Relationship Marketing Is…

A client asked me today when does old-style direct mail turn into relationship marketing? I said…

  • When it’s about the whole relationship—web, emarketing, mail and human channels—and all of these know the customer equally well.
  • When all of these channels are enabled to deliver offers and services that demonstrate that customer knowledge.
  • When the focus is on the customer’s lifetime value, with measurement to match, rather than making a single product sale in a silo.
  • When the lines between service, marketing and sales are seamless and invisible to the customer.

Citi retail banking/card reorganization illustrates importance of having strategy and structure in synch

An article in Dow Jones Newswires yesterday reported that Citi has reorganized its U.S. retail banking and credit card operations, in order to improve sales and service.  The reorganization is based around customer segments, product development, and distribution.  In announcing the reorganization, Citi acknowledged that its previous structure was too product-centric.

In recent years, banks have emphasized their renewed focus on relationship banking.  These banks are now starting to understand that, to achieve their vision of relationship optimization, strategy and structure need to be in synch.  Benefits of having customer-based organizational structure:

  • The company has a much greater ability to anticipate, and react to, changes in the marketplace
  • Customer ownership rules are more clearly delineated
  • Product development starts from the perspective of the customer rather than the product
  • Employee compensation is based on the attainment of customer-focused metrics (acquisition, retention, lifetime value), rather than reaching sales goals for products that may adversely affect long-term relationships
  • Sales teams become more specialized around different segments, develop a more holistic understanding of customer needs, and can present more comprehensive solutions.  Training and sales support are also recast to focus on segments rather than products