A relationship marketing strategy uses personalized communication to sell products or services. Relationship marketing establishes long-term contact between a business and its customers in order to increase profits. A business gathers and uses customer data to provide discounts, complimentary products and enhanced service levels. Grocery store club discount cards, airline frequent flier rewards and other customer loyalty programs are examples of relationship marketing strategies. A successful relationship marketing strategy attracts and retains profitable customers.

Mutual Benefit

The two main components of relationship marketing -- personalization and regular, periodic communication -- strive to increase customer satisfaction. One of the effects of relationship marketing is mutual benefit. The customer receives something of value through regular, personalized communication. A business hopefully increases long-term sales and profitability. For example, a grocery store discount card tracks purchase behavior. In exchange for allowing the grocery store access to his spending habits, a customer may receive volume discounts and individual pricing on frequently purchased items. The additional savings may prompt the customer to shop at the store more often.


A satisfied customer is more likely to remain loyal to a company. According to the "European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences," companies are able to make more money from customers who take advantage of a loyalty program's perks. Higher customer satisfaction levels tend to increase the cost efficiency of the relationship. Some long-term relationships are not beneficial to a company, regardless of customer satisfaction level. A business should not continue relationships that cost too much to maintain.

Customer Gratitude

Customer gratitude plays a key role in the development of long-term relationships and loyalty. Gratitude tends to increase with the amount of favors, according to the Marketing Science Institute. As customers continue to receive rewards for their purchases, they are more likely to respond to future offers. Customers who develop relationships with sales representatives and receive regular rewards begin to sense an obligation to the company. One of the ways customers express their gratitude is by making additional purchases or increasing the amount of their purchases.

Relationship Stages

A customer who has early, positive experiences is more likely to maintain a relationship through a "commitment stage," according to the Marketing Science Institute. A relationship between a customer and a company begins with an exploratory stage, progresses to a developing stage and then reaches a commitment stage. The commitment stage is where trust and communication between the company and the customer are solid and predictable. Both sides are aware of the mutual benefits of the relationship and are more willing to commit long term.