Elana Anderson, now at Unica, wrote a nice piece titled Where CRM Goes Next for Baseline Magazine. In a short piece she highlights some of the key challenges for CRM/Marketing going foward:
- It must become more focused on interactive marketing, engaging with customers
- It must break free from old habits like fixed campaign schedules and a focus only on outbound marketing
- It must focus on the multi-channel world that is a reality for most companies today
But, to my mind, the most important point she makes is this one:
Customer decision making will be centralized to drive the dialogue. Imagine a conversation in which one party can’t hear or understand what the other is saying. In many respects, this is the kind of conversation most companies have with their customers. The shift from shouting to collaboration and interactive marketing requires marketers to establish a centralized decision-making capability that facilitates dialogue across outbound and inbound, and online and offline marketing channels.
Why do I think this is the most important? Well if you are going to engage with customers across inbound and outbound channels, and across multiple inbound and outbound channels, then you need to do so consistently and analytically. Building this kind of capability into each channel separately not only costs more and makes it harder to leverage analytic insight, it also invites inconsistency. If you are going to replace large, fixed campaigns with something more interactive then you are going to have to automate the decisions about offer, message etc so that they can be delivered quickly and effectively in your new marketing mix – it will no longer be reasonable to sit and plan each one manually like it was for your monthly outbound newsletter or mailing. Without this centralized decision making the rest is simply not possible.
What’s more, a centralized decisioning capability can be used to ensure that marketing is part of every conversation with a customer – support calls, invoicing, statements (transpromotional marketing as it is called) and so on. A centralized decisioning capability also allows non-marketing information to be brought to bear on the problem through a single decisioning hub. This is why Enterprise is the first word of EDM – not because you must do everything enterprise-wide but because you must treat decisions about customers as enterprise decisions. As I like to say:
Customers respond to your decisions like they were deliberate and personal.
Perhaps you should ensure they are.
For more on this, check out this post on managing the multi-channel customer experience and this one on extreme personalization. You can also check out the Marketing and Customer Experience categories.
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Great article! You could not be more dead-on… When decisions are made for the customer, they’d better be the right decision, whether you made it yourself or the online CRM made it for you. The customer will hold you accountable either way.