There is a significant blurring of the line between marketing and customer relationship management. This blurring has enormous impact on the way we operate our businesses and engage with our customers.
Traditionally, marketing has been about defining market segments and delivering offers while CRM was about knowing the fine-grained details of your accounts.
Even though we call it CRM, it has been, for most companies, about the sales funnel more than customer relationships; leads go in, revenue comes out. Marketing sat above that funnel.
Marketing is expanding and is less about segmenting the potential customers you don’t know and much more about finding prospects to know and interact with as marketers, before they enter “the funnel”. CRM, meanwhile, is being used to continually interact with customers in new ways of cross selling and upselling that used to look like marketing. Where does marketing end and CRM begin? It’s very blurry.
Technology/strategy breakthroughs in recent years and changing consumer patterns allow each end of the marketing-to-CRM spectrum to continue to widen even as the difference between them blurs. This, in a nutshell, creates friction between applications, databases, departments, business owners, platforms, and ultimately prevents cohesive management of the spectrum.
It manifests as battles over budget, politics over positioning, and conflict over control. It doesn’t have to be that way, and it isn’t for companies that recognize the benefit of seeing this spectrum as turning customers into loyal fans.
Turning customers into fans must be the over-arching goal of any 21st century company that wants to stay relevant, build trust, open lines of communication and find success despite turbulence and a constantly evolving customer. Are you ready?
This article first appeared on the Loyalty Lab blog and has been lightly edited.