Today more than ever, building sales figures and maximizing ROI is critical, not just for success but for survival.
We all know it’s a tough world out there. The businesses that have invested in intelligent, customer focused marketing are staying ahead of the pack.
The most successful are aligning on and offline, integrating their direct and brand communications and optimizing their customer experience.
Creating a bespoke CRM strategy can reveal how to talk to customers; what to say, what channel to use, how often and when.
Customers who feel understood and valued ultimately buy more, so by making your campaign relevant and timely you will increase your likelihood of getting sales.
Any plan should provide a basis to springboard into the future with an improved structure and the ability to measure success and report on it.
As CRM and data marketing consultants we see some excellent - and some less than successful - attempts to engage customers in CRM initiatives.
There are many pitfalls, but there are also some simple health checks which can ensure an effective and efficient CRM programme.
So what are the essential ingredients of a successful CRM or data driven communications strategy?
Data gathering and permissibility
Are you harnessing all your customers and prospect touchpoints correctly via the web, email, DM response, in-store, social media, delivery and operations? Think about every touchpoint as an opportunity.
It’s imperative you gather the right information in the right format. Make sure you seek permission from customers to contact them, and get their postal address - it makes all the other jobs possible.
Email only or badly permissioned data can render your customer unreachable.
Getting the full picture
You can only get the full picture of your customers if you have a working single customer view database.
Get your individual customers into one place, have one household address, prioritise, segment and enhance the data, aligning all transactions and interactions across all your products, brands and channels.
Understanding client’s needs
How sensitive are you to your customers and prospects? Do you have a thorough understanding of their needs?
If you’ve collected address details it’s now time for some analysis - what they do (their purchase patterns, buying behavior, channel they use, what they buy) and who they are (lifestyle and demographics).
Build a portrait of your customers that takes everything possible into account, focusing on the areas in your business with the most potential.
Create a clear focus
Take the time to assess which parts of your strategy to nurture and grow. Put them in the right order, ranking them from best to worst.
Build a propensity model on the area of your business that has the biggest potential to grow or requires immediate focus, as you’ll need to be able to target existing customers who have the highest likelihood to re-purchase.
Reproduce the winning formula
Use some analysis to help you grow your customer base. Once you understand the key characteristics of your most valuable customers, you can use that profile to go out and find others, either by buying more lookalike data or by targeting your other media more effectively to the people who are going to be most receptive - and responsive.
One design, multiple messages
Implementing your campaigns effectively is very important. One size doesn’t fit all and in 2012 we shouldn’t be just blasting everyone with the same message - that’s so 2002.
You’ll be using all this rich information to create the right message in either HTML email format or with a DM pack for your existing and prospective customers.
To save time and cost, you can get by with one design but split messaging for different customer segments and prospects.
Now you need to feed all this wonderful information into your database. Take all the responders, non-responders, opens, clicks, buyers, transactions, order values and abandoned baskets, and make sure you capture the detail on each customer and prospect record.
Only when you truly track and record the outcome can you provide the board with a campaign ROI.
Putting the outcomes at an individual level back onto your single customer view database completes the campaign history and enables the analysis of how it went. It provides you with the measurement tools to either fine-tune your campaign or do it all again (only bigger) and plan for the next one.
Pamela Bath, founder and CEO, Blueberry Wave
This article was first published on brandrepublic.com