Commentary: It's time to say goodbye to CRM

Donna Fluss,, 11/20/11

Customer Relationship Management -- CRM, like many popular buzz words (or acronyms), has its merits.  The problem [is] that [it is] based on a faulty premise - the idea that a single business solution could address all enterprise sales, marketing and customer service application needs. CRM has served its purpose. It fought a great war, and won more battles than it lost. It woke the market to the necessity of investing in customer-facing activities and applications to improve customer profitability. It fueled a new generation of systems and applications to meet these needs, although it never succeeded in convincing sales, marketing and customer service groups to work together to achieve corporate goals. CRM did begin the process of focusing organizations on the importance of putting their customers first, even if each department within a company had a different understanding of what this meant. The downfall of the original CRM strategy was that it was too internally focused and led managers to believe that customers were happy to be managed. And from a systems perspective, it convinced business managers that one solution, like a CRM suite, could meet the needs of all customer-facing groups - departments that do not share the same goals. It's time to say goodbye to CRM. It can be honorably retired to the buzz word hall of fame, but it is no longer viable as a leading business or even systems strategy. At this point, we know that its faults are greater than its benefits. However, CRM is going to continue to hang around as a concept until a new strategy emerges to better address enterprise goals.


Commentary: Will this be the start of "CMR" as opposed to CRM?

Tim Roberts, Full Houses blog, 12/16/11

It seems we may be seeing the start of a legislative push added to the slow industry evolution from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) toward Customer-Managed Relationships (CMR). In April this year, the UK Government launched a new consumer empowerment strategy "designed to encourage businesses to release their customer data back to them so that consumers can use this data for their own purposes." The Government has boasted that the 'Midata' project will "turn the existing approach towards consumers on its head (with) a shift away from a world in which certain businesses tightly control the information they hold about consumers, towards one in which individuals along or in groups, can use their data or feedback for their own or mutual benefit". Information sharing as opposed to data access or the archaic concept of customer data ownership is put in context by Alan Mitchell, strategy director of market analyst Ctrl-Shift and a member of the Midata Project Board:

"Firstly it is mindset - there is another way of thinking about the whole area of customer data - and also process. The trust element is really important and that works across terms and conditions, privacy policies, actual data policies, data management policies, customer training, staff training, staff incentives, and so on. So it is actually quite a good programme of change across a number of areas - the trust, the mechanisms, and the value. And that is why we are saying it really is an evolution, but it is happening already."

The Ctrl-Shift publication The New Personal Data Landscape"demonstrates that the trend towards individuals managing their own data is mostly happening beyond the radar of organisations' existing concerns but is nevertheless changing the environment in which they operate, including customer behaviours and expectations."


RELATED: The democratisation of data management

Neil Davey,, 11/30/11

The shift from 'data gathering' to 'data sharing' is going to herald both opportunities and threats for organisations. "The opportunities fall into a number of categories," explains Alan Mitchell. "The most basic category is that, if you are sharing data, then you can keep it accurate...a huge amount of money is being spent by companies simply trying to keep their data up to date so [that] is a huge benefit. Then there is the issue of the timeliness of communications, of talking to the right person at the right time, and so there are huge efficiencies in terms of not only marketing communications but lots of other communication as well. And then on top of that there are the insights that come because if you have a richer data sharing relationship with a customer, then they can tell you things that they you would never have otherwise got to know -- what my future plans are, what I plan to buy, when I plan to move, reasons why... So you get a rounder picture of the customer. But the downsides are that if you're not playing the game, if people don't trust you, if you haven't set up the mechanisms for data sharing and you're not moving with the times, then you are basically out in the cold. People will continue doing mining and analysis and those kinds of things, but they will be doing it in a completely different way. It is a leap forward in terms of the process and the technology and the people that don't move are really going to be losing competitive advantage."


Commentary: "No one owns the customer, but someone always owns the moment."

Bruce Temkin, Experience Matters blog, 11/16/11

Another speaker I enjoyed at the Premier Business Leadership Series was Scott Hudgins, Vice President, Customer Managed Relationships at The Walt Disney Company. When someone at Disney talks about customers, I'm all (Mickey's) ears. Especially when he said this:

            "No one owns the customer, but someone always owns the moment"

Disney's goal is to "know the guest well enough so that, at any time or place, we know what to do next." It turns out that Disney recently crossed the line where they have data on more than half of their customers. In 2011, Disney had a goal: "know me and be relevant." They focused on 5 to 10 segments. Now they create individual experiences for hundreds of thousands of individuals. He discussed some of the techniques they use to do this throughout the lifecycle of a [Disney theme park] visitor:

  • When someone is thinking about a trip, Disney will send a DVD. This allows people to make their own customized maps of the parks - which provides Disney with data on their preferences.
  • Disney sends these "shoppers" a personalized email (with more than 1 billion permutations) right away. They've found that success of those emails drops 20% per day.
  • After the shopper books a trip, they send a welcome mailer to reinforce the decision and reduce buyer's remorse. This has reduced about one-quarter of the cancellations.

Hudgins describes Disney moving from "disparate campaigns talking to guests" to "harmonious communications with guests." He showed an evolutionary path from "rewards program" to "lifetime value recognition" to "consumer-centric way of doing business."

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