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What is customer relationship marketing?

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By Fairy Dharawat.

What is CRM?

CRM (customer relationship marketing) is a marketing model carried out based on research and findings of customer’s behaviour and buying patterns. When does the shopper shop? How often do they make trips to the store? What are the usual items that they prefer and what is their purchasing power? All this data is collected through point of sale.

Wikipedia also defines CRM as,” using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes — principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support

Companies approach CRM companies for something new to their existing promotions, strong branding and cross selling merchandising. They also prefer doing these activities to segment various customers.

Basically CRM helps to develop loyalty between your company, brand and targeted customer base. The other name for this type of marketing is also known as direct marketing. Many CRM companies have software which they update in order to provide details as to customers buying patterns and behaviours, as well as providing customer segmentations. Based on all these findings, the analytic team researches the database and comes out with a report which can be part of a solution the business is looking for. This report then suggests possible outcomes and strategies that a business might need to incorporate, to implement the changes they want to see.

CRM helps also in providing customized solutions to the companies based on the analytics carried out from the data during their POS – point of sales.

Why you should know this?

If you a have business, you need to know whether your customers are valued customers. You also need to see what is your retention rate, what is your conversion rate of your shopper and identify high-profile customers who possess potential to become long-term associates.

CRM helps in building up brand name and providing strategies to stand out from different companies by giving individuality to business and target customer base.

How does it help your business?

Communication and customer satisfaction tend to increase when customer relationship marketing is used — Phillip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller, authors of the book “Marketing Management”.

CRM aides in communication and customer satisfaction as direct sales help to get hands on details as to customer needs and their desires. But it is also time-consuming and expensive as one has to know which type of information might prove useful for their business. And training of staff to incorporate the CRM study findings also makes it a little tricky. Along with this, there are expenses of maintaining the data of customers and to protect their privacy all the while disclosing the reason of sharing the information, each time the need arises.

There are pros and cons of each type of marketing models and tools carried out. Apart from time-consuming, expensive and sometimes hard to interpret suitable customer information for the business, CRM is chosen by many high-profile retailers in various segments and industries.

In conclusion CRM helps to get a closer look at the type of customers visiting your store, help in gathering personal information which can be taken for ones advantage, such as sending best wishes on birthdays and anniversaries and provides personalized solutions to the existing problems. Big companies are at an advantage by carrying out studies, where as smaller companies may find it difficult to adjust the costs which these studies may incur.

The important point CRM gives is giving personalized findings and strategies based on direct marketing, which in simple terms means to ‘know your customer’. If your business is small, you should be able to know your customers. If you find a customer making regular trips, you can ask for their name and telephone number and then gradually you can ask for their birthdays and anniversaries so you can call them on the important days. You can also provide promotional items and give them preference by giving them a call on offers before the offer hits the shelf, which will make the shopper feel special. CRM may be expensive and time-consuming but the pros can be used for the advantage by gradually knowing more of the customer shopper and turn them in to loyal customer through various means, because at the end of the day, marketing is all about selling and promotion.

For the large organisation CRM is about analysing data and adjusting policy accordingly. For the small business it’s about analysing data and adjusting attitudes to customers accordingly and often treating them like friends. It’s about ‘getting to know your customers’ in both cases.

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