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Big Data Spawns Big Ideas for Mobile CRM

Big Data Spawns Big Ideas for Mobile CRM

Customers have always been chilly toward efforts to sell them something they don't want or need, but they quickly open up to sales pitches about products that advance their goals or fulfill their desires. Now the technology is falling into place that will allow marketers to match customers to their sales sweet spots, thanks to the smartphone and Big Data -- and the CMO's job has become more important than ever.

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
03/29/13 5:00 AM PT

If you have been thinking lately that the chief marketing officer has been driving CRM purchases more than the IT department, you're right.

"This is the era of the CMO," Larry Bowden, vice president of portals and Web experience at IBM, told CRM Buyer.

The reason for that is simple: The amount of information becoming available to the CMO through new technologies and Big Data offers huge potential for propagating the company's brand, analyzing its customers, and driving sales. Recognizing this, corporate leaders are shifting more purchasing power to their CMOs.

A Top Area of Investment

Mobile is one of the main areas the CMO is investing in, Bowden said.

Mobile devices are extremely powerful tools, not only as channels for advertising, but also because they can tell the CMO so much about a customer, he explained.

Mobile devices also may serve as complements to more advanced campaigns when they become available, suggested Bowden. For example, say a bank wants to deliver customized ads to clients on digital signs they view when entering a branch.

A 50-something customer might be shown information about retirement products, while a 20-something customer might see ads about vacation packages. How does the digital sign know which ad to display? From information it gleans from the customer's mobile device.

CMOs are taking these scenarios very seriously and laying the groundwork now.

"Mobile is not a minor thought but a major platform companies want to leverage as much as possible," Bowden said.

The Service Piece

CMOs are also recognizing the cross-over effects a mobile investment can have in other areas, such as service, Syed Hasan, CEO of ResponseTek, told CRM Buyer.

Again, mobile is seen as one viable way to keep track of a customer's relationship with a brand as these technologies further develop.

"If a customer doesn't have to repeat AGAIN what products they've purchased, what their issue is, etc, then the level of effort of the interaction with the brand is more positive," Hasan said. "This leads to improved satisfaction and retention, which means marketing can spend less dollars on retention efforts and reallocate this budget to reward and leverage loyal customers."

Sales Benefits Too

CMOs are also stepping up sales-related mobile investments, Claudine Bianchi, CMO of Axceler, told CRM Buyer.

"Getting more control of the budget is giving us a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the sales cycle," she said. "What could be better than the mobile sales rep? Meet with a client, send him pertinent information right after a meeting, right from the rep's cell, and have everything be tracked in the CRM. It helps CMOs see what's really important to connect with prospects and puts them right in the shoes of the sales rep -- great both for sales and marketing collaboration and alignment."

Timing is everything in a sales cycle, Bianchi added. "Prospects are so easily distracted because they are bombarded with messages. Right after a meeting, or a call -- basically any interaction -- is when to keep their interest piqued."

However, mobile is not a panacea if an internal process or system is not right in the first place, she cautioned. "If the sales team is not using CRM effectively when it's not mobile, the adoption or introduction of mobile may be premature. The investment would then be a waste of money."

Basically, the CMO wants to be able to provide internal staffers with the right tools when the staff is ready for them -- but before they really need them.


Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.


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