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Posts Tagged ‘CRM’

CRMI recently read an interesting article on how Apple’s iPad was changing the way we build business relationships and have conversations.

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be another article talking about the iPad …there have been a few of those already and I already own that T-shirt.

I was intrigued by the logical progression in which it was said that this new piece of technology could open up the conversation with customers. It flowed something like this (with my own little tweaks)

New Technology = Superior user experience

Superior user experience = Easier consumption

Easier consumption = more consumption

More consumption = more chances to connect

More chances to connect = and do what?

Now there’s the $million question – we often forget that ultimately it’s not about the technology but about the customer, and what we do with that connection when we have it.

Even wikipedia’s definition for CRM now includes the phrase ‘Once simply a label for a category of software tools, today, it generally denotes a company-wide business strategy embracing all client-facing departments and even beyond’

Technology allows us to do many things bigger and faster but not always better – the better only comes together when we put the customer at the heart of what we do. What we do might include email marketing, it might be social, it might be old fashioned in-store activity but whatever we do, we have to ask ourselves ‘‘what’s in it for the customer?’’

I recently sat with a client where we reviewed the ‘point’ of one of their communications. The round table brought forward 5 different USPs that were related to business needs – not one of them put the customer’s needs at the forefront.

At this point I’m going to borrow from Joseph Jaffe’s book, ‘Flip the Funnel’ where he describes ways to turn technology to your advantage. I’ll borrow just 5:

1.    Technology should bring out the humanity in your company, not mask it – don’t pretend you’re something that you’re not. Ryanair are a no frills airline – the way they use their website and email programme reflect that.

2.    Adopt a multi channel approach to building relationships. The easier you make it for customers, the more they will engage – using email as a case in point, don’t let it work in isolation of all the other channels you use but rather use it to support or initiate those conversations you are having.

3.    Consider tiered systems for different segments – don’t talk to all your customers in the same way: is it really a surprise when your engagement levels drop because your newsletter is a ‘one for all’?. Segmentation doesn’t have to clever, in fact it’s often how unclever you are that really counts

4.    Automation is not always the answer. In email marketing the more you can automate towards ‘lights out marketing’ then the more efficient you can become. But your CRM strategy needs to have that human touch sometimes
And last but not least….

5.    Personalisation is the gift of technology, intimacy is the gift of humanity. Email is great..but don’t forget the bunch of flowers.

So whatever we do to instigate, facilitate or react to conversations (the whole point of technology) let’s not forget that the ‘C’ in CRM is for ‘Customer’…and not for ‘Computer’.

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Well.  What a start to 2010 – and it’s only week 2!  Where do I begin?  Despite the economic downturn through the latter part of 2008 and 2009, eCircle has been lucky enough to be in an industry which has benefited rather than suffered.  We won 2 major industry awards and were shortlisted for another.  We opened new offices in Spain and the Netherlands, and we made a raft of new recruitments in the UK, growing our staff numbers here by 12% to reflect on the strong growth in 2009.  But 2010 promises to be even more exciting…

We’re delighted to announce that TA Associates, one of the world’s leading growth private equity firms has signed a definitive agreement for a majority investment of over €60million in eCircle.  This substantial investment will help us extend our award-winning technology platform, eC-messenger and expand into new products, services and markets. 

Email remains a strong marketing channel and represents an ever-increasing proportion of the €12.9 billion online advertising market.  Forrester Research estimates that the volume of email messages will double with the value of the market increasing from €1.5 billion in 2007 to €2.3 billion in 2010 as marketers utilise more sophisticated on-demand targeting, messaging and analytics to engage the consumer.  According to Gartner, software-as-a-service (SaaS) in marketing automation is expected to exhibit the highest growth rates in customer relationship management (CRM), a $1.9 billion market in 2008 that is projected to grown 17% per annum through to 2013.

 So what does this acquisition actually mean for eCircle and our clients?  The news is only good!  The acquisition won’t affect our structure in the slightest and the investment will be seamless.  Some of the key benefits include:

  • We’ll invest in new products and services to complete our portfolio of media and technology ecommerce solutions.
  • We’ll invest in the extension of our email marketing platform further, specifically in campaign planning, management and automation, advanced reporting including new metrics and APIs.
  • We’ll additionally strengthen our professional services portfolio, increasing email ROI even further. 
  • We’ll extend our leadership position in the European market and strengthen our international presence to serve you locally.

So having just experienced our biggest year to date, it looks like 2010 is going to be a defining year in eCircle’s history, and I for one am really looking forward to it!

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