Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can provide numerous advantages for organizations. And these tools are constantly evolving, providing users with more valuable insight.
As MediaPost's Neil Rosen recently highlighted, one of the key advancements that distinguishes CRM tools from more traditional research techniques is the movement beyond demographic-based classification and strategies.
Demographics in the past
Rosen pointed out that traditional marketing data accumulation was largely based around demographics. Marketers would collect large amounts of information about their customers, clients and members, then group these individuals into larger categories. These classifications would be based on a wide range of factors, including age, race, gender, income level, geographic location and more.
This system could yield significant results. As all marketers and businesspeople know, different groups have different interests, and it is beneficial for organizations to cater to these specifics. For example, a young woman living by herself in an apartment in an urban area would likely have little interest in joining any sort of homeowners association, and a retired man with a family is unlikely to want to join an organization that sends members to foreign countries to teach.
CRM moves from groups to individuals
As useful as demographics are, there are a number of shortcomings. Whenever generalizations are made about individuals, mistakes and missed chances will emerge. In the above example, it's entirely possible that the young woman is considering buying a home and would be interested to learn more about homeowners associations. The older man may have a younger relative that he would pass this information along to if he received it in the first place.
CRM, according to Rosen, allows organizations to learn about people by using live data. Firms can gain insight into how people behave as individuals, rather than as members of larger groups. By tracking who opens emails, who visits a website and so on, the organization can respond quicker and offer much greater service.
For this data to be usable, however, the organization must have processes in place to quickly act upon data gathered via CRM, as Destination CRM's Ed Shepherdson recently highlighted. According to Shepherdson, much of the data CRM tools collect, especially that which comes from social media sources, does not have a long shelf life. It is only relevant for a short time and must be used immediately.
Associations and nonprofit organizations interested in improving their services with sophisticated CRM tools should consider upgrading to advanced association management software featuring integrated applications. These programs can help organizations to gain valuable insight into clients, customers and members.