Courting the customer of today
With big data and social media becoming a big deal, developing and maintaining customer relationships is growing to be more complex.
Back in the day, all you had to do was ask. It was simple and if they said a yes or ok, you took it to the next step. Today, you do not have the opportunity to gauge the customer’s interest or determine what their expectations are.
Instead, you try to monitor their online behavior, collect data, analyze it, gain insights, and then apply all those strategies you developed using those insights, hoping that your efforts pay off. Like we said, it’s complex.
A Little History
In the early 80s and 90s, CRM or Customer Relationship Management primarily rested on sales and marketing teams seeing them as individual investments with good returns, mutually beneficial partnerships, or the results of linear mathematical formulas that established the balance between customer acquisition and customer retention.
However, we’ve come a long way from that. Today, businesses leverage big data, algorithms, and various CRM software packages. But, that hasn’t stopped age-old practices and ideas from creeping in every now and then.
This is the reason why businesses have a hard time figuring out their customers completely.
The problem with the strategies of the past is that they aren’t set in stone. For instance, mutually beneficial partnerships can always turn sour and investments can always fail. The mathematical approach might feel like a solid approach, but does it really work in a landscape where the social impact of a business is just as important as its turnover.
Also, we are approaching an era where short-term relationships seem to make more sense. The reduced lifecycle of a product or service allows businesses to enjoy continued customer turnover and profit. The app and software markets are excellent examples of this.
Taking all of this into consideration, there are a few key areas that businesses must factor in when assessing their CRM approach.
Developing a Broader Perspective of the Social Network
Most businesses assume that social media is more than enough to manage customer relationships. This falsehood has been fueled by the proliferation of mobile apps and the growing significance of digital marketing.
However, rarely do businesses fully utilize what social media can offer. Plus, social media isn’t always reliable when it comes to social relationships. For instance, influencer marketing works great for certain products. But, customers aren’t fools to make decisions based on information provided by someone who possibly knows nothing about the product they’re promoting.
Businesses need to move away from this approach and move towards realizing that the most important customers associate with each other in a range of ways. Targeting these clusters would be far more beneficial than using the typical social media approach.
Influencer Marketing Needs to be a Well-Thought Out Decision.
The influencer approach, for instance, is a risky approach. All it takes is one tiny bit of criticism against your product or brand for your investments to go down the drain.
Data Can Be Deadly
Then, there’s the whole issue of data. Data is as beneficial as it is dangerous. There are ethical and moral aspects to consider when it comes to the collection and ownership of data. For example, you always run the risk of having data stolen by hackers.
The point here is that CRM must be leveraged in such a way as to boost profits. However, most companies do not realize and insist on sticking to outdated methods. The current business climate is all about adaptation and businesses need to adopt newer and more effective strategies as and when they arrive.
This requires marketing teams to be opportunistic, watchful, and flexible. The old way of adhering to established methods based on budgets and projections needs to be shown the door. Customer relationships of the future will be built on real-time data. Marketers will have to learn to leverage this data in several different ways to push up the bottom line.