Marketing automation: why CRM matters

A CRM, or customer relationship management system, can help providers better track their target audience and clients’ behaviour, enabling them to target communications that resonate and engage with them. Relevance’s senior CRM and marketing automation consultant, David Breviglieri, explores why brands need an effective and strategic customer relationship management system to enable them to precisely understand their clients’ needs.  

Marketing automation and CRM 

While many brands view CRM systems as relatively modern, they have, in fact, been in existence since companies started catering to the needs of the world’s most discerning customers. 

When I was a child some 37.9 years ago, I was often bored with the task of accompanying my mother shopping. We lived close to Milan, and when in the city, my mother would often visit high fashion boutiques. 

I have mixed memories of those experiences, but I was always struck by the personnel’s attention towards my mother: they would call her by name, remember details about her purchases, and reconfirm details she had shared in previous visits. 

I was intrigued by those interactions. As the assistants knew me well, they let me roam around the shop. During one visit, I remember reading a little handwritten notebook where the shop assistant would detail my mum’s preferences, annotations and purchases, among the information of many other clients. 

Little did I know that that was their strategic customer relationship management system, a collection of client interactions, preferences, visits and purchases managed with a little notebook and a lot of chatting. 

For some brands, little has changed, as their clientele is so exclusive that the agent, broker or salesperson still has a notebook. And because their company visibility and clientele have greatly expanded, they sometimes forget, need to deal with unqualified prospects, or worse, leave the company taking their notebook with them. 

Other providers have experimented with different customer relationship management strategies garnering mixed results, from adopting one of the social platforms as a “universal identifier” constrained by such supplier, to creating a costly custom made “user-password” solution that adapts to their identity strategies but can not handle non-authenticated users.

Despite the implemented solution, providers need to know precisely and reliably who they are engaging with to deliver experiences that truly resonate with their clients that are used to superb attention. 

Segmentation and targeting are paramount to avoid blanket communications to audiences for whom the content just isn’t relevant. Generic messages and newsletters that don’t achieve any engagement offer very little usable data to help brands understand recipients’ preferences and needs. 

Furthermore, missing, incomplete, or expired customer data often siloed in disparate systems can negatively impact the company’s performance, leading to inaccurate sales forecasts, approximate budgeting, and a potential loss of clients’ confidence. 

So, how can brands build strategic customer relationship management systems? 

For many brands, a CRM solution is still tied to the IT department, something that is often seen as a foreign tool left to the meanders of tech management. 

In reality, to deliver a high level of personalisation, providers need to implement a CRM system that prioritises data quality. Additionally, data management needs to become the full-time responsibility of anyone interacting with the client. 

For a successfully implemented customer relationship management strategy, two types of customer data are needed: Context (anything from visits, purchases and browsing histories to physical locations), and identity. It is clear that cookies are a weak approximation for an actual human being, so only a system that unites multiple sources of identifier and interactions can form a complete holistic view of the consumer, creating true personalisation.

Your leads can and will tell a lot just by their behaviour and engagement with your various channels: True insights come from the knowledge of your leads engaging with your content, clicking on your emails, browsing your website, and fulfilling the journey that has been carefully prepared for them. 

This will provide an insightful prediction of how likely a lead is to convert and allows the advantage of that little notebook the shop assistant would use to discern the behaviour of their clients. 

With mobile devices being at the centre of the customer experience, clients are now super informed and connected to a persistent form of digital identity. Those companies that can identify the right balance between digital and human, will thrive. Some tips include: 

• Be genuine: Don’t try to fool people into thinking an automation is a real human

• Test, learn, and test again: Start with something small, non-damaging, and then keep expanding

• Don’t be afraid: embrace a synergic solution that will provide automation and can truly provide a qualified lead.

And of course, that notebook system was truly working only when the shop assistant would recognise a specific client, like your system will have to. 

To discuss how a proper CRM and Marketing Automation strategy may positively impact your business, contact our team of CRM experts today.

Read more articles by this author

click here