We live in a world in which tools are often confused with practices or cultures. Buying and having IT install all the latest and greatest CRM tools, databases and automation does little to build customer relationships if you don’t understand the customer, not only by what they do but WHY they are doing it. Additionally, if your company culture isn’t aligned around consumers and rewarding customer-centric behavior, CRM tools could be a great way to become the uninvited guest in many of your customers’ lives.
Customer segments are the first critical glimpses into who your customers are — a neat snapshot in time that are the bread and butter of media planning and buying. Personas layer ethnography, qualitative and non-media research onto those customer segments to help businesses and agencies understand customer motivations. Customer insight should be at the core of any CRM and personas (sometimes called archetypes) are the beginning of the CRM journey.
Discovery or journey mapping by customer persona is a great second step because it forces the organization to think about what motivates customers in the customer’s — not the business’s critical touch points. Each inflection point in their journey is an opportunity to gather data about them as well communicate with them.
NOW we’re talking about CRM that makes sense: Understand and plan and then communicate and learn. It’s at this point that marketing and IT can get out the catalogs and start shopping for tools.