The CRM Competence Day held by Defacto X considered how companies might get closer to their customers with the help of data analysis and personalised content

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Leading brands such as Swarovski, Coca – Cola, Metro and Esprit participated in the 13th CRM Competence Day. 150 guests were in attendance to hear speakers report on their experiences and expectations in regards to Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Michaela Sauerwein, head of membership management at ADAC, Munich, got the ball rolling. Her topic: digital transformation. She believes technology and members’ new expectations are the key factors driving this transformation. Based on her own projections, by the year 2020, three out of five ADAC members will be comfortable in the digital world (digital natives and digital immigrants) — but the rest will not. “We want to do justice to both groups, and pick up people wherever they may be”, is how Sauerwein outlines the task of the present and near future.

Carla Meinhard, CRM senior manager at Coca-Cola Germany, Berlin, explains how a brand can get closer to its clients. The beverage company set up its first CRM programme in 2008. As of the start of the year, this programme is no longer geared towards the mass of Coca-Cola drinkers, but specifically at those who only reach for this product once or twice a year. The time has come to convince them. “This only works by using content tailored to the individual”, says Meinhard.  According to the CRM manager, the website can, for example, be adjusted to the user’s background and his or her surfing habits. “Everything we do is measured. But technology is no longer at the forefront; rather, it is analysis and the resulting actions taken,” explains Meinhard.

Metro Cash & Carry Deutschland, Düsseldorf, is also concentrating of late on occasional customers – those who shop four or five times a year. The frequency of visits a customer makes is the decisive factor, not the number of sales. What is true for Metro, is just as true for Esprit and Swarovski. Gunter Neeb, head of global CRM for Esprit Europe in Ratingen, says frequency is increased primarily through one-to-one and cross-channel marketing, as well as by relevant content. In addition to three different categories of customer, distinguishable by status, the company mainly employs mailings, newsletters, apps and individualised display ads. The data for this is collected via online questionnaires, in social media, during transactions and at various touch-points.

In the eyes of Mujahid Harris, CRM director for Daniel Swarovski in Switzerland, customer relationship management belongs to a company’s top three priorities, together with the product itself and organisational structure. He confirms what several speakers already touched on:  “CRM today is no longer settled in the marketing department, but has become part of sales”.

Two speakers addressed how best to include customers in marketing. Dr. Jens Cornelsen, boss of Defacto Research, explains how social media users react to companies gathering data; Jacob Ner-David, CEO of the Israeli Zula, comments on why and how companies must open up to their customers. His credo: “Seamless cooperation with customers across varying platforms increases productivity.”

According to Jan Möllendorf and Claus Schuster, the managing directors of Defacto X, “Big Data offers enormous opportunities for CRM, but does not replace direct contact with the customer”. They both agree “Big Data offers enormous chances, and it helps the marketer to inform himself in real-time about a customer’s history. However it is no miracle cure. And it is no substitute for direct contact with the customer. In practice, the main consideration is what is useful and what can be implemented. The goal of customer relationship management is to convert Big Data into Smart Data”.

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