Archive for CRM

Relationship Marketing – Company and Marketing Perspective

Posted in Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by Consultant
We are living in the high tech times. Technology and changing economy have changed the rules the way a business is done. Business organizations have to tune in to various markets and know the customers well. The successful companies are those who have been able to anticipate the customer need and innovate future products leveraging on technology. In a global as well as local scenario, customer holds the key to the growth of business and organizations. No wonder that when you open your mail box or your email, you are always flooded with marketing communication from all possible companies trying to build a relationship with you. Take a look at the cards in your wallet and you must be holding quite a few membership cards that make you feel privileged and keeping bringing rewards and prompting you to extend your relationship with them.

Relationship Marketing has never been more important for the Organizations as it has been now. In the field where competition is intense and life cycle of products and services is very small, customer relationship has emerged to be one of the key drivers to contribute a large chunk of sales revenue. When we talk of relationship marketing, we are not referring to customer service. Customer service refers to the quality of service on a transactional mode. By Relationship Marketing, we are referring to the level of Relationship that exists between the customer and the company.

In terms of Relationship, there can be several ways of defining or measuring the quality of relationship with the Customer. Understanding of the depth of relationship and qualifying can help the Company in improving its reach to the markets as well as work towards increasing the depth of the relationship with the customer. In the first instance, we have a happy customer who has bought the product or a service and found it satisfactory.

When the Company reaches out to communicate with him and anticipate his future needs, he can be converted to a faithful customer. A faithful customer may be a repeat customer who does continues to buy the product from the company on repeat basis without making an effort to look at alternatives. However, at this stage the customer can be influenced and be vulnerable to competition as well as price sensitivity. Relationship marketing by the Company can help convert this customer from a faithful customer to a loyal customer. A loyal customer is one who has made an informed decision to go with the particular Company, is happy with the product, is loyal to the brand and is likely to advocate the same brand to friends and family because he believes in the Product as well as the Company and values the relationship. Apart from customer service, there are several marketing programmes and loyalty programmes besides brand advertising that the Companies carry out to build the relationship with the customer.

Relationship marketing gets translated and implemented through the marketing strategies, promotional programs as well as through marketing communication programs. When implemented as a part of marketing strategy, the relationship is normally focussed on leveraging the brands and products of the Company with the customer. Besides the marketing activities, the Companies implement internal and external corporate communications too keeping in view the Customers.

Marketing strategies are required to define the relationship marketing strategies for each of the product or service category taking into account the geographies, the customer profile as well as the overall RM objective of the Company. The RM strategy in case of a product company would be different from that of a service company and the element of communication design strategy would need to be different for a product from that of a service. In case of a product, the Customer is likely to respond in terms of brand, tangible and quantifiable performance of the product and the satisfaction derived from post sales service. In case of service, however, there is no tangible product and the customer’s expectations are different when it comes to service that is mainly concentrated around his perceptions and experience.

Therefore understanding the concept of Relationship marketing, the difference between RM and Customer Service as well as the ways and means of implementing or achieving RM objectives through effective marketing strategies is important for all the marketing managers and students who are going to be the drivers to defining, planning, detailing and implementing marketing strategies. An effective Marketing Manager should be able to effectively design marketing policies and strategies that are aligned with the Company’s RM objective and help build the relationship between the Company and Customer, Partners as well as the intermediaries who are critical to one’s business.

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Posted in B2B, Brand Managment, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Management, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2011 by Consultant

Importance of Motivation

Motivation is a very important for an organization because of the following benefits it provides:-

  1. Puts human resources into action

    Every concern requires physical, financial and human resources to accomplish the goals. It is through motivation that the human resources can be utilized by making full use of it. This can be done by building willingness in employees to work. This will help the enterprise in securing best possible utilization of resources.

  2. Improves level of efficiency of employees

    The level of a subordinate or a employee does not only depend upon his qualifications and abilities. For getting best of his work performance, the gap between ability and willingness has to be filled which helps in improving the level of performance of subordinates. This will result into-

    1. Increase in productivity,
    2. Reducing cost of operations, and
    3. Improving overall efficiency.
  3. Leads to achievement of organizational goals

    The goals of an enterprise can be achieved only when the following factors take place :-

    1. There is best possible utilization of resources,
    2. There is a co-operative work environment,
    3. The employees are goal-directed and they act in a purposive manner,
    4. Goals can be achieved if co-ordination and co-operation takes place simultaneously which can be effectively done through motivation.
  4. Builds friendly relationship

    Motivation is an important factor which brings employees satisfaction. This can be done by keeping into mind and framing an incentive plan for the benefit of the employees. This could initiate the following things:

    1. Monetary and non-monetary incentives,
    2. Promotion opportunities for employees,
    3. Disincentives for inefficient employees.

