Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Mari Smith about her new book, The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web. In this 30 minute interview, Mari shares her views on networking to build relationships, as well as a few tools she recommends to manage and stay in touch with your clients and customer via social networks. The audio is 30:40 minutes and a lightly edited transcript follows.
Denise: Welcome. You’re in for a big treat today. You’re going to get a big dose of passionate, positive energy as well as important, actionable advice from my friend and colleague, Mari Smith. I’m Denise Wakeman, your host for today’s interview. We have about 30 minutes with Mari so I’m not going to waste any time. We’re going to get started now with a quick introduction and then get to the questions I have for Mari about the subject of her new book The New Relationship Marketing.
Mari and I go back a few years. In 2005 I first interviewed Mari about email marketing. Then in 2007 she presented one of her first Facebook teleseminars to my community. It’s my pleasure to have Mari here again today sharing her expertise. Mari Smith is a passionate social media leader. I’m sure many of you know that. She specializes in relationship marketing and Facebook mastery. She is co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day and author of The New Relationship Marketing.
Mari travels the world to give keynotes at top events and leads social media workshops. She frequently shares the stage with notable leaders and celebrities.
Fast Company described Mari as, “A veritable engine of personal branding, a relationship marketing whiz, and the Pied Piper of the online world.” With her popular blog at www.marismith.com and her large following on both Facebook and Twitter, Mari is considered one of the top resources and thought leaders in the world of marketing.
Welcome Mari. Thanks for sharing some of your time with us today. Congratulations on the publication of your new book.
Mari: I am really excited. Thank you so much Denise. You know, it’s been quite a journey as you well know.
Denise: It has been. It’s been fabulous to watch your rise in the last couple of years, the last 3 years I think it’s been. It’s been really exciting to watch you take off and fly.
Mari: Thank you.
Denise: Let’s start with a foundational question. What is relationship marketing and what’s new about it?
Mari: You know, it’s fascinating, when I was doing the research for this book, I discovered quite a bit that I didn’t know about relationship marketing even though I called myself a relationship marketing specialist for about 10 years. Long before social media was a buzz word. Long before Facebook even existed. Maybe when Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school.
I just love the word “relationship” and then combining that with business and relationship marketing came up. Then I discovered it’s actually a term that was coined back in the mid 1980’s by a Professor [Leonard] Berry. It probably had a little bit more of an academic definition then, not necessarily as main stream as much as now. We’re all very familiar with social media marketing and new media marketing. To me, relationship…
Let me give you the definition. It’s super, super simple. Traditional marketing is transactional focused. It’s basically where people are going for the sale and more often than not, they’re going for one sale. They’re focused on the very transaction in front of their nose as a marketer or business person. Whereas, relationship marketing you literally are focused on building a friendship, a connection, a relationship with your marketplace, your prospects and customers.
Any activity that you do that would sustain and maintain that relationship -the goal is to have that person as a customer for life. It’s not just one off transactional, it’s long term relationship marketing.
So if we go casting our minds back several decades and think this is a term that came out in the 80’s-of course my belief is we have always, since the dawning of man, we’ve been doing relationship marketing. We do business with people we know, like, and trust. It’s all about relationships. Who you know and who knows you and who you trust and what companies you trust.
The new element is most definitely these online social networks which over the last 5 years have absolutely skyrocketed. Obviously Facebook in particular. We’ve now got Twitter. There’s also Google+. What’s happening is that consumers are sharing vast amounts of personal information that now as a savvy marketer, you can provide an extremely customized and personalized experience for your prospects and for your customers. You can actually court and nurture the relationships especially with your top clients. You make a list of your top 25 best clients. Then you do your utmost to follow and observe them and gather information from all the different social profiles that they have publicly available. You can always send them gifts in the mail and just send them little tweets acknowledging and really building up that relationship.
You know Denise, we’re very familiar with the term “friend” when it comes to Facebook friend, but we can actually befriend our marketplace, befriend our prospects and customers.
Denise: I agree. It’s the building of the friendship that has really taken on new meaning now, hasn’t it?