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CRM and the Seven Signs of Life: How to breathe life into your Customer Relationship Management strategy

1. Movement: Is there movement out there? Are you harnessing all your customers and prospect touch points and correctly via the web, email, DM response, in-store, social media, delivery and operations? Think about every touch point as an opportunity. It’s imperative you gather the right information in the right format. Make sure you seek permission from customers to contact them, and get their postal address – it makes all the other jobs possible. Email only or badly permissioned data can render your customers unreachable, unhygienic or prematurely ageing!

2. Respiration: Is your database breathing? You can only tell if you have a working Single Customer View. Get your individual customers into one place, have one household address, prioritise the household and align everyone’s recorded sales and interactions with you across all your products, brands and channels.

3. Sensitivity: How sensitive are you to your customers and prospects?  Do you have a thorough understanding of their needs?  If you collected address details it’s now time for some analysis - what do they do (their purchase patterns, buying behavior, channel they use, what they buy) and who are they (lifestyle and demographics)? Build a portrait of your customers that takes everything possible into account, focusing on the areas in your business with the most potential.

4. Growth: Take the time to assess which parts of your strategy to nurture and grow. Put them in the right order, ranking them from best to worst. Build a propensity model on the area of your business that has the biggest potential to grow or requires immediate focus, as you’ll need to be able to target existing customers who have the highest likelihood to re-purchase.

5. Reproduction: This is where it gets exciting - a great contact and communications strategy can really help your customer base multiply! Create a bespoke plan that shows you when to talk to them, by what channel, about what and how to position your message or offer to them. This helps your customers feel understood and valued, and ultimately they will buy more. By making your campaign relevant and timely you will increase your likelihood to get a sale. Your plan should give you a basis to springboard into the future with an improved structure and the ability to measure success and report on it.

6. Output: Implementing your campaigns effectively is very important. One size doesn’t fit all and in 2012 we shouldn’t be just blasting everyone with the same message - that’s so 2002! You’ll be using all this rich information to create the right messagein either HTML email format or with a DM pack for your customers, as well as prospect campaigns. To save time and cost, you can get clever with one design but split messaging for different customer segments and prospects, as well as people you just won’t mail this time! Remember - quality, not quantity.

7. Nutrition: Now you need to feed this wonderful stuff back into your database. Jargon alert – ‘closing the feedback loop’. So take all the responders, non-responders, opens, clicks, buyers, transactions, order values and abandoned baskets, and make sure you capture it on each customer and prospect record. Only when you truly track and record the outcome can you provide the board with a campaign ROI. Putting the outcomes at an individual level back onto your Single Customer View completes the campaign history and enables the analysis of how it went. It provides you with the measurement tools to either fine-tune your campaign or do it all again (only bigger!) and plan for the next one! But have a cup of tea first…

So that’s the basic biology of CRM - there is of course a lot more to it but by just getting these Seven Signs of Life going, you will be in much better shape and will avoid needing a defibrillator on your campaigns!

By Carolyn Bondi of Blueberry Wave