• September 30, 2020
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Data Links Disparate Technology Demands

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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, CRM was becoming ubiquitous. It has only gained steam in the months since government-mandated lockdowns, social distancing, and, now, limited reopenings.

In a world where “contactless” has become the guiding business principle, companies still need to emphasize to their customers that they will be there when needed. They need to better market their products and services to consumers who no longer feel comfortable going into a store. They need to reconfigure sales processes to accommodate fears about in-person meetings.

I was still surprised, though, when I began to see ads for one of the larger contact center and enterprise software providers appear inside the solitaire app on my cellphone. In between games, the app frequently places ads from local car dealerships, a large furniture retailer, the latest fad in fat-burning, and other games that might interest me.

Being stuck indoors with little to do, I play solitaire on my phone a lot. It’s my escape from the daily stresses that are part of our “new normal” and gives me a chance to step away from work for a few minutes.

At first, I thought this CRM vendor’s ad placement in the solitaire app was a little peculiar—not to mention a little annoying. After all, I play solitaire to get away from CRM. But then, I came to conclude that the placement is not so odd after all. I’m sure there are plenty of business leaders who play solitaire in between reading spreadsheets and conducting Zoom meetings with their remote employees, and hitting them up in the app might not be a bad idea.

I have no doubt that some complex technology aided in the decision for this ad placement. I can’t say for sure, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the decision was aided by statistical modeling, as explained in the feature “Math Meets Marketing with Statistical Models.” The story highlights how marketers are using statistical models to key in on which marketing resonates most with customers.

If the company is, in fact, using statistical modeling to dictate its ad placement, it deserves our kudos. As MessageGears’ Nick Ziech-Lopez says in the article, “Every step you take toward being a data-forward marketing organization is a positive one, and no step is too small to potentially make a difference in your results.”

Statistical modeling is not easy. Math never is, as far as I’m concerned (after all, I only passed algebra because my high school math teacher was also my track coach). For the math to work properly, companies need to get their data in order before plugging it into the models. The “garbage in, garbage out” axiom couldn’t be more applicable.

Not surprising, coronavirus has altered the business climate in many other ways, and our other two features, “Co-Browsing Gains as a Service Tool” and “Use Digital Platforms to Drive In-Store Traffic and Vice Versa,” also discuss technologies that were already on the rise and got a huge bump during the pandemic. As with statistical modeling, good data is key to success with both co-browsing and cross-platform marketing.

Co-browsing, for example, can provide a more holistic view of the customer journey, including the full context of prior interactions, when properly integrated with a solid CRM data foundation. With the right data, co-browsing can give the agent the information and automations to get better answers to customers more quickly, Verint Systems’ Matt Pyke explains in the feature.

Likewise, in both digital and in-store commerce, retailers benefit tremendously when they can use past purchase data, geolocation data, and other CRM data to offer personalized recommendations to would-be shoppers.

Clearly, the three trends—co-browsing, commerce, and statistical modeling—are very different. But they all share the same need for good, solid, up-to-date customer data. Luckily, with consumers still largely stuck at home, they might have more time and be more willing to share their personal information. Don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Leonard Klie is the editor of CRM magazine. He can be reached at lklie@infotoday.com.

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