    In order to build a cordial, friendly atmosphere in a concern, the above steps should be taken by a manager. This would help in:

    1. Effective co-operation which brings stability,
    2. Industrial dispute and unrest in employees will reduce,
    3. The employees will be adaptable to the changes and there will be no resistance to the change,
    4. This will help in providing a smooth and sound concern in which individual interests will coincide with the organizational interests,
    5. This will result in profit maximization through increased productivity.
  5. Leads to stability of work force

    Stability of workforce is very important from the point of view of reputation and goodwill of a concern. The employees can remain loyal to the enterprise only when they have a feeling of participation in the management. The skills and efficiency of employees will always be of advantage to employees as well as employees. This will lead to a good public image in the market which will attract competent and qualified people into a concern. As it is said, “Old is gold” which suffices with the role of motivation here, the older the people, more the experience and their adjustment into a concern which can be of benefit to the enterprise.

From the above discussion, we can say that motivation is an internal feeling which can be understood only by manager since he is in close contact with the employees. Needs, wants and desires are inter-related and they are the driving force to act. These needs can be understood by the manager and he can frame motivation plans accordingly. We can say that motivation therefore is a continuous process since motivation process is based on needs which are unlimited. The process has to be continued throughout.

We can summarize by saying that motivation is important both to an individual and a business. Motivation is important to an individual as:

  1. Motivation will help him achieve his personal goals.
  2. If an individual is motivated, he will have job satisfaction.
  3. Motivation will help in self-development of individual.
  4. An individual would always gain by working with a dynamic team.

Similarly, motivation is important to a business as:

  1. The more motivated the employees are, the more empowered the team is.
  2. The more is the team work and individual employee contribution, more profitable and successful is the business.
  3. During period of amendments, there will be more adaptability and creativity.
  4. Motivation will lead to an optimistic and challenging attitude at work place.

Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts), Search Engine Optimization with tags , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

Social CRM: Measuring Relationships (the Wrong Way, and the Right Way)

I can’t tell you how many things—magazine articles, email newsletters, Facebook updates, tweets, blog posts—come across my desk every week that purport to be about “social CRM” (customer relationship management) measurement tools.

Actually, I could.

I could make a pretty little chart and break it down by type of article, and even by source.

And it might look something like this:

I think we could all agree that the value of this chart is questionable, at best. It’s pretty, and if we tracked it over time, we might even be able to find some insights. We could use it as an indicator of how much interest there is in this topic. Some might even use it to predict growth in this area of marketing.

But no one would propose we use this method to determine the value of the relationships I have with the topics I’m measuring.

So why are so many brands using tools just like this to measure social media engagement?

The problem, in a nutshell, is this: garbage in, garbage out. But before we can discuss how to get the proper data inputs, we need to explore what social CRM could and should be to an organization.

I was quite surprised and saddened to see a quote from someone at Eloqua implying that social CRM is about support requests (at least that’s what the quote seems to imply). “Although social CRM and support are, justifiably, hot topics in the media, calls for support account for only 1% of all tweets,” Joe Chernov wrote in a post titled “Your Social Media Followers Are Your Best Customers.”

Social CRM is about building and managing relationships of value in a world where brands require a digital and social presence:

  • For someone with a promotions background, that means identifying likely candidates for offers and tracking them through to conversion.
  • For someone with a lead-generation or B2B background, that means getting candidates to self-identify and passing them into a lead-management system.
  • For someone with an advertising or media background, that means paying lots of money for TV ads with some mysterious end result of increasing sales. (OK, that is a bad example.)
  • For a digital marketer, it means everything. We can no longer afford to not attach profit and revenue valuations to our efforts.

I will talk more about building social CRM programs in a later article. Here, I want to focus on a key aspect of social CRM: our ability to measure our success at building relationships of value.

