The advance of technology has brought advantages on a scale that was once imperceptible for both businesses and marketers—new platforms to advertise on, worldwide outreach and market growth, just to name a few. But it has also posed unique challenges that marketers have to find unique ways to overcome. With so much digital information and content being created and spread at any given moment, it gets increasingly hard for ordinary people—who within this context are customers—to keep up with all of it.
The scene gets even more complicated when you take into account the preeminence of social media, which has created a vast global network chock-full of people, to put it lightly. Social media in and of itself is the biggest platform for sharing of content and information. The tricky part? Everyone can be a content creator, an influencer and whatever name you want to give to famous Internet personalities. This goes directly against the conventions of traditional marketing, where marketers were distinguishable from the rest. Now everyone can take part in the marketing process.
But that is not even the most significant issue. According to research conducted by Science Daily, 90% of total digital data worldwide was created in the last two years. A staggering number considering it represents 90% of all digital information created in the history of mankind. And, if anything, with the way the world moves forward to a more digital-centric future, an upward trend in that regard is inevitable.
Point is, the alarming rate at which digital information is being created and shared (which is not to say it is a good or bad thing), creates an issue where people are overwhelmed with the availability of so much information. Think of it this way— on daily basis, you probably receive more than a dozen promotional emails, text messages or push notifications from different websites or brands you have signed up for. You also probably ignore most of them half the time. Now from your perspective, that is not a problem. But from a marketer’s perspective, it is a glaring issue because essentially what that entails is that their marketing campaign can end up very much in the same way as the others—ignored, overlooked and disregarded.
Which brings us to the following point—the one-size-fits-all approach to marketing no longer works as effectively. In other words, campaigns that try to target everyone with a single message are hardly ever successful. Those that are successful are the exceptions to the rule. Customers nowadays are more aware of their needs and demands than ever. And because they are also significantly more informed than before—due to the availability of so much information—as well as are spoilt for choice, you cannot simply put out a mediocre campaign, cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Even though catching the attention of customers is hard, more so retaining them in the long run, it is not completely impossible. This is where things like customer loyalty and customer relationships matter. A lot of businesses realize the importance of customer relationship, hence why they center their marketing on that. A marketing endeavor that focuses on creating and maintaining relationships with its customers is what is called Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
CRM Marketing Definition
Technopedia defines customer relationship management (CRM) as, “a business process in which client relationships, customer loyalty and brand value are built through marketing strategies and activities.” What CRM essentially does is facilitating businesses in the development of long-term relationships with either new or established customers. In Technopedia’s own terms, CRM incorporates, “commercial and client-specific strategies via employee training, marketing planning, relationship building and advertising.”
CRM Marketing Benefits
Any successful business venture understands that customers are the single most valuable asset for their company. It is what determines just how successful the business is. Customers are the driving force behind the sales figures and revenues. Moreover, they provide feedback on which businesses can improve.
With that in mind, appreciating and not taking your customers for granted is a good first step for any business: however, merely doing so does not cut it anymore. What is more important is cultivating a relationship with the clientele, trying to learn more about them to understand their needs, preferences, purchasing habits and concerns.
Collecting such information is no easy task, more so keeping a record of it for future use. Fortunately, CRM solves those issues altogether using modern technology and digital tools. It is a unique tool with numerous benefits that can help streamline your business process and establish a customer relationship, which can ultimately lead to customer loyalty.
Here are some of the main benefits of implementing a CRM system and integrating it with your general marketing strategy,
- Customer Satisfaction. For every business to be successful, they need to have a customer base that is happy and satisfied with their services. CRM is capable of doing that well by facilitating easy communication between a business and its customers—which, subsequently, in more than one way, improves customer service—and by organizing the data collected on the customers.
- Improved Organization of Data. In order to understand your customers and consequently improve on your business practices based on their needs, your business needs to collect data concerning your client’s preferences, habits and whatnot. This means documenting and keeping record of everything that your clients do—purchases, communications and interactions. With a CRM tool, you can organize such data in an efficient manner and under proper categories. Furthermore, CRM makes this information easily accessible to all departments because its storage is cloud-based. Therefore, anyone working for your company can pull the needed information at any time which results in not wasting any time (whether employees’ or clients’) whenever an issue with a customer has to be resolved.
- Customer Service and Communication Enhancement. One of the main benefits of CRM is that it can enhance communication across all channels by a good margin. This is especially helpful from a customer service standpoint. Whenever a customer calls in with an issue at hand, which they almost always expect to be resolved quickly, your customer service specialist will have no issue of retrieving relevant information about the customer if a CRM system is in place. And the presence of CRM assists them in resolving the matter quickly due to past information and history of the customer being readily accessible to them. Additionally, because CRM has cloud-based storage for information, it can be accessed from anywhere using any device. Hence, there are no restrictions such as necessarily being in the office to be able to help a customer.
- Targeting and Segmentation. A main part of the job for any marketers is knowing who to target as a potential customer. This requires a huge amount of effort and carrying of tedious tasks such as collecting and going through customer data. With CRM this process is made simple because the collected data, as mentioned previously, is much more organized and contains a lot of useful information about customers, allowing the marketer to target customers that are potentially more profitable. The detailed information also allows marketers to segment the targeted customers based on their preferences and activities. In turn, they can take this data and create customized personal marketing messages for those customers, which is known to improve the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.
- Better Sales and Overall Performance. Obviously, every business cares about profitability above anything else. CRM is the perfect tool as it optimizes the way your business operates, minimizing wasted time and costs whilst enabling to follow quality leads and sales opportunities. Moreover, CRM can automate lots of work-related processes—accounting, contracts, projects, sales, etc.—by its streamlined infrastructure built to handle all of it at once.
CRM Marketing Automation
CRM automation and marketing automation both offer separate tools. It is easy to confuse one for the other or mistakenly think they carry out the same tasks. Although they somewhat overlap in the tasks they carry out, there is a slight difference in how or why they are used—in other words, they are used for different purposes.
CRM automation tools are sales-focused, meaning it concentrates more on the management of interactions with established or new customers. Marketing automation tools, on the other hand, are marketing focused, meaning it lets your company automate and streamline tasks and workflows related to marketing.
Both can be used separately, however if you want to save both time and costs, it is advised to combine them into an all-in-one CRM Marketing platform. This will be more beneficial for you as it synchronizes your marketing team and sales team, improves communication between both parties and allows for sharing of information through a unified data management.
Such coherence in both departments creates a situation in which your marketing team can develop a better strategy based on information received from sales team about customers’ sales habits, and the sales team can generate and pursue quality business leads based on information received from the marketing team about customers’ preferences, needs or demands.
Additionally, an all-encompassing CRM Marketing platform can be designed to include other mobile marketing tools to maximize its effectiveness. For example, implementing an SMS marketing campaign (learn more here) into your CRM marketing strategy will allow you to easier connect with customers and better manage your mass business communication with them.