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How marketers should best approach CRM

How marketers should best approach CRM

Nazia Khan, Director of newly launched Milana Marketing discusses the changing nature of CRM.

Sooner or later, marketers are going to have to decide whether they want to get competitive by continually lowering prices or by investing in the one advantage their competitors can’t replicate: their engaged, valuable, community.

It’s time for your 20th Century CRM focussed purely on transactions, data and efficiency to evolve; it’s time for some Enlightened CRM.

The challenge for Marketers and brands in the 21st Century is that it’s not just about the customers who connect to your brand; it’s the communities they create – and the other communities, networks and brands they connect to as well.

No human being is an island, so it’s no longer useful to consider them as one.

Working with a pioneering brand like Harley Davidson as they activated and influenced their advocates and brand fans, I was able to understand the principles behind building a flourishing and sustainable community.

Harley is one of those widely admired brands known for its super loyalty and ultra engagement, it’s a brand that people who know nothing about bikes or have no desire to own the product still appreciate; their community is well known for helping the brand to succeed. It’s the lessons from brands like Harley Davidson alongside insights from the marketplace that prompted the launch of my new consultancy Milana Marketing.

Societal, environmental and technological changes in the marketplace are forcing organisations to adapt to a new social dynamic. The tried and tested business thinking has become tired and testing and the associated models that have been used must also evolve and respond.

CRM, Social CRM, direct marketing, loyalty marketing- call it what you will, at the end of the day, it’s really all about relationship-building, loyalty and engagement, and how marketers approach all this can mean the difference between future prosperity and struggle or decline.   

In short, Enlightened CRM presents many opportunities to build a distinctive presence that can serve as a building block of high performance: a method to potentially accelerate the sales process, influence and connect more tightly with customers at lower cost and in a way that provides a real differentiation from competitors.  

There are many CRM tools and services that claim to support all relationship needs out of the box, these claims should be met with a healthy scepticism. Your CRM system is only as good as the community you inspire.  Unless your system brings in the human elements and helps you to understand, connect and commune appropriately with all of your constituents, it is an expensive and inefficient part of the problem.

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