Why scaling CRM is not about fine-tuning, it’s about gearing up!

TAP London
29 Jul 2021

Campaign Automation has been at the forefront of digital CRM for the last 15 years. Before then, companies with fully automated journeys and campaign automation were few and far between. Even then, automation was mostly about creating segments or “cells” as they used to be called.

Since then, campaign management solutions have developed and are now able to facilitate the automation of segmentation, journeys, and triggers. Those are not simple processes by any means, implementing and optimising journeys and triggers so that they are both relevant and effective requires the right tools (like Adobe Campaign or AJO) and the right skills.

Yet, as this type of process is now reaching an optimisation stage, the gains are getting more and more marginal. There is so much you can optimise before a state of full automation is reached. Where to go from there?

Fine-tuning has a built-in glass ceiling

The first point is to acknowledge the situation and realise that it is not an issue in itself. Once the wheel is round, there is so much you can do to make it rounder. Automation is reaching stages where we are working on the rubber quality of the tyre, still with gains to be had but maybe we should be looking for other areas of potential improvement.

I’m using the wheel as an analogy because that is the point of contact where the energy is converted into movement (from the car’s perspective). It is critical, it equates to the bottom of your funnel where highly engaged clients are receiving the final nudge forward and are converted into customers. The wheel is your journeys and triggers, it needs to keep turning but its impact is specific, it is about optimising that conversion point.

What is the fuel of CRM?

At the other end of the funnel, a huge amount of money is spent on customer acquisition with SEO, ad placement, and social advertising. There are gallons of fuel going into the marketing and sales engine. The quality of that fuel is a debate for another time, but if cars converted energy the way companies convert prospects who are exposed to their message, we would have cars doing very few yards per gallon…
This is where the analogy with a car breaks down. Brands have a customer base that is like a self-contained nuclear cell, it can generate endless energy but needs to be handled with care and expertise. Very recently, two major Airlines got their loyalty program data valued higher than the company itself. This first-party data is a rich and powerful internal resource that is awaiting conversion.

So why is it not easy to gear up?

The challenge lies in the fact that most customers are dormant most of the time. How many customers are engaging with your brand today? How many are therefore within reach of an active trigger or journey? The answer is typically 3 to 5% of the total base on a daily basis, often far less. It’s only your birthday once a year after all.

What are the 95% receiving? The newsletter? Nothing? Gearing-up means accelerating the effectiveness with which you successfully prompt an interaction. But just increasing the number of messages doesn’t work. Inadequate marketing pressure will inevitably degrade the source (from unsubscribing to brand erosion). The solution is not new, it is a matter of presenting a known prospect with something so relevant to them that it gets them to interact with the brand and gets them within reach of conversion… That is the true purpose of CRM teams. Yes, solving technical automation challenges is important but it is time to gear up, to get back to animating a marketing agenda, to have a content and purpose-driven execution plan. And that’s not something you are going to achieve with a personalised newsletter.

The solution is simple

Yes, it is simple, so simple we have been side-tracked by technology and have been forgetting to make the most of this untapped source of business. Yet, although it is simple, it is not easy, it takes a different mindset, a different approach, and a few tools to enable you, the marketer, to open the TAP on that incremental revenue stream.

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