A view from the industry: How do I reach existing customers?

The time to maximize the potential of CRM is now

Leading CRM teams within JustEat, MoneySupermarket.com, Fiat Group, and comparethemarket.com, Senior CRM professional Mahbub Ahmed shares his insights.

The challenge

I’ve worked across a range of industries and the challenge has always been the same; how can we reach our existing customers if the content is not relevant and personal to the audience? From experience, you need to identify your key target audiences, recognise the importance of existing customers, and understand their specific requirements may change over time. You need to ensure that you have the ability to track segment shifts and are able to deploy relevant content at a specific point in time.

How to maximize the potential of CRM

Most of the businesses I have worked in have focussed predominantly on email as the preferred channel of engagement. To optimize your approach you should always make use of the other channels, using social, digital, and SMS, as part of a wide reaching contact strategy. With CRM effective collaboration with other businesses functions is key, capturing the business objectives (short/long term) for each business area. This includes commercial teams, brand and data insight to optimise your CRM objectives. You must ensure your business area meets the expectations of your stakeholders.

The importance of delivering personal and relevant content

Personalisation of content is extremely important especially when you are looking to gain trust and creating a long lasting relationship with consumers. A lot of business even today are what you call ‘carpet bombing’ their database of potential and existing customers. This is more likely to create a negative impact and impression from the customers, leading to even greater disengagement. The objective here is to gain their trust and understand what their interests really are. You can then capture and engage content that would be relevant, appealing and beneficial to them at a certain time. TOV, brand imagery and clear CTA’s are equally important when applying a frequency cap on certain communications. You can then limit the amount of messages certain segments of your customer database receive.

How to motivate businesses to take CRM seriously

There are businesses out there who use CRM typically as an ‘execution’ operation to just get stuff out the door to customers. Businesses are underestimating the full power and potential of utilising CRM to support all areas of the business as well as a full multi-channel approach.

Creating proof of concepts and testing framework strategies is the right way forward, proving to the business that this approach (which may go against the norm) is the right way forward to generate clear ROI across a business. Don’t just stick to one channel, explore other engagement channels. CRM can support your ATL strategy with correlated communications which exploits the brand concepts, messages and CTA’s to consumers. A number of businesses dont have an attribution model in place, only at acquisition stage. Ideally KPI’s should be applied to all processes of CRM, so you’re able to measure the effectiveness of campaigns, and optimise communications as and when required. Joint ventures with partnership businesses is highly valuable to your CRM results, and you have the opportunity to run joint branded communications that would generate interest not just within your customer base, but will also increase traffic coming from partner sources.

The time is now

I’ve been on the front line of CRM for a long time, championing development of this crucial business function. Now more than ever is time for to appreciate it’s importance right across a business, and recognise the real value of personal and relevant messaging to truly engage with your customers.

Mahbub Ahmed

Leading CRM Professional