Let’s go back to that first chart. It’s an indicator that could show us increased interest, over time, in the topic we’re monitoring. I could run a search in January. Then in February, I could run the search again and compare how many people are promoting these tools vs. January. Rinse and repeat.

We end up with a chart that appears in just about every social media monitoring report:

Here, we see the number of people talking about terms that are of interest to us, month over month. It could be about product mentions. It could be about key issues. That doesn’t matter. What really matters is how this data helps us understand the value of the relationships we are building (or not building).

But wait. That’s not what this chart shows us. It just shows us how many people are talking about something we are searching for. They could be the same people every period, or there could be 100% churn with no consistency across periods. For all we know, our efforts could simply be driving volume at the cost of relationships.

Someone usually pipes up at this point and shows me how they are tracking sentiment. Great. So we’re carefully tracking whether overall group mentality and conversation is trending positive or negative, but we still have no way to measure the relationships. Awesome.

I should point out that the fault for all of this confusion lies partly with the tool providers. We are all starting with measurements that social media monitoring tools just happen to provide. But what if we weren’t? What questions would we ask if we were designing this measurement program from the ground up? What knowledge would we want? How would we design the reporting tools to help us build long-term relationships of value to our brand?

Here are just some of the types of key questions we should be asking:

  • How many of the people from January are also active in February? What about in March?
  • Is there a core group of people driving different conversations?
  • What percentage of these people want to engage with our brand?
  • Is the group that talks about us more often over time more or less likely to purchase or participate in an activity?

In the charts presented earlier, we’re actually throwing away the data we gathered the previous month. So the first question we need to answer is this: What percentage of people from one period is still taking about us in a later period?

We need to start creating and seeing charts like this one:

If you’ve invested a lot in social or digital media, I hope you have a growing percentage of people talking about you or engaging with you month over month and quarter over quarter. And, if you do, who are these people? Which ones are driving the conversation? How do their sentiments compare with those of the rest? Or, my favorite question: what else are they talking about?

In short, it’s also important to look at how influence is being defined. Tools like Klout provide great shortcuts for understanding the activity and reach of individuals online. But what if your influencers don’t rate highly in Klout? What if they are everyday people who are so passionate about your brand that they are talking about you every month… and you just don’t know who they are?

Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

How Vulnerable Are You to Customer Defection?

In the early ’90s, the term “customer relationship management” (CRM) joined the marketing lexicon. Though the idea is often thought to refer to the implementation of some kind of technology, the real idea behind CRM is that the management of customer relationships is a business imperative.

CRM is about deciding which customers or segments to target, and then developing customer acquisition, retention, and growth plans that will attract and keep your best customers. CRM is really about making your customers the heart of your business.

Our job as marketers is to acquire, grow, and retain profitable customer relationships to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

How do you measure customer relationships?

We’ve all come to accept that creating customer loyalty is an integral part of any organization’s strategy and focus. Various factors influence the success of any customer relationship initiative. Here are five critical success factors:

  1. Clearly defined business outcomes related to customer acquisition, retention, and growth
  2. Agreement about who the customer is and what they want and need from your category (and you)
  3. Well-defined customer segments (and their desired behaviors) and customer-experience objectives
  4. A documented, integrated customer strategy
  5. Explicit measures of success, and the data and processes needed to support the metrics

 

Customer satisfaction and loyalty are two of the most common measures of success. A variety of models are used to measure and quantify customer loyalty, ranging from simple recency and referral models to RFM and customer lifetime value models. Recent research is examining those models to ascertain which, if any, truly measure customer loyalty.

Many organizations would agree that a loyal customer…

  • Stays with the brand despite competitive offers, changes in price, negative word-of-mouth, and product failures
  • Increases business/engagement in some way
  • Actively promotes the brand to others

Though there are many approaches to measuring customer loyalty, one metric that many organizations should consider is the Vulnerability Index.

Add the vulnerability index to your marketing KPIs

A vulnerability index serves as a way to measure loyalty in the face of competitive pull. Its purpose is to help you identify your most loyal customers—those who are going to stick with you through thick and thin.

