Fifty years ago, the mantra of advertising and marketing was that you needed a catchy jingle; some sort of ear-worm tune that would help your customers remember your brand, and make them think of you when they were in the market for your whatever-it-is-that-you’re-selling. If you didn’t have a catchy tune, you didn’t stand a chance in your fiercely-competitive landscape. Then, of course, the idea spread to the point where absolutely everyone had some silly jingle, and nobody could remember any of them anymore.
I was in a meeting yesterday discussing our client relationship management (CRM) software, and listening with barely-restrained enthusiasm as he told me about the huge competitive advantage it would give us. Meanwhile, during that meeting, I got no less than twelve emails from other companies’ CRM systems, telling me what a valuable customer I was, and how grateful they were for my continued loyalty. I deleted all of them without reading them. It was, then, decidedly difficult to have a great deal of faith in the representative’s assurances that his software would give us a leg-up on the competition. If we didn’t “touch” these customers regularly and frequently, we would have no chance at building loyalty, and guaranteeing ourselves their repeat business. I held my tongue, but I couldn’t help but wonder whether giving them excellent service, a fair price, and a pleasant overall experience might go further towards earning their loyalty than regular emails and phone calls to remind them how much we appreciate them. Now that absolutely every business uses it, could CRM have become another worn-out gimmick?
And, if so, what’s going to be the next great technique for businesses to keep their hands firmly clamped around our wallets?