Last week I attended the Accelerate-time-to-strategy Execution conference, hosted by bpm’online in London, which has given me a chance to reflect on the great insight and interesting case studies presented on the day. Having recently started as a Marketing Assistant at Winners the conference was a brilliant opportunity to see one of the CRM market leaders in action and put Winners’ work into context; here’s what I learned.

One of the best parts of the event was the keynote by none other than the, ‘Godfather of CRM’, Paul Greenberg, who addressed the core principles of CRM strategy, explaining the myths behind common CRM misconceptions, and explaining why CRM is important.

He explained that, ‘we are not undergoing a business revolution’ but a, ‘customer communications revolution.’ Customers expect businesses to be contactable every hour of the day, and to receive a response on a timescale and on the platform that suits them. If a customer engages with a brand on Twitter then they expect an immediate response, because immediacy is now expected. Businesses are going through a huge change as a result, and this principle follows Winners’ mantra of sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time (on the right platform).

Another key quote used was, ‘The digital customer thinks differently about what and how they trust.’ He discussed how that in the early-2000’s people began trusting other customers online based on their reviews – they were no longer relying on word-of-mouth-marketing. Jump to 2017 and this behaviour has developed tenfold – reviews are everywhere, and whole businesses are built on customer reviews (Amazon, TripAdvisor) – we rely heavily on strangers’ reviews, putting the customer at the forefront of business.

Another important discussion point from the day was the principle of customer engagement. This began by explaining that, ‘Customer engagement, customer experience and CRM are all related but not the same’. He explained how a well-known Irish budget airline (rhymes with “Sky and Air”) had changed their focus to improving customer experience, and after seeing the results said, “If I’d known that being nice was good for business, I’d have done it years ago!” It highlights the cruciality of understanding how to develop strategies that benefit your customer to develop their engagement.

Paul moved onto the consideration of customer perception and how they can control engagement levels in terms of its effect on CRM. The initial point being that if a customer liked you then they would continue to do business. Alternatively, if they do not then they will not. It underlined the need to allow customers to control their levels of engagement pitted against the need for alternate options. The options concerned were that the customer can make the choice and if the option is executed well it implies the business knows something about us. Once again this echoes the Winners approach to data-driven marketing of sending the right message to the right person at the right time.

Additionally, he drew two key elements that are used by the Sri-Lankan telecommunications giant, Dialog Axiata. I can hear you saying “who?!” but bear with me. The company have an end-to-end empathetic and trustworthy culture, and they try to embed themselves in every aspect of their customers – implementing a service where customers can text a local doctor and receive advice within a few hours. They even set aside time at the end of every day to improve their entire customer experience across their website. This is a company where you wouldn’t naturally expect them to embed themselves into a customer’s life – imagine how much easier it would be to do this as a sports company where there is already natural affinity. We must continue to strive and build our customer experience providing them with what they want.

Overall, hearing thought-leaders like Paul Greenberg discuss the same principles I hear every day in the Winners office shows that data-driven marketing is the key to success. The quote that this up the most is ‘The customer is not an object of a sale, they are a partner.’ This is fundamental to Winners’ approach to our sports clients.

To discuss this further, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me personally via Twitter, or contact Winners today.