Retail marketing and e-commerce are rapidly evolving via the exploding adaptation of Web 2.0 applications like blogs, wikis, video, RSS (really simple syndication), widgets and podcasting into the marketing and customer relationship management process. Labeled CRM 2.0, it has become the essence of smart e-commerce.
Improving upon the classic customer relationship management platforms and processes, many world-leading businesses, of all sizes and market types, are actively mashing together best of breed Web 2.0 technologies, partnerships and alliances in order to engage and involve their customer.
They are striving to create a truly collaborative customer experience that makes the customer feel that they are an essential element in the entire business relationship.
This means that businesses are learning to communicate to the customer in the manner that they, the customer, want to be marketed. Not only does this alleviate a great deal of marketing waste; the customer is also happy to not receive spam, get another unwanted voicemail or toss another direct mail piece into the recycle bin.
By establishing a centralized customer centric ecosystem where the customers reside within core of multiple business units and connection points, smart businesses are implementing a new way to do business — a direction away from customers just being the targets of the business ecosystem and towards a paradigm that engages the customer and makes them an essential driver of the marketing process.
What is CRM 2.0?
CRM 2.0 is an interactive exchange that businesses and customers can “engage into,” matching customer needs, requirements and expectations with the business that can best fulfill them. More than just a one-time action, this matching relationship could be extended over time, even years, and be a multi-phase, multi-channel interaction for more involved purchasing relationships.
The goals of CRM 2.0 are to build high-value relationships via applications and services that promote this ongoing dialogue, both online and offline. These principles create personal relationships that drive advocacy and continuous communication improvement as customers start to take ownership of the relationship.
Corporations also achieve continuous improvement by embracing collaboration between all members of its customer ecosystem. The result of doing so is an improvement in the quality of product and service delivery, an upgrade of the customer experience and new classification within the enterprise’s value proposition. The experience and insights of one customer, partner or employee benefits the common experience of all.
Centralized Customer Profile Platform
For customer centric marketing ecosystems to work, and to be informed of their customer’s wants and preferences, businesses need a centralized customer profile platform that can retrieve information from multiple data points, update the info in real time, and also leverage appropriate customer interaction and Web 2.0 applications.
This means that companies need to leverage user groups, social networks, message boards, blogs and video sharing. They must engage the customer via personal pages, RSS, social filters and make it on-demand through mobile Web, mobile applications, SMS, podcasting, streaming video and so forth.
Today, companies are taking the first steps towards incorporating Web 2.0 applications into their marketing and CRM processes. For example, 2nd Wind Exercise out of Minneapolis, a fitness equipment company with over 100 retail outlets, successfully increased their Web traffic by 200 percent and the number of first-time visitors who returned to the site more than 10 times. They were able to develop and implement a combination of creative e-mails, blogs, and online videos targeted to the individual interests of each specific visitor.
In addition, 2nd Wind integrated their sales team, management and POS (point of sale) databases. Now, when a customer visits 2nd Wind’s Web site, they are prompted to sign up for the VIP Club in hundreds of strategic locations across their site.
Based on zip code, this new prospect’s information is distributed to the nearest 2nd Wind store enabling local 2nd Wind sales managers the capability to easily follow-up. In addition, once a purchase is made, the customer automatically receives monthly follow up e-mails with valuable information on how to use the specific product or products that they purchased.
Learning Customers’ Interests
The social network yFly.com is also using CRM 2.0 to improve its interaction with their customers and to track user interactions. YFly is an entertainment-based social network that leverages the value of individuals connecting to celebrities, friends connecting to friends — and, for that matter, friends to friends of friends.
All the text, images, videos, music, quizzes and surveys that its subscribers choose to display allow them to go beyond relating with their immediate circle and join together with distant others who share similar interests and expressions.
By knowing what their customers are interested in, yFly.com can better target communications and advertising. Although subscribers are — and forever will be — the most important part of any social network, new innovations in the industry are demanding more from the social network business model. yFly is using CRM 2.0 to shift their measure of success from one that is solely based on the number of connections to gathering qualitative data on what their members really want out of a social network and where their interests lie.
Making Sales a Conversation
The evolution of CRM is driven by the recognition of the importance of making the sales and marketing process an interactive conversation. Throughout the world, smart companies are learning how to leverage User groups, social networks, message boards, blogs and video sharing.
They are engaging the customer via personal pages, RSS, social filters and making it on-demand through mobile Web, mobile applications, SMS, podcasting, streaming video and so forth. By understanding how to craft the collaborative customer experience and to better engage the customer, next generation businesses will be able to increase profits while improving their marketing team efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Rick Enrico is the founder, president and CEO of Juice Media Worldwide. Enrico has spent 10 years in software development, Internet, CRM, and sales and marketing applications enabling real-time Web collaboration..