you will learn about relationship marketing and how you can use it to transform your business.

Jessika Phillips is an expert in relationship marketing.

This is the 83rd session of Smart Brand Marketing

MY BIGGEST TAKEAWAY: With all of the marketing noise that the regular person is subjected to… if you can provide a connection it can pay off big.


  • Interruption marketing
  • How to captivate the audience’s attention
  • Renew relationships
  • Enhance User experience
  • Be useful
  • Find your authentic voice
  • Relationship marketing

Relationship Marketing: What it Does for Your Business (and Why You Will Need It)

The thing about marketing is that it’s always changing to meet new customer preferences and even their buying behavior. What that simply means is that whatever worked in the past is no longer so in recent years and what will work now will not be so in the next few years.

If you have ever wondered why your time-tested marketing strategies are experiencing diminishing returns right now, it’s because they are not connecting that much to people as they did in the past. So what works now? This is where Relationship Marketing comes into play and it would be a good idea if you can adopt to this new strategy as soon as possible. But first, there are a few basics about the tactic that we need to cover first.

Interruption Marketing and Why You Should Ditch It

Here’s the scenario: You’re in your room browsing the Internet for funny YouTube videos or dank memes. Suddenly, your browser stops to a halt to allow a page to pop up and sell you deodorant or detergent. Here’s the question: how fast did you click out of that page when you’re given the option to do so?

That’s exactly why interruption marketing is. It can be so jarring as far as advertising experiences go since it forces you to drop everything that you are doing to look at some 30-second commercial or something. You have to keep in mind that immersion is a particularly huge concern in the Internet right now. Anything that breaks that immersion will cause any user to tune out any message being given to them, regardless of how well-made it is.

The problem here is that interruption marketing is worse online than in conventional media like the TV and Radio. At least those platforms have the decency of warning you of incoming messages like “We’ll be back after these messages” or something to that effect. Online? Advertisements are like the Kool-Aid man crashing through your house unannounced and forcing you to listen to what they have to say.

Since people right have the ability to tune out any message that they don’t like, this poses a challenge for marketers to deliver compelling messages to the market without being rejected outright. And then somebody had the idea to make these audiences their friends first before turning them into paying customers.

What Relationship Marketing Does for the Business

By all intents and purposes, relationship marketing is a considerably different beast compared to traditional marketing. Where conventional marketing focuses more on the transactional aspects of consumer behavior i.e. the selling part, relationship marketing focuses, well, on the relational aspects. This is brought about by a considerable shift in consumer behavior where buyers don’t really care about why you say you are the best brand in the market and more about if you really care for their needs. They also want to see some bit of humanity behind your brand which is why consumers right now tend to gravitate towards businesses that have a very relatable public presence, quality of their offerings notwithstanding.

Now that you have a slight grasp on how relationship marketing works as a concept, you should also have an idea as to its benefits. Here are some of them:

  • 1. Long-Term Customer Retention

    Keeping a sizeable customer base is always a must for any basis. Why? Because a 1 point percentage increase in your customer retention rate often equates to a 20% increase in annual revenues. Simply put, the more people buy from you repeatedly, the more money your business earns on a year to year basis.

    Relationship marketing can come into play here by the mere fact that it’s easier to sell to people who already like you. Attaining brand loyalty nowadays is different from what it was in the past. You can’t just sell people things and expect them to be loyal to you. Instead, you’d have to impress to them that your business does have their best interest at heart; before you compel them to buy something from you.

  • 2. Improved Referrals

    There’s no denying that, out of all the marketing strategies that you can employ, nothing can beat the power of the Word of Mouth. It’s for the simple fact that any information that customers give to other people regarding your business is going to be more believable than anything you can say about your own brand, resulting in a very convincing message.

    This is also highlighted in current consumer behavior. A whopping 84% of customers today tend to mold their purchasing decisions after a recommendation of a friend. As such, meeting the needs of your own customers will make them likelier to tell other people about you. Of course, this works the other way too. If you provide poor or, worse, horrible services and products to your customers, not only will these people stop transacting with you but they will tell other people to avoid your business entirely.

    This is why relationship marketing can really help you. If you can build a relationship with your customers with every transaction, you indirectly make them an active agent in forming a community around your business.

  • 3. Feedback

    One of the best things about friends is that they may be blunt but everything that they will say to you is often for your own good in the end. You have a drinking problem? Expect an intervention. You are getting buried in your work? They will slap you on the head and tell you to slow the hell down.

    The same concept can be applied in business if you turn your customers into your friends. If one of your recent offerings or strategies is not resonating with them, these people will not hesitate to tell you so. Of course, you have to give to them an impression that their voices do matter. To do this, you have to make sure that whatever problem or concern a person has is addressed in the best way possible.

