Customer loyalty is the lifeboat to which many companies currently are clinging, so CRM is getting more attention than ever. Hence, the corporate obsession over social media alongside an attempt to control, steer, monitor and grow the conversations about a company and its products.
"We've got the tools, CRM, databases, but let's go back to the content. Let's go back to really going beyond Twitter and social networks and ask what we are really saying," urges Richard Rosen, president and CEO of ROSEN and author of the book "Convergence Marketing."
In other words, what's the point of all this data, social media exercises and CRM programming? Ideally, to get to know customers better and make the right moves that keep them coming back. "Empathy. Show that and you get loyalty," asserts Rosen. It's a wonderful word, and a wonderful practice that moved from copywriters to art directors to active campaigns that attempt to move individuals further down the line from simple brand preference to strong loyalty.
As a counter example, Rosen brings up the old Sears campaign, "The Softer Side of Sears." "It was a jingle. 'Come see the softer side of Sears, Roebuck and Co.' It was lovely. It was brilliant. It appeared in some great TV spots," he says. "But then, a couple of weeks later, comes what I call 'dreck mail.' Fifty-pound offset from some ugly press going 90,000 miles per hour and looked like dog doo on a stick. And it gave you 10 percent off coming into Sears. Come on guys, where's the balance? Where's the empathy?"
Again, marketers have the tools. It's about using them properly, rather than beating customers senseless with e-mails, says Rosen. He gives another example: A customer comes to a bank for a loan, but then only gets pushed on loans from that point forward in very unempathetic direct mail and e-mail.
Rosen prefers to drive a messaging platform through awareness, engagement and interaction (his Convergence model). That includes classifying leads in order to develop the proper "empathetic" dialogue. "Classify the leads from the expected value of customers moving forward in six months, one year, five years, rather than the lifetime value. Then you can move forward to consideration, upsell and cross-sell," he concludes.