Posts Tagged CRM

Blogging and CRM – why they aren’t that different

RFM diagram

If you’ve ever done CRM or database marketing, you’ve used R-F-M to target customers. It stands for Recency, Frequency and Monetary. When evaluating customer value, you take into account the recency of the last transaction, the frequency in which they transact and the overall monetary value of that relationship. To the would-be corporate bloggers out there, I would submit that figuring how to write a blog isn’t that different.

The first two are pretty easy to grasp…

RECENCY – If I come to your blog and it hasn’t been updated in 6 months – I assume you’re not actively engaging anyone and that your thoughts in this dynamic environment are probably yesterday’s (or last year’s) news.

FREQUENCY – The best and most viewed blogs are updated regularly. They are indexed more often and probably getting better search traffic. A reader likes frequent content because that’s usually indicative of it’s relative freshness. It also tells me here’s someone who’s going to notice if I respond.

Now here’s where you might feel the urge to disagree…

MONETARY – This is probably the hardest concept to grasp for new bloggers. While a blog doesn’t exactly have a monetary value, consider the time spent reading as a cost to your customer; consider the opportunity cost of consuming content in a world of virtually infinite options. Don’t be fooled into thinking your content is  so compelling that viewers will read it at any [opportunity] cost.

If this is a struggle for you, remember this…

1) A blog is a not a case study or white paper. Tone down the academic speak. You have two minutes to impart the gist. If someone wants more they’ll download the case study or contact you (that’s the point after all, isn’t it?).

2) Stay on point and within a few hundred words. There shouldn’t be multiple disparate points. If you have more to say, break it into bite-sized nuggets to keep them coming back for more. Recall the very definition of LOG – to enter a record, singular.

3) A blog is not a corporate billboard. If people want ads, they’ll find the nearest woman’s fashion magazine. Blogs aren’t for hawking products or solutions – they should be focused on needs, problems or other resonant topic.

Even as I’m writing this I’m coming up on 400 words so I’ll end with this thought…

People choose blogs similar to the way marketers target. We can’t target everyone, just as customers can’t consume everything.

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Customer Service Rant Revisited

This is a follow up to my last post: Customer Service Rant

DEFINE IRONY: When after completely botching the customer experience, Time Warner Cable sends you a mailer asking you to come back at a 30% reduction in price. This is a perfect example of how not to treat customers. Why is it that companies come to their senses only after you’ve ceased to do business with them?

What is it that makes it ok to not value a customer relationship until its lost?

Acquiring a customer is 10 times more costly than simply retaining a customer. And as proof, it will take more than one lousy mailer to make me come back, even at the huge discount they are offering me (which by the way they should have offered in the first place – as you can read in the previous blog, I left in large part because of the gradual but significant creep in my monthly subscription fee).

Rather than make this a total rant…some advice for marketers and service providers the world over:

1) Keeping customers happy is ALWAYS easier than trying to win them back after decidedly not making them happy.

See “United Breaks Guitars” as a GREAT example. After decidely failing to reimburse a customer for damage to a beautiful Taylor guitar, country artist composes and posts song to Youtube. With over 5 million views it has cost United Airlines an estimated $180 million in market value.

2) Asking a customer to return just a month after you’ve explicitly devalued that customer relationship is insulting. I don’t think I really need to further explain this point. We all know the feeling.

3) If you’re going to woo a customer back, don’t do it with a mailer that cost you $1.

The most valuable customer relationship managnent lesson I’ve ever learned… The best way to overcome disappointing a customer, is to go back and ask for more. Face to face, one on one, whatever it is that makes the most economic sense.  In this case, a phone call thus making it a TWO-WAY conversation would have been better. I probably would have told TWC to you-know-what, but that would have been the first (of many) steps to rebuild a broken relationship.

I’m not going to put out a youtube video about TWC, but the very fact that I’m writing this blog is proof that in today’s digital age, a singular customer experience has the ability to dramatically impact (Positively or Negatively) an image beyond just that one touch point.

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B2B data capture, tool or customer repellent?

Stumbled upon a very interesting blog that really resonated with me. Having many moons ago come from credit card marketing, I believe customer intelligence is king. The more we know, the more we can deliver the right product and message…but of course, in financial services, customer information is a given. Quality and risk inherently justify the collection of personal information.

So what about in B2B marketing? Do the same rules apply…if not, when is it acceptable to gather data? B2B marketers talk about things like “Thought Leadership”, we push whitepapers and case studies, and ultimately hope people read them. But if we want people to read, share, evangelize, then why do we create obstacles like data capture?

Short answer, in my opinion, is that its what we’ve always done. The problem is that the rules have changed. There is so much content out there. Google is a one-way ticket to information overload. If you don’t get me what I want, I’ll go somewhere else. End of story. So if you need to collect information (or at least*think* you do), here’s some tips…

1) Is it information that I would be comfortable giving – Once you ask for my address, that’s just broadcasting your intent to send me junk mail. Unless you are uniquely positioned to provide crucial, relevant information, I will probably close the window. And as a colleague of mine pointed out yesterday, how many of us have NEVER given fake email or mailing address?

2) Is the information quick to provide, or am I going to have to think about it? Example – I HATE long drop-downs… I never know which of the bajillion options to choose, so I usually just randomly select one or skip the capture all together. Which again, goes back to the actual integrity of the data capture. The more complicated, the more useless the information will ultimately be.

3) Have you given me a preview of the content first? Do I know what I’m getting myself into or am I going to give you a ton of information only to find that you’ve handed me over a brochure promoting your company and product? Talk about ruining the customer experience. This among all things is a big peeve of mine. Data capture is a trade, a business transaction, and my information is worth more than a lousy, self-promoting, brochure.

Wrapping up, I will admit that I am guilty of data capture, but only as a means of timely, relevant follow up. Always take a customer-back approach and consider how your customer will feel. This is not rocket science, but judging from all the registration screens I see everyday, its something that B2B marketers sorely neglect.

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