Developing Customer Relationships Through Marketing Communications

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The first and more conventional approach is the transactional marketing, based on the single sales. In this case Innocent doesn’t have any contact with the customers more than the simple purchase. It occurs when the customer doesn’t want to undertake any long-term relationship, either because he doesn’t feel tied with the brand values or for his sporadic purchase behaviour. In this situation, the customer is more focused on the product features and on the momentary convenience.

Relationship marketing is marketing seen as relationships, networks and interaction. It is aimed at establishing long-term win-win relationships with customers. In approaching a potential customer, relationship marketing has the ambition to climb the loyalty ladder: from prospect over first-time customer, to client, supporter, advocate and partner. (adapted from both Duncan, 2002 and Kotler, 2003).

Relationship marketing is the opposite of transaction marketing in which this ambition does not exist. Traditional transaction or acquisition marketing is short-term and sales-oriented and aims at the ‘one shot deal’. Relationship marketing is built upon the relationship between customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and profitability. (Gummesson, 2000).

Innocent drinks develops its customer relationship strategies according to the target audience, in order to retain new and existing customers both in the b2b and b2c UK market, shaping and stretching its relationships across 4 key groups: customers; suppliers; internal audience and stakeholder.

We will focus on its b2c relationships.

Innocent will strive for guarantee high reliability to avoid risk of switching to substitutes (i.e. assuring products storage), improving responsiveness (i.e. high customer service standards), assurance (i.e. employees acknowledgement of products attributes), empathy (i.e. supporting feedback and complaints as improvement), tangible factors (i.e. keep high level of physical evidence as vehicle, website). Innocent will base its appeal mainly on emotions and feelings, through humour, animation, jokes, simplicity, keeping the message informal, mainly orientated to a single or a few decision makers, opinion leaders or formers, because of the nature of their buying process/decision-making, low-involvement and limited-problem-solving combined with routines response behaviour, (i.e. Innocent uses database techniques to create the margin/customer matrix to identify which customer target choose to execute collaborative CRM, mainly focusing on proactive and partner). The pivotal role is to nurture, establish and maintain profitable relations with key segment groups thanks to continuous activities in building long-term superior perceived values such as trust, commitment and loyalty (i.e. unique and emotional selling proposition, differentiation and positioning are founded on these concepts). Innocent will manage its RM according to the stage of the product-life-cycle (PLC) and to the specific phase of the customer-life-cycle (CLC), keeping the longest and highest customer retention as possible (being the most profitable phase) by frequency and intensity of the exchanges.

The customer loyalty ladder shows the different stages that a customer goes through, from potential to advocate, according to his level of loyalty and relationship with the company, so that the latter can plan the better segmentation, targeting and positioning to reach its audience with the most appropriate integrated communication mix. The loyaly ladder can be adopted both in the b2b and in the b2c, as it represents a guide to delineate the right tool according to the specific level of relationship.

At this stage Innocent doesn’t invest money and time with “not yet purchasers”. Until they don’t buy or don’t contact the company (i.e. through the registration form in the website), Innocent doesn’t know who they are...
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