The Rules of Relationship Marketing
Last week, I had the opportunity and good fortune to share my Thanksgiving wine picks with Spokane area wine lovers on KXLY920 radio station and KXLY TV’s Good Morning Northwest show. While some may think of me as a media whore, I love these opportunities to showcase Spokane wine and of course Nectar Tasting Room. While these opportunities sometimes seem to come out of the blue, they are not by accident, they are by design. The great thing is that anyone can develop the relationships they need for success in their industry.
Over the last few months I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking on “relationship marketing” and building strategic connections; so much so, that I’ve started a book about the subject (only on chapter 3 of 12 right now). While I may not “do” relationships and networking correctly all the time, I have seen the power of these strategic connections in action these last 12 months. Here are three tips for turning online relationships into offline success.
1. Be genuine
People can spot a phony. Be who you are regardless of your faults and failures. There are some people I don’t get along with. I can be impetuous and quick to speak without thinking through the consequences, but I am also quick to apologize and know my shortcomings. Many people can build a wide and shallow network but it will collapse like a house of cards if the roots are not deep and genuine.
2. Be purposeful
Build relationships that can be symbiotic. This isn’t done to meet selfish needs but it is done with thoughtful intention. As a Washington wine blogger, I knew that I needed the bigger community of established bloggers. I intentionally sought out and connected with people like Washington Wine Report, Seattle Wine Gal, Paul Gregutt, Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman and more. These relationships became mutually beneficial and even spawned some great friendships.
Knowing that social media marketing and developing a brand required a broader reach, I intentionally connected with local influencers like Pam Scott, Visit Spokane, Ally Shoshana, Monte Tareski, Barb Chamberlain (and so many others) along with the growing local traditional media population on Twitter (enter the radio and TV contacts). Be purposeful about the connections you make whether it is media, non-profits, industry alliances, or popular influencers.
I would speculate that at least 90% of my great “offline” relationships began through “online” purposeful connections.
3. Be giving
Some people are consumers and users. By their very nature their endeavors dry up because at their core they are taking more than they are giving and eventually there is nothing left to take. I love what I do. I love Spokane and the wine scene here. While I have been intentional about most everything I’ve done, I also love seeing the success of those around me and promoting our area. From day one when 5 people watched a video and 3 people read a blog post, it was about adding value to the community. A good friend recently reminded me that it was this “giving” that was so attractive at the beginning. As a business owner with bills, new stresses and responsibilities, I have to admit that I briefly lost sight of giving and became inwardly focused. People often ask if a wine bar around the corner is our competition. I always respond with, “No, I love that place. I often go there when I’m not working.” I love promoting them and their events. Regardless of whether there is a direct financial return, giving should be at the core of what you do. I’ve recently learned that there is a basic principle of the universe. Where your attention goes, your energy flows. Living life with open hands to give also allows you to receive back as well. Many of the most valuable relationships I have were birthed out of giving relationships with the Spokane Symphony, American Childhood Cancer Organization INW, Make a Wish foundation, Cancer Patient Care, Cystic Fibrosis and more.
Relationships are the key to success in any endeavor. Relationship marketing is the unique combination of building and nurturing relationships both online through social media and offline through traditional means. In my opinion, relationships grow through selfless effort and sacrificing your own needs for the greater good of others. Be genuine as you intentionally and purposefully build relationships with key people. Look for ways you can give back to each of those relationships and success will be yours.
For those of you who are interested, I’ve included both the TV and radio spots here for you
RADIO SPOT http://kxly-am.tritondigitalmedia.com/upload/wineguy.MP3
Tags: Marketing, Social Media
12 comments on “The Rules of Relationship Marketing”
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Well written blog post, Josh. You hit the nail on the head – in three places: being genuine & being purposeful in our actions and remembering a giving spirit. All of the rules of life, whether on or offline are really the same and if we walk a right path with that in mind, we will be successful but more than that we build success for those we are connected to. A bit of a higher purpose approach, but, ah well, what did you expect from me?
And as to doing life/relationship marketing on or offline “right”…have we really defined what that “right” is? The only “right” I see is the intention of being purposeful and genuine. So it goes without saying (although I am saying it here), you must be doing it “right”.
Peace, Josh. Enjoy your “right” relationships. =)
Thanks, Ally, I appreciate you. It’s been great getting to know you online and offline.
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It’s a well-written article about the rules of relationship marketing.It gives the power of relationships between you and your leads or customers, and the leverage it can bring when you know exactly how to implement it.Understanding the importance of relationship marketing is vital to your true success
Aw, shucks–thanks for the mention!
I heartily agree with your 3 points. The “be genuine” point is advice I give people I talk with, coupled with “decide where your sharing boundaries are” so that they can stay on point with #2, be purposeful.
A long time ago I read some wit’s advice that the best reason for telling the truth is that it doesn’t require you to have a good memory. “Be authentic” feels the same to me–so much easier to be yourself, isn’t it, than to remember to be whatever persona you constructed?
That doesn’t mean you don’t select and curate the parts of you that show, but whatever shows needs to be real.
For those who think this touchy-feely stuff doesn’t lead to real business, a quick sketch:
Josh was generous to me in helping me hold an event for my teeny-tiny start-up, Bike Style Spokane. He gives something away.
I bought two bottles of wine. Immediate $$ return.
Thanks to his good advice, we discovered my husband’s new favorite wine (Terra Blanca Riesling) and I go back to buy it every so often. Repeat $$ business.
At an event, I have a choice of several wines. I see Terra Blanca Merlot and I buy it. Business for one of the wineries Josh represents–so his knowledge of their wine helps them sell it not just at Nectar, but elsewhere.
*I* now have a new favorite so I’ll be buying more bottles. More repeat business for Josh.
And at each step of the way, I talk about Josh, his business, and the wine, in real life and in various social media spaces, because I like to help people who help me and who help others. It’s human nature.
Keep paying it forward, Josh–it’s paying off.
What a thoughtful and well-written article. Online networking has really only made it easier to network in person, if you are connecting for the right reasons. You are one of my favorite go-to guys. I appreciate all you do for wine and for this community with your seemingly endless drive and determination.
Seriously, I am really humbled by this post. I love to meet people, but thrive on the relationships I figured were unattainable for a “key relationship”. I have been inspired by so many of the online greats in Spokane. But moving on the inspirations are the reality of quality relationships! Taking online to the next level takes guts, but the best online relationships are because of eventual F2F connections.
Being a niche product and name, I find that the people I think will be turned off by what I do become the biggest supporters. As you said “I would speculate that at least 90% of my great “offline” relationships began through “online” purposeful connections.”, I agree 100%! None of this would be possible without the 3 defining points you mentioned above!
You rock Josh, and I am grateful to know you, mostly because you are 100% real
Thanks, Doyle. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and working with you as well. Here is to great things in the near future.
Be genuine. Be purposeful. Be giving.
Thank you for so eloquently demonstrating all three of those qualities in your blog post.
Community Engagement, Radian6
I have been inspired by so many of the online greats in Spokane. But moving on the inspirations are the reality of quality relationships! Taking online to the next level takes guts, but the best online relationships are because of eventual F2F connections.