Magazine article CRM Magazine

Customer Intimacy Redux in the Digital Ecosystem: Fusing CRM and Social Media Is Key

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Customer Intimacy Redux in the Digital Ecosystem: Fusing CRM and Social Media Is Key

Article excerpt

AS THE SYSTEMS that run the way we work and live become smarter with the onset of the new digital ecosystem, the workplace as we know it is undergoing a dramatic change. The social Web has forever changed the balance of power between the individual and the institution. It has given control of the relationship to customers, who have the power to influence others in their social networks. They can make or break brands overnight. This shift of power has left CMOs struggling to address these challenges.

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To gain insights into how these changes are affecting CMOs and marketing, IBM undertook its first-ever Global Chief Marketing Officer Study. The study surveyed more than 1,700 CMOs from 64 countries, the largest survey of its type ever conducted.

Eighty-one percent said they planned to increase their use of CRM technologies within three to five years. This is comparable to the percentage who are planning to increase their use of social media (82 percent), customer analytics (81 percent), and mobile apps (80 percent).

Traditional CRM strategies typically are designed with an internal, operational focus to manage the customer relationship through controlled interactions. While companies recognize the need to be active in social media, far fewer have rethought their CRM strategies. IBM's analysis reveals that CMOs must help their companies move toward an integrated social CRM strategy that provides value to both customers and the business.

When companies think of their customers only in the context of their "consumption roles"--as shoppers, travelers, patients, etc.--they can forget they are multidimensional people with complex needs. Marketing must move from point-in-time customer touches to continuous engagement. The always-on customer also expects contextual interactions that blend both digital and physical worlds, such as location-based, real-time coupon delivery.

As a result, CMOs are recalibrating investments. One-third expect to allocate 21 to 40 percent of their marketing budget to strategies leveraging social marketing and other interactive digital tools in three to five years; one in five expects to allocate more than 40 percent. The most proactive CMOs try to understand individuals as well as markets. …

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