The Shining?, The Grudge?, The CRM?

I am being factious of course in my comparison to popular horror movies, however in my marketing experience, I have yet to encounter another three-letter acronym that causes such a dichotomy of reaction.  The polarizing emotions generated run the gamut from utter consternation and trepidation to genuine reverence and appreciation of the discipline.

Let’s be serious for a minute…is CRM really that scary?…the current global economic situation is scary, our insatiable reliance on non-renewable resources is scary, comparatively however CRM is a walk in the park.  Kids laughing, birds singing…well I am sure you get the picture.

Now please don’t get me wrong…I love a good scary movie.  I have had many a sleepless night after watching Poltergeist and the Omen.  I didn’t mind the first versions of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th either.  It still amazes me that in any horror movie…go ahead pick any one…they all follow the same plot line.  The protagonist makes bad decision after bad decision and ends up meeting their untimely demise on an empty street at the hands of the fatally flawed antagonist.  Why are the streets empty at 8pm anyway?

Perhaps I have just stumbled upon the genesis of this now viral urban legend that CRM is indeed scary.  The arduous journey from suspect to prospect, to customer to advocate is a precarious one fraught with ill advised marketing strategies and tactics.  It sometimes feels that an organization makes bad decision after bad decision ultimately moving a prospect 3 steps forward with one initiative only to move them 2 steps back with the next.

This back and forth rhythmic dance is probably extremely effective if you are trying to lull a newborn to sleep (which I know..I have 3 of my own) or in a Harrison Ford movie attempting to hypnotize a king cobra to esape certain death. However, the ultimate goal of this exercise should be to build customer advocates by helping them navigate the tumultuous competitive landscape and arrive safe and sound in the warm embrace of your organizations products.

Scary or not Scary?

Here are some common CRM rumors, misconceptions and urban legends that act as an accelerant by constantly stoking the relative ‘terror’ induced by this incendiary debate.

1. CRM is Technology –   Driven

Well it shouldn’t be…it is a holistic business strategy that is focused on creating and retaining profitable customer relationships

2. CRM Involves Full Scale Implementation

This is another common misconception.  The best CRM programs utilize simple, actionable, measurable and effective (SAME) principles that build exponentially and cohesively integrate with broader CRM strategies

3. CRM Requires Enormous Data

Garbage in, garbage out. CRM requires a viable data strategy connecting the ‘right’ data in a way that provides a holistic view of the customer

4. CRM is Too Difficult

Fail to plan, plan to fail.  CRM can be simple or complex – it requires assessing your business needs and providing a customized solution that is right for you.

I hope by addressing some of these common misconceptions that we are now singing from the same song sheet, calling from the same playbook or at least all on the SAME page.

Remember, as I have said in the past…To effectively develop and foster ongoing customer relationships, companies must utilize a knowledge-based CRM approach that focuses on understanding customer’s needs and preferences.  This requires a holistic view of your customer data, analysis and profiling of customer segments and utilization of innovative tools and technology to deliver relevant marketing messages to key customer segments.

I wouldn’t worry too much though, in most scary movies, the hero doesn’t get killed…..until the end.

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