Customer Data Management (CDM) is a business strategy that
can assist businesses, both large and small, in managing their accounts, leads
and email marketing campaigns and assessing customer satisfaction and needs.
Managing customer data efficiently results in greater customer satisfaction,
less time spent on administrative tasks and more efficient marketing.
If companies are not currently using CDM then a paradigm shift in business and
marketing strategy may be required. CDM shifts the focus from the product or
service being sold to the requirements of the customer and this could result in
a fundamental change in a business's culture.
In a very simple example, a bed and breakfast establishment or small inn could
be offering a full cooked breakfast every morning, TVs in rooms, and brochures
on local tourist attractions. However, a close look at their customers'
analytics could reveal that their highest value customers are actually business
travellers who, spending many hours on the road, actually prefer a lighter
breakfast, possibly served earlier in the morning, before heading off to a
meeting. These customers might also place more emphasis on free Wi-Fi and
adequate, accessible power outlets in their room for charging electronic
gadgets. This may seem like a no-brainer and is clearly a tad oversimplified.
The point is that any business, regardless of size, will achieve greater
success when it is able to recognize its customers' needs and tailor its
efforts towards meeting these, rather than continuing to offer the same
products and search in vain for new customers to buy them.
An efficient CDM system can consolidate customer records, sales, leads and
marketing strategies. New sales opportunities become easily identifiable,
marketing strategies are more effective and business plans can evolve to
accommodate the available data, allowing for more accurate forward planning.
Additionally, a well-maintained CDM system can help businesses identify their
high-value customers and understand their needs and preferences. This may mean
re-evaluating a company's product accordingly; to extend the example given
above, if the bed and breakfast establishment continued to direct its marketing
towards vacationing couples and focused on improving its hearty breakfast
menus, it would clearly be wasting time and money.
Integrating a successful CDM system with existing technology may arguably be
more cost effective for larger businesses but CDM is important to small
businesses also, allowing sales and marketing to be seamlessly integrated.
Using the ‘cloud' offers a virtual platform that all employees can readily
access to get the customer data they need. Data can be centralized, ensuring
that customers' buying history and individual information are always kept up to
date. Analytics help business owners and sales staff to understand customers'
preferences and tailor their efforts to meet their customers' needs.
Efficient management of customer data involves integrating CDM with current
technology and ensuring that all employees are comfortable using it. To this
end, the ideal CDM system should be user friendly and easily navigated. It
should also be accessible to any authorized employee from anywhere that
employee happens to be.
Janet Taylor writes for InSite Systems, a leader in surveys systems and a
pioneer of .
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