MARKETING EXECS STUMBLE OVER CRM DEFINITION

Study Says Despite Confusion, More Ad Dollars Go Toward Service

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- A recent survey reveals the marketing world's continued obsession with CRM despite its inability to clearly define it. Though customer relationship management remains top-of-mind for marketing professionals, they can't seem to agree on what it is.

CRM eked out traditional mass-media advertising in the survey of marketing executives, with 28% preferring to invest the majority of their marketing budgets on CRM programs and 22% choosing traditional media.

But definitions of

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CRM -- which respondents said stood for either customer relationship management, customer relationship marketing or continuous retention marketing -- varied.

Some defined CRM as tracking customer behavior in order to develop marketing and relationship-building programs that bond consumers to the brand, while others said CRM is the development of software systems to provide one-to-one contact between the marketer and the customer.

The majority of respondents, 51%, also indicated that marketing strategies and staffers, not software or technology applications, should drive CRM programs, and 32% of respondents said marketing strategy is the biggest contributor to the success of these programs.

Online marketing magazine Reveries, in conjunction with database marketing firm Insight Out of Chaos, surveyed 197 advertising and marketing professionals who subscribe to Reveries' online marketing newsletter.

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