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Darron Gregory Director of Strategic Solutions Celerity

Has the Dream of Excellence in CRM and Great One-to-One Marketing Eluded us?

I think this is an overly bleak view. 

At the Data and CRM Masterclass held on the 6th October, our sales director, Paul Sene, looked at why the Single Customer View, an important part of any rounded CRM programme, is still on the agenda - why isn’t it now part of our marketing culture? I’d like to consider CRM and its limitations in a broader sense here. 

We all see the stats. Only this week eConsultancy reported some pretty sad ones from Greenlight:

  • Nine out of 10 brands are failing to personalise effectively
  • Marketers are most advanced in their use of personalisation on websites and email, but with only just over half (54%) personalising on both these channels
  • Mobile continues to lag behind with just a quarter (24%) of marketers personalising on mobile devices or in-app
  • Only a third of marketers (36%) are using location insights to tailor campaigns

My view is that it should be more about the results than about our perceived notion of our CRM ‘nirvana’. This is because it’s the consumer that tells us if what we are doing works for them - through their loyalty and custom. This is our measure, not the scale and elegance of our programme. We also need to challenge the notion of the perfect customer experience; there will be many factors out of our reach as mortal marketing practitioners.

A good example of this is the work we do for one of our hospitality clients. They have a great CRM programme (I would say that), it works seamlessly across all of the channels we use, and the results from even the most basic advancements are truly impressive. But, even with all of this sophistication and the tangible results in terms of increased frequency and incremental revenue, a badly handled cold burger will wipe away the positive experience we’ve created with our marketing programme. The next development for them using in-app ordering and beacons will improve upon what is already a great programme - but the ‘burger conundrum’ will still be a bigger factor in the customer’s experience.

What is true, however, is that many of the barriers to good CRM adoption we used to have are still there. Barriers we continually have to overcome:

  • Siloed organisations - where there is no one single owner of the customer leading to a disjointed experience
  • No clear company vision - often we see that CRM is a technical requirement rather than one that is led by a clear and measurable strategy
  • Distraction - even the best laid plans…To create the best customer experience through exceptional CRM is a lifelong commitment as it continually needs to adapt to the customer and the market. The organisation and its peoples’ commitment to keep the customer experience and CRM at the top of the agenda often fail, leaving it half completed or stagnant. Every good CRM programme needs a champion.

Something that has changed in the last couple of years though is that technology is now very much the enabler of good marketing-focused customer experiences and it’s our ability to use it that is the limiter. Customer Single Views can be created more accurately and faster than ever before, and marketing platforms allow us to easily take control of the whole marketing-managed customer experience.

We need to challenge ourselves to see what excellence in CRM and great one-to-one marketing actually means to our consumers (there is no ‘one size fits all’) and then decide if the journey to achieve this is worth the effort. If it is then we must become its champion, as without us it will fail along the way.