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Resurgence of interest in CRM, say marketing directors

Resurgence of interest in CRM, say marketing directors

By Julia Hutchison, COO, APA  

A recent survey of marketing directors conducted by McKinsey showed a resurgence of interest in customer relationship management as a direct result of the credit crunch. Belts are inevitably being tightened and return on investment is now, more than ever, crucial.

Moreover, in a bid to make budgets stretch further, focus has rapidly shifted from customer acquisition to retaining existing ones. It is a well known fact that it is more expensive to find than keep a customer. And it costs even more to lose a customer to your competition that wins on making them feel valued as perception runs deep.

There is a plethora of studies and research reports available from well-respected institutions, academics and marketing practitioners discussing marketing practices in a recession. Whilst opinions on levels of investment or optimum channel choices differ, all are in agreement that ongoing relevant communication is vital for maintaining long-term relationships that are robust enough to weather the current economic storm and become a base upon which to build when the outlook is brighter.

The key to the success of customer publishing, whether a printed title or digital initiative such as an e-zine, podcast or Facebook page lies in the fact that it offers a flexible medium through which companies can deliver on a range of marketing and customer service objectives. The most commonly cited objective by clients behind customer publishing is “encouraging loyalty” with “providing information to customers” coming a close second. This demonstrates that keeping customers loyal is closely allied with keeping them updated on products and services.

Customer publishing play a central role in retaining, informing and increasing customer spend, and as such existing customers remain the most important target market, particularly in the current climate.

It has been found that organisations that publish a customer magazine or invest in a digital campaign, or indeed an integrated customer publishing initiative, have more profitable conversations with their customers – essential for companies looking to become more customer centric. Another interesting co-incidence (or is it?) is that the organisations most famed for being customer friendly (as named by Marketing magazine), such as John Lewis and Waitrose, Tesco, Post Office, Virgin Atlantic, to name but a few, all subscribe to customer publishing.


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