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Dynamic Content Touch Points
You can't build CRM without content.
Posted Feb 3, 2003
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It's becoming clear that content, and consequently content technologies, are critical to the success of many CRM programs. CAP Ventures has seen this connection as inevitable and critical to the realization of CRM strategies. We believe that widespread integration in the form of dynamic content touch points will begin in 2003. To validate this belief we recently conducted a large-scale research project in conjunction with media partner CRM magazine. The research survey was intended to prove our hypotheses regarding the importance of content systems in the context of CRM strategies. The responses from more than 1,200 organizations, technology vendors, and systems integrators overwhelmingly confirmed the seven key tenets that CAP Ventures identifies as critical to the integration of content systems and CRM applications: 1. Organizations must approach CRM strategically. 2. CRM goals are customer-focused, but measurement is lacking. 3. Segmentation and personalization are important elements of a CRM strategy. 4. Organizations must achieve consistent communication with demand chain participants across channel touch points. 5. A comprehensive strategy includes the integration of CRM applications and content systems. 6. Web self-service is an efficient way of providing multifunctional CRM. 7. XML is a key process and application integration enabler. The act of personalization provides one of the most tangible examples of the increasing role dynamic content will play in comprehensive CRM strategies and successful application deployments. A requirement for effective segment-based marketing, personalization is a primary link that binds dynamic content and customer relationship management. It is our experience that organizations often think in terms of operational and analytical CRM initiatives that could drive customer segmentation and personalization to enhance customer relationships. The focus of many discussions however, is on the centralization of customer data to synchronize marketing, sales, and service and the analysis of that data in the context of improving key customer metrics. The ability to segment customers is clearly paramount to success, as demonstrated by the fact that 97 percent of organizations with a formal CRM strategy in place have a segmentation capability or are in the process of implementing one.
It is important to understand that segmentation on its own does not generate value. More often than not, organizations lack an execution plan that details what will be done with segmentation data and how personalization will be implemented. One of the key tenets of CRM is the provision of a rich, enterprise view of the customer, often called a 360-degree view. This approach mandates a comprehensive set of attributes that describe the customer in relation to the selling organization. Those familiar with content management fully understand the equivalent to this from an information perspective. Potentially, each piece of content such as product information, pricing, graphics, offers, pitches, and ads could have a profile, or set of attributes, that describes its relationship relative to both the selling and buying organizations. This set of attributes often describes what the content is, who created it, how it has been used, what customers it is designed for, what other pieces of content it is related to, and what devices on which it can be rendered. The foundation of personalization is mapping relevant information, product offerings, specific campaigns, and services to customers with an expressed, implied, or potential interest in such offers. In conjunction with the business logic of the marketing strategy or campaign, this is truly "the guts" behind delivering on the promise of "the right information to the right person at the right time through the right channel." It stands to reason then, that the more that is known about the customer and the more that is known about what is being communicated will yield better results from that matching function. Clearly, respondents to our Web survey agree. Sixty-four percent of respondents rated personalization as "very important" or "critical" as far as producing CRM benefits. Interestingly, small companies place even more importance on personalization, with 69 percent rating it as "very important" or "critical." This may be due to smaller organizations relying on personal service as a key differentiator vis-a-vis their midsize and large counterparts. Given a climate of "anytime, anywhere communication," however, achieving a coordinated, comprehensive personalization strategy for CRM applications can be challenging. In fact, the degree of implementation difficulty increases by the expanding number of communication channel touch points that a prospect or customer might use to interact with a company. It is undeniable that the number of channel touch points that most organizations must support is increasing. Consumer Web sites, partner, or supplier portals, printed materials, email campaigns, and fax communications are often only a portion of an organization's complete communications channels. In these environments it is critical to provide consistent communication across multiple touch points to sustain competitive advantage and execute effective campaigns. CAP Ventures believes that it is neither easy nor sustainable to accomplish personalization for multiple channels without a solid content infrastructure in place. The results from our primary research with CRM magazine appear to validate our perspective. In fact, about a third of organizations have already implemented at least one individual content management, collaboration, or portal application. Given the high correlation between systems -- on average a 50 percent system-to-system correlation -- it is also very likely that many organizations have implemented multiple systems. More interesting is the fact that the probability of having a content system installed is much higher for those organizations that have a defined CRM strategy in place. We believe the market is on the forefront of understanding the complete scope of CRM and its inherent relationship to dynamic content, particularly from an enterprise perspective. According to our research, 2003 beckons to be a year of large-scale integration of content systems and CRM, with about 40 percent of end users planning for integration. Based on this integration of infrastructural, operational, analytical, and realizational systems, organizations will achieve consistency and economy in their communications and collaborate effectively with prospects, customers and channel partners through increasingly global demand chains. For more information on the study, visit http://www.capv.com/home/Consulting/DSS-Overview/DSS.html About the Author Joel Messenger is a senior consultant for CAP Ventures Inc. with more than 12 years of experience in the software and systems integration field including enterprise content management, publishing technologies, portals, and customer relationship management. He currently works with CAP Ventures advising and consulting to software and technology solution providers, investors, and corporate users. In addition to performing objective market research and analysis, he works with vendors to provide accurate and actionable research and selling tools, including economic justification. Messenger has worked with such notable companies as Adobe, Allegis, Avasta, BEA Systems, BroadVision, Business Objects, DETERMINE Software, and Dorado
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