Frequently I'm asked, "What are the biggest trends in CRM right now?" While each issue of CRM magazine covers trends, this month in particular we cover three areas that are experiencing -- or are on the verge of experiencing -- extraordinary shifts in their respective markets. Each of them could very well enter the mainstream in just a few short years.
Our cover story, "The Moving Target," by Editorial Assistant Jessica Tsai, takes a look at the latest developments in mobile marketing. This new marketing medium can enable companies to effectively communicate the right message to the right person at the right time. However, marketers must treat this communications channel with much care and tact. If mishandled, it could turn the marketing world on its head, especially if opportunistic mercenaries relentlessly bombard consumers' mobile devices the way they do email inboxes. Read this cover story to see some ethical ways marketers can effectively reach out to consumers through mobile devices. Incidentally, some of the most impressive uses are found outside the United States.
The CRM technology market is also experiencing a shift toward services-oriented architecture (SOA). In the feature story "Seven Steps to SOA Success," by freelancer Jessica Sebor, one research firm states that 53 percent of companies use SOA today, which is more than double the penetration seen in a similar study conducted last year. SOA's appeal is substantial -- increased productivity, enhanced business efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, and lower overall IT costs. Read this feature to learn more about SOA and gain some implementation tips.
Outsourcing itself may not be a new trend, but there's something happening in this industry that is: Companies are taking another look at homeshoring. The emergence of work-at-home agents (WAHAs) gives companies access to a highly qualified workforce in the U.S., such as stay-at-home moms, semiretired professionals, and the disabled. In the destinationCRM.com article "Please Hold While I Answer the Doorbell," Senior Editor Marshall Lager covered the growing WAHA trend, noting that, between now and 2012, the number of home-based customer service agents will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 36.4 percent, one of the strongest expansion levels of any outsourcing market subsegment. I suspect the trend is gaining support thanks to the sinking value of the U.S. dollar against other currencies (such as the Indian rupee), making it pricier to set up camp overseas. To learn more about these trends and others in the outsourcing industry, read the feature "And They're Off!" by Editorial Assistant Christopher Musico.
Like any trend, though, these are only worth the investment if you can make a convincing business case for them. In business, the wind constantly changes direction, but you can't let it throw you off course.
Allow me to publicly welcome our newest editorial assistant, Lauren McKay. Lauren recently received her BA in journalism from the University of Missouri -- one of the country's top journalism programs -- and will focus on enterprise strategy for the magazine. Feel free to contact her at lmckay@destinationCRM.com to welcome her to CRM and/or make any relevant story pitches.