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When viewed in comparison to the paid media evolution over many generations, from newspaper to radio to TV to the many digital formats of today, customer relationship management (CRM) is considered less than sexy — even antiquated, in some circles. I beg to disagree.

Mass media and top-of-the-funnel tactics are critically important to grow a brand and a business. From the agency side, the big dollars associated with them are also attractive. But CRM is exciting, too, for many reasons. Here, I’ve outlined a few.

CRM is multichannel

No longer confined to direct mail and email, CRM encompasses push and in-app messaging, SMS, addressable display and social, as well as messaging apps embedded on your site or in platforms like Facebook Messenger. The channels you use will depend in part on the data you have today, but over time, they will expand.

As you move into new channels, think about them as part of your overall customer relationship management, not just a single channel that sits in its own silo.

Modern CRM is powered by a nimble data layer

At the core of any CRM program is a robust set of customer data. By itself, that concept isn’t modern. What is modern is the proliferation of the types of data that are brought into the database and the speed with which the data are processed, models revised, and decisions made.

Modern CRM combines the historical demographic and purchase history with cross-channel permissions and engagement across all channels, from the perspectives of both marketing and customer support. It allows for personally identifiable information (PII) and anonymous data to be stored until a link between the two can be found and then connected to enhance knowledge.

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What’s more is that modern CRM is powered by data across all of an enterprise’s business lines –- whether they are products, brands or drugs –- from both a B-to-B and B-to-C perspective. This consolidation gives companies the ability to look at the entire customer base and leverage information learned in one place for another purpose within legal boundaries.

In addition to storing all of the data, the ability to quickly and easily access the data, nearly anywhere, anytime, is a key tenet of modern CRM. Speed and value have a direct correlation and are always dependent on the frequency with which source systems get updated.

But the point is that modern CRM is expected to leverage the latest enterprise data at every touchpoint.

Modern CRM uses consolidated decisioning logic

Having access to the latest enterprise data at each touch point is important, but we need to know what to do with those data. Should we make an offer, show a brand message, do nothing? Moving further, if the decision is to make an offer, the offer should be consistent regardless of channel, and it should be subject to constant testing to get the best outcomes.

This is often powered by enterprise decisioning tools, such as Pega, Oracle RTD, and others. These tools have historically been used for “inbound” marketing (e.g., call center), but they are now able to power outbound messaging as well.

They can determine whom to target AND what to show the target. They can be used for stand-alone campaigns or simply to power a portion of, say, an email message. For example, you might send a normal email campaign in a template. The main content block may be the same for everyone, but the smaller components are powered leveraging enterprise data at the time of open.

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Modern CRM focuses on key KPIs across channels — not specific channel metrics

For all this technology and testing to be useful, we need to measure what matters. If you think about all the micro-measurements that can be made across direct mail, email, push, addressable display, site, call center, and other media and channels, there are tons of channel-specific pieces to watch for and tune.

But from an overall business perspective, we care about some higher-level metrics. So, as you move your CRM program to be more modern, I challenge you to elevate your KPIs to the key customer metrics for your business. Channel-specific metrics are important too, but overall outcome is more important.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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