In mid-January, founder of Underwired, Felix Velarde, spoke on the future (and importance) of eCRM at Idio’s first Brand Breakfast. Underwired is a leading eCRM strategy firm, helping branded companies such as Virgin, AAR, The Economist Group, and McCain Foods to keep a steady relationship with their customers.
The state of eCRM
Felix points out that the foundation of eCRM, your customers, is above all else the most important thing and will continue to be important in the future. Companies should strive to make sure customer loyalty is met and they continue to see brand loyalty even after implementing new strategies. Limited resources, Felix says, usually get in the way of the company-customer relationship, however. But, there are ways around that.
All customers are different and so are their loyalty. That is why companies must be prepared for all sorts of different sets of loyalty and how a customer interacts with your brand. Keeping a constant watch on how loyalty is shifting and customer needs are changing is the best bet for a business, and shifting your budget accordingly will see the best results. Simple enough, right?
What to consider
Segmentation, or making sure customers are most responsive to something they like, is the best thing a business can do right now. Personalization of content means making sure everybody sees what they want to see, whether it is in an email or otherwise. Segmenting different customer bases is best. Going ahead in the future, all businesses should consider segmentation.
For example, a golf enthusiast is going to respond positively to a branded email with a golfing promotion, whereas a cricket player won’t be so thrilled to receive that same email. Make sure to make separate specials for your different bases of customers, because that means higher retention and loyalty.
Once customers are segmented into their likes and preferences, a brand can start building a campaign from that. One example is when McCain Foods utilized this and created special discounts for customers based on their personal needs as well as sending content without a straight forward marketing message–like a coloring page for the kids to work on. Building from that, companies can engage and further their value to the customer.
De-risking your strategy
Before jumping head on into all of this, Felix reminds people to do “nudges,” or take small steps for the best results. Budgeting for all of these things can seem a bit overwhelming, which is why it is suggested to follow through a few steps to “de-risk” a strategy.
For de-risking, a company should:
- Audit: Prioritized quick wins, as it is put. These are the strategies that will be used and implemented, and prior plans will be used as a value marker.
- Plan: Now it’s time to plan out the strategies accordingly. When proposing these plans and budgeting, this second step of planning can also be used as the pitch to managers.
- Roll out: It’s time to put in pilot programs and start testing the waters!
With a step-by-step approach, there will be a lot lower risk of failure. The economy is still in a recession and that means risks from failed plans have higher stakes. Implementing a stepped eCRM strategy to boost customer retention and loyalty is the safest bet during these harder economic times.
- The future of eCRM for any business is going to be based on content and engagement.
- Businesses should segment customers into smaller demographics that can be easily targeted with personalized content.
- Instead of lumping everything together, make it into a step-by-step process to reduce risk of failure.