Any person proposing that customer relationship management (CRM) is nothing more than loyalty marketing, much less an advertising phrase with little to no substance, is simply projecting his or her own ignorance of the subject and inability to deliver on its promise ("CRM: Shooting holes in the hype," AA, April 16).
The promise of CRM is simple: By tapping the information you have concerning your customers, you can deliver the products and services they want when they want them. That isn't just "loyalty marketing" or "repurchasing" strategy; the advent of CRM represents an entirely new approach to product development, marketing and how companies measure their success. It's about defining business objectives by customer value-the amount of real and potential revenue each customer represents. CRM is the shift from a product-centric approach ("build it, and they will come") to a customer-centric method ("build it, because they want it"). The result: greater product sales from more targeted, less expensive marketing programs.
And the reason there is such cynicism on the topic is a direct result of companies' failure to execute practical CRM solutions that work. Why? Bad advice. Their agencies and consultants didn't understand what CRM really is and only offered solutions relative to their particular expertise.
The truth is CRM represents a business approach to product development and marketing; it is not a solution in and of itself. Companies don't need to spend millions to "get it." They just need to execute on its promise using what they have. If companies start small, finding a consultant who can show them how much they can accomplish in one particular area of their business using the resources they already have, then they can prove the value of CRM without emptying their wallets.
Joanna Smith Bers
DB Marketing Technologies
Helping clients arouse brand patriotism for the past umpteen years, in widely different categories and among widely differing audiences, leads me to suggest CRM ("CRM: Shooting holes in the hype," AA, April 16) is little more than a perspective or even a bias.
It's merely an inclination to put real, identifiable, reachable people at the center of a marketing enterprise.
As much as we want to quantify the practice of marketing-direct, loyalty or any other kind-the business of customer connectivity will always and ultimately be a simple art, appealing to individual taste (mostly the agency's) and judgment (mostly the client's).
And no technology, however smart or invasive or convenient, will ever deliver that.
Mark A. Weninger
Chief Creative Officer
Creative is the key
Bob Gordon's Letter to the Editor ("Reason for low clicks," AA, March 5) hits the bull's-eye regarding click-through rates. Given reasonable expectations, it all comes down to execution and placement.
I have a unique, real world experience that supports his observations. Helios Health reaches consumers with general health-care content through two vehicles: HeliosHealth.com and a national network of 1,600 "e.Stations"-Internet-connected patient education terminals located in physician waiting rooms.
We run advertising for some of the largest health-care companies and products. Like Mr. Gordon, we find CTRs varied dramatically (three, four, five-fold) for the same sponsor.
The only difference is the creative. In addition, we find CTRs are three times higher on the e.Stations vs. the Web site. No surprise. People sitting in their doctor's office are thinking about their health-care and are in a position to take immediate action.
Mark H. Pavao
VP-Sales and Marketing
Rothenberg on Rudy
[New York Mayor Rudy] Giuli-ani has one standard. Logical or not, lawful or not, libidinous or not-his rules win.
Obviously, I agreed with Ran-dall Rothenberg's column "Imagine the scrap if Giuliani arts panel eyes decency in ads" (Viewpoint, AA, April 9) with one massive exception-his slam against Peter Max, whose work brings a smile to my face every day. He is a joy-full artist with a lively sense of whimsy and a lovely sense of color. Goes well with my collection of the kind of work I suspect Rothenberg favors!
* In "HGTV draws 4A's committee fire" (April 16, P. 40), Karen Shuster, cited in the story, was not fully identified. She is media director and partner at Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I.
* In "Hyundai aims at family crowd" (April 16, P. S-8), the name of Hyundai Motor America Director of Marketing Paul Sellers was misspelled.
* In "OLN/Speedvision rides its hot niche" (April 16, P. S-20), the bicycle riders in the photo accompanying the story were mis-identified. They are Danilo Di Luca (left) and Vladimir Belli.