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24 APRIL 2014

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Loyalty Magazine reports on customer retention,loyalty schemes, rewards, affinity, CRM, call centre issues, direct and viral marketing, mobile and internet channels for both B2B and B2C enterprises. It covers all global markets and business sectors, including retail, financial services, travel and hotels, telecoms and electronic commerce.

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Friday, 24 February 2012 12:28
How should marketers approach CRM in 2012?
2012 will be the year that the trends of 2011 become widespread business practices. Comment by Jill Brittlebank, director of strategy and analytics at e-Dialog.
2011 was the year of buzz words in CRM. “Big data”, “consumer engagement” and “loyalty” phrases, that while never far from the marketer’s lips in the past year, are being given greater prominence for 2012 as brands realise the need for the focus to be on the consumer rather than the business now more than ever before.

If 2012 is going to be “the year of…” anything it will be the year that 2011’s trends become widespread business practices.

Big data
Customer insight is essential to a successful loyalty marketing campaign; without it, establishing which customers provide the greatest value for the business is an impossible task. However, faced with millions of subscribers, and multiple data sources, the challenge of gaining insight from big data can seem insurmountable.

However, with big data come even bigger opportunities – as long as you have the technology to handle it. Using data just to respond to the most simple of questions, for example, what we shall sell, who shall we sell it to and how shall we communicate this, relies too much on the face value of the data and does not take in to account the many layers of insight and information available from in-depth intelligent data segmentation. This segmentation is not possible though without a single customer view, or rather without the convergence of multiple streams so that the transactional, behavioural, preferential, loyalty and other data held on a customer can be accessed and analysed centrally. Of course, making this level of investment into data tools has associated costs and requires change to ensure the organisation can manage the privacy and security upgrades essential to ensure excellent data management.

In spite of the challenges, the analysis and insight available from big data can transform a marketing campaign, making personalisation, relevance and customer engagement a much easier goal.

Customer engagement
It has long been said that, in marketing, content is king. For 2012, while content will continue to be essential for successful marketing campaigns; it is customer engagement and interaction that will set brands apart this year.

With social media allowing customers to share their views about a brand publicly and immediately, the capacity to capture these conversations and turn them into opportunities for brand advocacy and interaction is significant. Again, here data has a part to play. Understanding what drives a community forward and what content prompts interaction and enjoyment from your customer base is certain to increase your capacity to generate engagement.

Data has to generate a two-way relationship; where it is used to get a better understanding of the customer but also where the customer is compensated for providing such a level of insight into their life. This could be in the form of highly personalised marketing communications, individually targeted special offers or, more broadly, rewards for connecting with the brand on different platforms. eCRM should make the means of understanding and acting on this insight a much simpler process.

Loyalty
The third trend we will see for CRM in 2012 is an increased preoccupation with loyalty. Providing customers with content that is relevant and targeted to them should be best practice for all brands, regardless of their database size. However, for brands to use data to move beyond customer engagement to customer loyalty, requires brands to look at data with a much more critical eye.

As all marketers know, when budgets are stretched, retaining clients is all the more important so data should be used to look at targeting in such a way that best reflects the needs of a customer. For example, looking at seasonal trends and correlating this with knowledge of the customer so that communication is timed to respond to particular day-to-day needs that might only be relevant at certain times of the year.

The digital marketing world is constantly evolving and responding to new channels and touch points, and, as part of this, a commitment to synchronise marketing concepts across multiple channels with consistent messaging will be top of the agenda for most marketers in 2012. Loyalty marketers have one of the greatest challenges in ensuring that customers stay faithful to their brand when faced with an increasingly competitive environment, and it is only through detailed customer analysis that a complete profile will be built that supports effective marketing communications for the year ahead.

 
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