Marketing Faces Loaded Guns

Wouldn't it be nice to have a 360-degree view of customers? It's the holy grail of e-marketing -- and it doesn't come easily, reports Xchange, a CRM vendor, in a white paper released last week, entitled, One-to-One Mass Marketing: Managing a Million Customer Relationships. That's because the technology that drives companies toward this goal must exploit very different skill sets. "Great software is never created in a vacuum," said J. Chris Wagner, president and CEO of Xchange, in a statement. "It is born of intimate relationships between developers and users." Large global enterprises face mounting business and technical challenges, as they seek to rationalize large investments in CRM systems, claims Xchange. The study identified an arsenal of loaded guns facing CRM marketing solutions. The biggest and often most talked about is the inability for a CRM system to communicate with back-end systems. That's because CRM systems are often organized around particular products, says Xchange, with each product different sets of un-reconciled data. Another area of concern centers around business rules that are too tightly coupled to certain customer-facing applications, and thus the IT department must implement logic within the application to succeed, says Xchange. The most daunting challenge, though, is measuring CRM marketing's impact. According to Xchange, CRM investments tend to be measured on operational metrics such as the amount of time a customer-service representative talks on the phone or campaign metrics such as response rates to marketing campaigns. But this doesn't cut it, claims Xchange. Instead, CRM marketing should be measured on the impact a company's marketing dollars make in driving customer value across all channels -- a much more elusive target. "If you believe that your investment in CRM and business intelligence applications should drive more than just customer satisfaction and/or operation expense, then the measurement of product and service offerings verses customer responses is imperative," Wagner said. "Measuring this holistically across all touchpoint applications is equally imperative." Tom Kaneshige also writes for Line56.com
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