Every marketer has a version of this image on his or her hard drive. Now if only execution was as easy as creating a PowerPoint slide.
Attaining the long heralded vision of a 360 view of the customer is both the biggest opportunity and biggest challenge for CRM practitioners. The idea is simple and familiar to marketers: By connecting channels and the interaction, marketing and transaction data available across touch points, a company can anticipate a customer’s need and deliver a more relevant experience.
And there’s no question the upside is significant.Among the more sophisticated CRM marketing companies, I have consistently seen double digit lift in response in a highly targeted communication and sales impact that annually run into the tens of millions of dollars.
Majority of businesses operate in a cross-channel environment, where identifiable data is dwarfed by anonymous interactions and transactions. In addition, there is a need to accommodate even more data sources from emerging channels such as social media, site side analytics, mobile interactions and cookie level media and site side data.
The biggest challenge is that very few companies can fully adopt the vision of integrated cross-channel marketing without a significant change in organizational behavior and governance infrastructure. Some of the most common challenges I've seen:
- Competing leadership priorities
- Entrenched metrics, generally focused on the short term
- Conflicting initiatives
- Risk avoidance culture
However, these challenges are not insurmountable. Top performing companies have increased their chance for success by focusing on the key phases of a project from a strong start (i.e., executive sponsorship, thorough assessment and funding management) to a disciplined approach to implementation (i.e., data governance, clearly defined project objectives and a detailed execution roadmap) and finally commitment to the ensuring lasting change (i.e., culture/people change management, process change, program governance, organizational realignment).