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Database marketing and CRM - the benefits

Understanding what and how your customers buy from you is essential to the success of your business.

The benefits of this are:

* Increased sales to new and existing customers through better timing, identifying needs more effectively and cross-selling of other products.

* Effective marketing communications, through a more personal approach and the development of new and improved products or services

* Enhanced customer satisfaction and retention

* Increased value from your existing customers - and reduced cost to serve

An effective marketing database and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system will enable you to analyse the data, to find out who your most profitable customers are and what characteristics they share. This will help give you a clear idea of what sort of person or organisation to focus your marketing on. It may, for example, be possible to group customers according to geographic area or to target your own promotional and sales efforts more precisely.

You will also be able to communicate successfully with your customers by identifying similar groups of customers to target by a particular method, such as telephone, direct mail, email or face-to-face. You might, for example, want to reward regular, profitable customers with targeted special offers, or you might want to target customers from whom you haven't had business in the past year. CRM can also help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing so that you don't waste time and money on customers who aren't responding to your promotional campaigns.

CRM is a sales and marketing issue, not a matter of IT. It is about developing a strategy and a set of tools for improving your customer knowledge, which is supported - not led - by the technology.