To calculate your vulnerability index, you will need excellent market intelligence about your competitors’ campaign’s channel, offers, and markets. Once you have this information, follow these seven steps to construct your vulnerability index:

  1. Map the competitive activity. Include the competitor’s name, offer, duration of offer, and the offer’s focus area and market.
  2. Generate a list of loyal customers in the market where the campaign ran.
  3. Map their repurchase and engagement cycle based on frequency and last purchase date.
  4. Isolate all the customers whose repurchase or renewal dates fall within the competitor’s campaign period. This is your observation set (OS) and the set of customers who will experience the greatest competitive pull and are, therefore, the most vulnerable.
  5. Define your observation period, which is generally the campaign launch date and one purchase cycle after the last date of the competitor’s campaign.
  6. Monitor the purchases by vulnerable customers. Track all the customers whose purchases drop during the observation period. These customers constitute your vulnerable set (VS).
  7. Calculate the vulnerability index. Divide your VS by your OS and multiply that number by 100:

    Vulnerability Index = (VS/OS) x 100.

The index will give you a good idea of the proportion of customers who are succumbing to competitive pressure and some idea about the level of loyalty in those customers. If the index is high, you know that there is something to worry about. If the index is low, you can assume, with some degree of certainty, that your customers are exhibiting robust loyalty to the brand.

Because Marketing is charged with finding, keeping, and growing the value of customers, customer retention falls within the domain of marketing. Therefore, marketing organizations should have at least one objective aimed at retaining customers.

In addition to monitoring customer loyalty and advocacy and customer churn, Marketing should also keep tabs on customer vulnerability. If your vulnerability index begins to climb and exceed that of your competitors, you can anticipate that your defection rate is going to increase.

By monitoring your vulnerability index, you will know who your most loyal customers are, and you will be able to develop and implement strategies to withstand competitive pressure.

Read more: http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2011/4629/how-vulnerable-are-you-to-customer-defection#ixzz1f5bJmseK

Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Search Engine Optimization with tags , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

The Power of Customer Feedback

First, a plea: please don’t keep your marketing insight languishing in a silo, away from your core business processes. The technology exists to generate real business value from this often-untapped information, so take advantage of the opportunity to link this valuable asset—knowledge about customers—to the rest of your business.

By fully embracing your customer-feedback program, you can achieve transparency into customer attitudes and learn important truths about today’s buying behavior and the evolving attitudes that will determine future buying behavior.

A comprehensive understanding of customer attitudes enables you to build processes to prevent customer churn and drive cross-selling opportunities. The marketing department can use a customer-feedback program to drive tailored marketing campaigns and strengthen the relationship between your brand and your customers.

These programs are not just about making customers happy; they can also deliver real commercial value.

Communicate for engagement

By implementing a feedback program, you initiate a conversation with your customers, helping them to become truly entrenched in your brand—from product creation to problem resolution.

Such increased engagement forms far tighter purchasing relationships and builds significant brand value. Constant, relevant communication also provides an excellent platform for the creation of personalized, relevant promotions, creating a win-win that further builds the relationship. Better still, you will be able to make better-informed business decisions when you capture customer experiences and embed that insight into your business.

Learn how to share

This all seems ideal, but few organizations today have created the tightly integrated framework required to truly maximize the value of customer conversations across the company. In many cases, feedback data sits in a series of silos. Keeping it completely separate from other customer data reduces its value to little more than “mildly interesting.”

The lack of visibility into customer data by the marketing team means that, irrespective of investments in customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing resource management (MRM), Marketing’s interaction with the business remains, at best, a sporadic provision of leads to the sales team.

Time is of the essence

Timing is crucial in getting the most from the feedback you gather. If one of your customers has a poor experience with your contact center and defects to the competition, there is little point in contacting that customer three months later. The moment has passed, and the opportunity has been missed. Had you gained insight into that customer’s attitude when the problem occurred, with alerts to the relevant customer complaint team, the issue could likely have been resolved immediately, and the defection avoided.

Volumes of evidence show increased loyalty among customers whose issues were resolved successfully. Improved customer retention and increased loyalty—what’s not to like?

Marketing harnesses customer insight

Timely, focused surveys can transform the speed, relevance, and value of product-development campaigns and foster unprecedented customer loyalty and commitment. The information derived from surveys is critical to infusing the value of customer attitudes directly into your business.

Consider this example, in which loyal customers shared their experiences to great effect. Egg, the world’s largest online-only bank (now a Citigroup division), used its feedback program to develop an innovative new product in five weeks—compared with an industry standard of around 12 months.

