Value Exchange: The Foundation of Relationship Marketing

Value Exchange, Personalization, Relationship Marketing

Privacy is a major concern for all of us—brands and consumers alike—and increasingly so, highlighted by recent government legislation, data breaches, and revelations about everyone’s favorite love-to-hate internet F word (so meta). This has consumers protecting their personal information more than ever before. They’ll share it, but it should be for a good reason. 

On top of all the privacy concerns, customers want to be treated like people, by people. So marketers need to reach them on a human level. Not via cookies, pixels, or on a creepy, ‘we’re watching you’ kind of level. 

We’ve all seen it before. You’re filling out a form – maybe to sign up for emails or make a purchase – but then you get to the part where they ask for your birthday, your phone number, or your favorite pizza toppings. Wait, what? Why do you need to know that?

Or how about this: You look at a funny cat video on your favorite social channel, and almost immediately you’re bombarded with ads about cat food, magic litter boxes, and fancy cat beds. 

Yeah, no thanks.


It doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. In the first example, if the potential customer doesn’t just abandon your form completely, they’re probably at least a little put off and suspicious. In the second example, they just feel spied upon. Not really a good first impression. 

We all want customers to be repeat or, ideally, even lifetime customers, right? Ongoing engagement between business and consumer requires some kind of relationship. So, why wait until you’ve gotten lucky enough for them to come back before you engage in a meaningful way? Relationship Marketing begins with the first interaction, where you meet the person by offering a rewarding experience. From there, you can transform the unknown customer to the known, engage with their personal wants in real-time, and accompany them into the valuable and mutually beneficial life of a loyal customer.

First step: creating the Value Exchange. Whether you’re looking at it from the marketer’s or the customer’s perspective, it’s simple: ask, receive, give, repeat. Marketers want your information. Customers want personalized experiences, and marketers need personal information to deliver that. It’s a match made in relationship marketing heaven. 

Data collection, infused with honesty and embracing the value exchange, can successfully procure qualified consumers. While buying data and spying on online behavior may get you a bucket of addresses, the real quality of those addresses and likelihood of long-lasting value is questionable. Time and resources are better spent acquiring reliable information directly from the consumers. This zero-party data can include customer preferences, personal information, communication ideals, and purchase intentions. Engage consumers and encourage them to share their personal information in return for real value, like offers, rewards, and a more personal relationship with your brand. By creating this Value Exchange with the customer, you both gain. And you embark on the start of what can be a beautiful (and loyal (and profitable)) relationship.

Air New Zealand did it. And in the process they collected 100,000 zero-party data records and millions in sales. That’s right: millions. 

Air New Zealand User Experience interface

Creating a value exchange: It works. It gets you customers, not just numbers. And it’s the right thing to do. We’re all people, and we want to be treated that way. Ask, receive, give, repeat.

Check out this supplementary content to learn more about the value exchange economy and how it can help you build deeper customer relationships while increasing lifetime value:

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