At the heart of the concept of customer relationship management is the need to listen to your customers and shape your business to their needs-even though that's not always the easy thing to do.
A year ago, a group of us sat down to devise a growth strategy for what was then called Curtco Freedom Group's Business Intelligence Group, which at that time consisted of two magazines, Sales & Field Force Automation and Knowledge Management. The plan we agreed upon was to launch a network of magazines, each targeted to serve a specific group of executives under the broad heading of customer relationship management. We'd spin out Field Force Automation as a separate title, refocus SFFA to include more marketing coverage with a title change to Sales & Marketing Automation and launch a new publication to serve the customer service segment.
The launch of FFA as a separate magazine a few months ago has been well-received, and SMA's new focus has been getting solid support as well.
In the meantime, however, some dramatic shifts have occurred in the markets we serve. More and more companies are now attempting, and in many cases struggling, to move beyond silos of automation in sales, marketing and customer service, to a more integrated view of customer relationship management.
In particular, our research preparing for the launch of Customer Interaction Center (CIC), our planned customer service magazine, convinced us that the lines between sales, marketing and service are blurring rapidly. In discussions with both readers and advertisers, we found that while our CRM network strategy struck a nerve, what most companies truly wanted was a single magazine to cover all aspects of customer relationship management: A magazine that would advise them in reengineering their companies around a "customer-centric" strategy and keep them up to date with the role of technology and the Internet in this process.
As a result, we have decided to transform SMA into CRM magazine, which will launch with the April 2000 issue.
With a new look and a new mission, CRM will be the first magazine to provide a comprehensive view of the entire cycle of customer identification, acquisition and retention. Written for the business leader charged with providing the vision and the sweat to transform day-to-day business, CRM will be about rolling up your sleeves to drive your enterprise to new levels of profit using all the tools, techniques and strategies that work to create the customer-centric corporation of today and the profitable enterprise of the future.
Watch for it in April.
Larry Tuck, Editor