Is CRM Really a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?
No I don’t necessarily think so, but to keep mixin’ up the metaphors it is not unlike Field of Dreams with the oft-used mantra “build it and they will come“. Just because you build or buy a CRM at great expense and turn it on does not mean that “… they will come”, let alone continue to come again, more often, with increasing loyalty across the various constituent lifecycles.
As many others suggest CRM is but infomation enabled Relationship Marketing that requires equal investments in strategy, people AND technology.
The reason for my initial question is a recent blog post from Lisa Baxter of The Experience Business Customer Relationship Management: Pulling the wool over our own eyes.
Lisa, I suspect you and I are singing from the same hymnsheet (oops analogy three and counting), but I worry about your vilification of CRM at the start or am I getting the wrong end of the stick (oh oh four).
I think an essential element of a CRM in assisting Audience Development is initiating and then building an ongoing relationship, but an important part of that is trust. Trust is based on mutual respect and organisational actions and tactics must align with that as part of a sustainable long term strategy. The tactics that you mention may be useful components, but as you suggest, on their own with out the coordinated organisational committment that builds trust each and every contact, they are just cheap tricks (and are perceived as such).
CRM like marketing is about managing an exchange of value and that means providing value for both sides, the customer and the vendor. Lisa, the examples you give do seem to be framed to sound “predatory”, but the language does not include the value that such actions may have for the customer (whether prospective, first time, recent or frequent, lapsed or refused and so-on)
Maybe our perspectives are very similar, I agree with you that maybe it is the people and strategy components at fault. A selling orientation is increasingly out of place in this day and age and push marketing is limited by its short term perspective.
I don’t disagree with your ‘platitudes’ that Relationship Marketing may deliver via a CRM: gratitude, helpfulness & empathy, inform, delight, connect and value. In fact, they sound like worthwhile values to aspire to in any initiative.
Yes, retention is the way forward. Retention in all its guises from return attendance to frequency recency and monetary value to upselling, cross-selling and value adds and so-on. But it is a two-way exchange of value that ensures longer term success.