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I'm at Microsoft Convergence in Barcelona. I'm also in the middle of compiling a report on multichannel marketing.
Both of these endeavours leave me bemused as to why I haven't heard people using the phrase 'the year of CRM'.
Perhaps it just doesn't have the ring to it that 'year of mobile' always did. Perhaps it's because a lot of the CRM action is occuring in enterprise B2B and isn't as sexy as above-the-line brand campaigns.
Anyway, the point is that CRM, a very traditional concept, through cloud and mobile, is a sophisticated and rapidly growing market. The market in 2013 was valued at $20.4bn by Gartner.
This growth isn't set to change pace, with Econsultancy's Marketing Budgets 2014 report showing CRM to be the technology most earmarked for investment this year (see chart below).
Microsoft Dynamics itself lays claim to 41 quarters of double digit growth, 4.4m users and 80% year-on-year net seat growth.
It has just announced increased 'omnichannel' functionality and seems to be coming up on the rails in a top five of CRM providers who are all making hay - Salesforce especially.
So, I thought I'd round up some reasons for this rise in CRM.
Earlier in the year I wrote a beginner’s guide to customer relationship management entitled What is CRM and why do you need it? Welcome to the next chapter.
Here we'll be investigating the next vital stage in your CRM strategy: social CRM, and how this can help your company track its relationships in an increasingly multichannel landscape.
First though, for anybody who needs a refresher, a quick recap of what CRM actually means….
A CRM (customer relationship management) is the name for any system or model used to manage a company’s interactions with its current or future clients or customers.
It can be used to organise, automate and synchronise all of the customer facing areas within your company: from marketing to sales to customer service to technical support.
CRM gives you the time to develop other areas of your business, whilst giving you the reassurance that you’re not letting your existing clients down or responding to new enquiries in an efficient manner.
Summer is the season for live events like concerts, baseball games, music festivals and more.
Previously seen as simply a one-way advertising opportunity, mobile’s ability to facilitate a conversation with consumers has transformed live events into a key component of cross-channel marketing efforts.
This allows for consumers to become part of the event - whether in person or watching it on television. However, just like any program, a campaign built around a live event requires preparation that identifies goals and key messages to ensure it’s a measurable success.
Arguably this summer’s most talked about sporting event is the World Cup.
And, according to a study conducted by Interactive Advertising Bureau on device usage, nearly half of soccer fans worldwide who own smartphones intend to follow the games via their phone.
Earlier this week I published the first of two posts in which several CRM experts shared the fruits of their knowledge.
It addressed CRM processes, selecting data channels and what businesses should be aiming to achieve.
In this second post, the experts impart their knowledge on how to choose the correct CRM software and potential barriers to implementation, as well as sharing the most valuable lesson they've learned during their careers.
For more information on this topic download Econsultancy’s best practice report investigating CRM in the Social Age.
CRM (customer relationship management) is a strategy that enables companies to manage their interactions with customers or clients on a one-to-one basis.
Marketing messages can be personalised and automated based on user data, resulting in improved customer satisfaction, sales and retention.
An effective CRM strategy relies on clean data and synchronised digital channels, which isn’t an easy task due to legacy systems and contracts with different vendors.
So to give some insight into how businesses should approach CRM implementation, I asked three experts for their words of wisdom.
This is the first of two posts on this topic, but for more information download Econsultancy’s best practice report investigating CRM in the Social Age...
It seems like the staple diet of a digital marketing blogger is to declare something dead, or not dead, or cleverly D.E.A.D.
Only this week, our David Moth wrote a piece on email marketing’s rude health (email is not dead).
I think the reason we’re obsessed with the death of marketing technology is because, despite the pace of change in digital, there are many age-old marketing principles that remain absolute.
Relevance, timeliness, perhaps more broadly the four, five or seven Ps – these will ever remain in the marketing canon.
And, of course, no matter how sophisticated technology becomes, there will still exist businesses that don’t get the marketing mix right.
However, despite all this, I am interested in areas of marketing that might undergo automation and sophistication to the point where they require little work.
