Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

is, broadly speaking, a term for systems designed to keep customers loyal.  Of course, CRM can also be used to create new customers.  But, the real gig in a successful CRM program is making sure that the investment in winning new clients converts to long-term loyalists.  The linchpin of an effective CRM system — that uses available technology to communicate — is the data on the customer.  {Click to Tweet}  Without clean data, the address goes out of date and communications are rendered ineffective by being too impersonal or, worse, inaccurate.

What’s the deal?

Companies most often end up sending out messages announcing deals.  It’s the most tangible value proposition.  Companies that embark on regular email campaigns need to justify their stream of communications.  That justification is intended, in large part, to create the need to open this email… as opposed to the slew of unopened mails before.  The offers, predicated on a singular reason (value as opposed to values), can quickly become banal and, worse, mildly offensive.  Below, this email symbolizes a mindset that too many companies still have: open this mail up to celebrate its own birthday!  Happy Birthday to Us! 

Can’t Remember Me

The issues here are multiple.  The fact that the company is 18 years old is entirely irrelevant to me and, I would argue, in general to the masses.  What’s the material benefit for me as a consumer?  Secondly, the link between the offer and the birthday celebration is meaningless and no different from many other prior messages.  Thirdly, and most importantly, why does this company never send a special offer on my birthday!  Finally, if this brand were interested in really gaining my attention, the flyer might have some imagery that were more relevant to me as a male 49-year-old.  Clearly, this is a demonstration where CRM stands for Can’t Remember Me.

Happy Birthday to us: The Myndset digital marketing brand strategy

Luxury CRM

In a world where luxury brands are competing democratically against lower end brands, the CRM option can be treacherous.  Mechanisms to incite the receiver to open up the mail quickly become banal, depending on the frequency of the communications.  In the case below, Lancôme — part of the L’Oreal group with whom I worked for so many years — continues to consider me a female customer.  A company that strives to be luxury in positioning must go to greater lengths to make the communications more valuable, starting with a more stringent classification of the people in its database.  In the Lancôme example below, the presence of the brand story is decidedly non-existent – curious for a “luxury” positioning.  Like the example above, there are essentially only products and offers.  The 4th tab with “Conseils” or Advice (“tips” on the English site) is a thinly veiled way of selling more product, as opposed to the Blog in the example above which, at least, provides some more interesting tips for the family, with a less explicit connection to product.

Lancome email campaign, The Myndset digital marketing brand strategy

Efficiency versus effectiveness

In a world where customer loyalty is at the heart of a long-term profitable business model, it is startling to see how little true effort has been made to work the “free” email channel to be more enticing, engaging and, ultimately, more effective.  As automated and efficient as management wants their marketing efforts to be, the issue is that by cutting corners and costs, the customer can feel decidedly under-appreciated.  At least, that is how I feel each time I am regarded as a woman who is 18 years old (not to forget those hideously over-retouched images).  Excellence in CRM takes capturing and mastering the data, strong analytics and the human touch (including copyright and empathy in crafting the messages). {Click to tweet}  It’s no wonder that the little brands who can — as opposed to the big brands who can’t remember me — continue to have added attraction… especially in the luxury space.

Your thoughts and reactions are welcome.

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