    The way you handle customer feedback can make or break your business. If you need a good example of this, just look at every restaurant in Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares who blamed all their misfortunes on reviews from sites like Yelp and Reddit. The more productive (and sustainable) method would have been to look inwards and ask themselves why people are not returning for a second dining experience. After all, there has got to be a problem with the business itself if you’re struggling to keep one customer from leaving before their dinner is over. To make a long story short, a lot of these restaurants never make it to the next half decade of their existence; some even the air date of their own episodes.

  • 4. Knowing What Changes to Apply

    Another great effect of providing people with a chance to give feedback is that they can inadvertently tell you what changes might be good for your business. Supposed that you and your team are stumped in solving a certain problem in your business. You can use your customers to provide you with a different perspective on how to solve issues inside the business.

    Look at Starbucks, for example. Do you know whose bright idea it was to make Wi-Fi a standard feature for all 1000+ Starbucks branches all over the world? That one did not come from any of the company’s top executives but, surprisingly enough, from Average Joes who want to conduct their transactions in the business while waiting for their coffee.

    Of course, you should be smart enough to read between the lines as some customers are not as direct as you want them to be. In fact, failing to read these non-direct and non-verbal cues can make or break your business under the right circumstances. Whatever the case, you must make the necessary changes and improvements in your business while also actively listening to the people that actually support your business.

  • 5. Standing Out

    Given the current state of things, its becoming all the more important for businesses to find a way to stand out from the rest of the competition. Now, finding your own unique take on existing products and services can be easy at most times but, as with everything else, there are instances where it is not.

    For example, if you are the owner of an artisanal beer company, how are you going to make it stand out from other artisanal beer companies or even, well, regular beer manufacturers? The challenge to make yourself stand out gets harder the more businesses of the same type as you exist in the market.

    However, you can use peer-level marketing to expand your pool of knowledge and make yourself stand out from the rest of crowd.To do this, you must, again, pay attention to the largest niche you are targeting in the market and find out what they want from businesses like you. Combine these ideas with your own business concept, you can come up with a model that is truly unique and, of course, profitable.

Some More Things to Consider

Succeeding with Relationship Marketing is going to require you to learn a few more things you have to keep in mind when applying any strategy revolving around it. After all, any marketing strategy is prone to generate some misconceptions especially to those that use it and yet fail to fully grasp its core concept.

That “Relationship” Part Means Something Else

Admit it, the firsts thing that pops to your mind when hearing the word “relationship” will be something romantic. It might be date, a summer romance, or even a stroll through the beach; or whatever touchy-feely thing that you can think of.

But guess what, what the relationship part in relationship strategy wants for you is not exactly establish a close connection with your target audience but to find out their purchase history. What do they buy? What features do they look for in products? What price range are they most comfortable in? These are the things that you have to find out in your relationship marketing strategies. Simply put, you have to put your business in a position where it seemingly listens to its customers long enough to understand what they want from you. Deciding if you really want to fill in that need to make friends with such people is truly up to you.

Don’t Forget About the Marketing

What does relationship marketing really want, then? To put it simply, it’s there to help you make sure that whatever customer base you already have sticks around long enough to buy more from you in future transactions. It’s still a marketing strategy, after all, which means that the basics of marketing still apply here.

For instance, you can’t make those people come back for more purchases if you just focus on the features of your product in your message, not the benefits. You cannot convert potential audiences to paying customers if you can’t convince them that whatever you are offering is of value to them. And, lastly, you can’t expect to enjoy from the benefits of a self-sustaining community of customers if you can’t provide them with a really effective call to action in every content you push out in the public.

All that customer goodwill will be for nothing if, in the end, it doesn’t help your business achieve its goals both in short and long term. If, however, you can make friends and sell stuff to them, then you’ve got the art of relationship marketing nailed.

Have you tried relationship marketing before? What challenges do you see in using it? Let us know in the comments section below!




  • nowmarketingroup
  • answer the public
  • Now marketing group
  • People 20 20 – report
  • The millionaire mindset – book
  • Keeping it real Amanda – video drive thru



To get more SBM content sent directly to your device as they become available, you can subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher!

Also, reviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! I read each and every one of them, and feel free to share your URL there so I can contact you later on and say thanks!


Whenever you’re ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
  1. If you’re still looking for traction in your online course, I’d recommend starting with an affordable guide:

The Course Engine: Transform your course into a money-making machine with The Course Engine. This quick and actionable guide will teach you the system I use to transform average courses into ones that can grow past 7 figures in revenue with my in-person clients.  Join 279+ students here.

  1. Want an expert to take over or help you with your marketing?

Check out what we do, our case studies and book a free


Join others just like you. Learn more about Tom Libelt and Smart Brand Marketing