What I foresee is the perfection of certain disciplines (e.g. marketing automation) throwing light on new priorities, such as a renewed interest in conversion rate optimisation or data cleanliness.
With marketing as a department more powerful than ever, why would the amount of work decrease? Surely we’re sticking our elbows out, and our oars into every part of the org?
So, what about email segmentation? Will there be a time when it’s no longer a core skill, something to be done actively by marketers? Will technology take care of it for us?
From reactive and pro-active engagement techniques to mapping customer journeys and developing multichannel, what are the current trends in social customer service and how will they affect what we consider best practice in the future?
Speaking on this subject last week at Our Social Times’ Social Customer Service Summit 2014, was social media strategist Martin Hill-Wilson.
During his keynote speech, Martin explored various techniques and trends that may well come to define social customer service in the near future.
In particular, the need to think of social in a bigger context: as part of a multi-channel customer service strategy.
Ryanair is a unique brand. It managed to become one of Europe’s most-successful airlines despite a reputation for poor service that occasionally bordered on contempt for its own customers.
The ‘no frills’, challenger brand ethos became such an important part of Ryanair’s image and tone of voice that it ended up antagonising consumers as well as the competition.
But changing consumer expectations and mass adoption of digital technology means that Ryanair risks being left behind if it doesn’t change its ways, so new CMO Kenny Jacobs has been tasked with overhauling the customer experience and improving people’s perceptions of the brand.
The airline’s appeal comes from its low prices and massive choice of routes, so that has to remain intact if the business is to continue growing. Therefore Jacobs is focusing much of his efforts on improving the digital experience.
How to use content effectively at each stage of the funnel, from awareness to lead generation, lead management to sales and retention?
I moderated a discussion at Econsultancy’s Digital Cream event yesterday about B2B content marketing and this was among the many things we talked about.
Of course, one of the discussion points was how to ensure content is good, ergo in the right format and length most appropriate for the customer’s location in the funnel, as well as best suited to your specific product and sector.
Creating good content may also entail curating content held internally, making sure that it is repurposed in ways that suit the customer, perhaps dialling down some of the technical fervour within your organisation to make things easily ‘digestible’.
But aside from these myriad discussions about content formats (what it takes to be a good writer/editor/producer, who should create the content and how often) there was a bigger beast to slay.
That beast is a mess of data that may be inaccurate. A consensus that the buying journey often affords a company only ‘one shot at a customer’ was clear for many of the people I talked to. Having good data and a good contact strategy is key.
In this post I thought I’d continue the spirit of Digital Cream and spark discussion of combining content with customer data. I’ve also shared an infographic from Experian Data Quality, discussing data quality more generally, and the impact it has on businesses.
I’ve been making a point in my journey as a writer for Econsultancy to investigate the many and varied terms in digital that I don’t understand.
As I am a relative newcomer to the digital marketing world, there are many. This is like a trial-by-fire.
Thanks to these above investigations, I feel much more knowledgeable on each subject and can generally hold conversations on them for at least two or three minutes.
So that’s that then. My work here is done. Might as well chip off early and grab a sandwich. What’s that? I haven’t covered CRM yet?
The first thing to do is set my stall out. This isn’t a post attacking Regus, providers of business and meeting space, rather one intending to point out something that lots of its customers are surely struggling with.
Being constructively critical, I have found Regus’ finance department and its CRM systems to sometimes work in opposition with Regus’ commitment to good service.
At times I have torn my hair out wondering how Regus can provide me with an inconsistent customer experience, something that feels so different depending on who I’m talking to. I’ve often felt like account representatives haven’t any idea of who I am or of my value, both past and present.
I’ve had brilliant account managers and the service on the day is always top notch, but where the service sometimes comes up short is in the aftercare. In the current climate of customer revolution, with companies better informed and less willing to spend, customer experience is key.
The latest trends in digital are all about trying to improve the customer experience, and accurate and timely comms over the customer lifecycle is as important as it gets in B2B.
So, in this post I’ll detail some of my problems and discuss them in the context of organisational change and joining up data. Maybe we’ll find a way out of these Kafkaesque corridors where I repeatedly plead with some strange new arbiter, asking them to just look a little bit harder for my records.