Egg surveyed 30,000 customers about the customer proposition being contemplated. A key success factor was the familiarity of Egg’s customers with regular personalized online contact. The company had been using online surveying technology for five years to manage the customer experience. The customized nature of these surveys, which included customers’ names and recent activities, led to higher response rates.

Building a program that enables you to continually take your customers’ pulse and build an ongoing dialogue in times of trouble is crucial for aligning your business with your customers’ attitudes. To avoid generic feedback that you can’t act on, ensure that this “pulse-check” happens in conjunction with key customer interactions. For example, a retailer feedback request might coincide with a purchase, return, or contact center inquiry. With the right tools and approach, an alert system ensures immediate action to avoid customer defection and resolve customer dissatisfaction.

It is only by combining a real-time understanding of customer attitude with business processes that you can fully enjoy the benefits of creating a customer dialogue. Banish your silos, and reap the rewards of sharing feedback across your entire business.

Posted in B2B, Consumer Behavior, CRM, eMarketing, Marketing Mix (New Concepts) with tags , , , , on November 29, 2011 by Consultant

Get ‘Em While They’re Hot: Six Ways to Maximize Lead Conversion

In today’s competitive business landscape, your company is undoubtedly spending significant dollars to generate leads. In fact, you’re likely branching out to newer technologies and channels—such as mobile, text messaging, social media, and Web videos—to bring in more leads.

Though you’re increasing your inbound leads, what happens once you get them? Do your lead-response efforts take advantage of your lead flow? Could your lead-conversion rates use a boost? Without successful conversion, leads are essentially useless.

Here are six steps that’ll immediately increase your lead-conversion rates.

1. Focus on speed to lead

According to a Kellogg study, the odds of reaching a lead increases 100% if the lead is called within five minutes rather than 30 minutes. The study also found that the odds of qualifying and converting a lead increases 21 times if the lead is called within five minutes vs. 30. Calling leads immediately—before your competition—turns rapid response time into a competitive advantage.

2. Convert leads to conversations—then to sales

Don’t get caught up measuring how many leads you’re getting. The question is, How many are you talking to? Converting more leads starts with more conversations. Don’t rely on email to initiate contact with a hot lead. Instantly calling incoming prospects means that you can spend more time closing sales—and less time pursuing cold leads.

3. Don’t rely on CRM systems

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can stand in the way of immediately reaching your leads by phone. A LeadQual study found that only 40% of leads receive a response via telephone within 24 hours. In the several hours or full business day it may take your CRM system to route incoming lead information to you, your competition may have already contacted and closed the sale.

4. Connect first using lead-response management services

The LeadQual study found that speed is the single largest driver of conversion and being the first business to contact a lead increases conversion 238%. Lead-response management services are designed to connect you with incoming leads by calling you immediately and giving you relevant information about the lead. Such services prompt you to be instantly connected with a prospect, offering the opportunity to begin a sales conversation. Clients of one lead-response management service have experienced lead-conversion-rate increases of up to 300% after using the service.

5. Be available—anywhere, anytime

Not there? No problem. As a busy marketer, you’re often away from your desk. According to a Leads360 study, weekend and after-hour leads are extremely valuable, but they are often neglected. Similarly, a LeadQual report found that enormous opportunity exists for after-hour and weekend calling when many companies aren’t staffed for rapid response. In the age of mobility, there’s no excuse to miss an incoming lead. Lead-response management services enable marketers and sales reps to receive detailed lead information by phone—and to make immediate phone contact with the lead, regardless of the rep’s location.

6. Be systematically persistent

You already know that persistence is key to sales success. But consistently following up with leads is easier said than done. A Leads360 report found that 35% of leads are reached on the first call and up to 72% are reached with the second call—but 48% of leads never get a second call. Accordingly, some lead-response management services offer systematic reattempt capabilities that automatically call reps with lead information, offering one-touch connection with leads for instant phone conversations on the second and subsequent attempts. As a result, no lead goes to waste, and more connections are made.

* * *

You’re competing hard to generate new inquiries and prospects, but that’s not where the battle ends. You are, in essence, wasting marketing dollars if you don’t apply the same amount of effort to lead response and conversion that you do to lead generation.

Make the most of your hard-fought incoming leads by putting in place systems that’ll immediately connect you with leads by phone, help you close more sales, and ultimately, maximize your lead conversion rates.