Building Solid Marketing Relationships by Sharing Personal Information

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The grocery store chain uses one simple marketing technique to promote customer loyalty. 

Customers sign up for a MVP card by providing the company with their names and addresses. The physical card itself has no value but as a consumer, one is eligible for multiple in-store discounts and, to the company, they have a repeat customer. This shows customer service, customer satisfaction, and customer retention in practice. It is also helpful to note that based on the items in the customer’s shopping cart, the register system prints additional coupon savings that the customer can use on his or her next shopping trip to the store. This is one example of the many benefits customers can receive by sharing personal information.

One of the more recent concerns expressed by consumers is the issue of privacy and information security. 

In the field of marketing, knowing as much about the customers and potential customers is a necessity in order to completely satisfy their needs with the services provided. Such information allows for the opportunity to not only study trends and make graphic analyses, but focus on relationship marketing. Just as customers give their personal information, they should feel equally confident in doing so now to a company that will ensure privacy and use that information to strengthen the relationship with that company.

The benefits of having personal information available far outweigh the risks of having that data readily accessible. 

An unfortunate event occurred in mid-2000 when Toysmart.com, Inc., during its bankruptcy proceedings, auctioned off their customers’ information which included names, email and physical addresses, and shipping histories. This caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and was immediately corrected. Luckily, since then, there are systems and processes in place to prevent the mishandling of personal information. 

There is federal legislation and internal measures taken to prevent such occurrences in the future. Most companies today have departments whose sole purpose is to manage customer information and monitor for compliance.

In basic marketing, the goal is to sell the product and/or service and move on to the next customer. 

The marketing profession’s focus shifted into one that incorporates the total customer experience. If the customer finds value in the whole experience, then he or she is more likely to remain loyal to that company. All of the customer’s touch points with the company (i.e. in person, via phone and/or email, and website) should show consideration to the individual’s needs before, during and after a sale.

Having a customer’s information and properly handling that information provides us with the tools that are absolutely necessary to achieve organizational goals. 

Properly identifying customers is the hallmark to the classical approach to marketing strategy – segmentation, selection, and positioning. There is a direct relationship between customer satisfaction and profitability. By continuously monitoring and improving efforts to achieve customer satisfaction, organizations, undoubtedly, strengthen their presence and establish character as a customer-driven company.

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