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Publisher's Outlook
July 2004


Nadji Tehrani

In Search of Mediocrity In CRM, Marketing And Advertising:
An Overview Of The Problems That Lead To
Mediocrity In Corporate America

 

BY NADJI TEHRANI


Unintentionally, many companies are making mistakes that inevitably lead to mediocrity in CRM, marketing and advertising.
The purpose of this editorial is to single out some of these problems and offer suggestions to eliminate them for the companies that are flexible and progressive enough and who don't take these vital elements of business for granted or ignore them for whatever reasons.

Problems In CRM Implementation
One of the original purposes of CRM (customer relationship management) has always been to develop a technique that will help companies improve customer retention, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. However, if you truly analyze your relationship with your vendors, or many companies' relationships with their vendors, you will find that in most cases, customers are taken for granted and therein lies the root of the problem.


I learned a long time ago that if you do not nurture your relationship with your customer on a weekly or monthly basis, it is only a matter of time before you will lose that customer. And yet, many companies totally ignore their major customers and that it a violation of all ten commandments of good CRM!


For example, how many of you have heard from your car manufacturers after you have purchased a car? Did anyone call to see if you were satisfied? Do they call you every month or every six months or every year? Most importantly, did anyone call you a month or two prior to when your lease terminated to try to sell you a new car? In my experience, the answer to all of the above is a resounding no!

 

I chose car manufacturers as an example because a car is a very expensive item and it could range anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 or more per customer. To me, that is a significant purchase and manufacturers must communicate regularly with customers, not only to find out if they are satisfied, but also to encourage them to buy their next car from that particular company. At the moment, none of the above is taking place and that is why practically all of the car manufacturers are losing customers left and right to their competitors!

Building A Relationship
When a vendor fails to contact its customers frequently, no relationship is built. As a result, the customer has no reason to be loyal to that vendor. As I have stated frequently in this editorial for the last 23 years when this publication laid the foundation for the CRM, contact center and teleservices industry (in 1982), I have often mentioned that in business, relationship is everything. If you ignore your customers and don't show appreciation and care, the customer has no reason to remain loyal to you. I realize that most companies are unintentionally committing the above mistakes, but in this day and age when the customers have many choices, it is the violation of all ten commandments of business, not to mention CRM, to ignore customers and not try to show appreciation and care in order to keep that customer loyal!

Going Beyond CRM
I have mentioned frequently in these editorials that to go to the next level in building customer loyalty and conducting true CRM, you need to find out what it takes to help your customers acquire new customers and keep them. If you can achieve this, then you will have a customer for life. But then again, how many companies are doing this? I would guess, less than one percent and, therefore, there is no customer loyalty and retention, and billions of dollars of losses in business are the result every year because of the above problems.

Marketing Blunders Continue
As a student of marketing since 1982 when this publication started as Telemarketing' magazine, which we called 'the magazine of electronic marketing and communications,' I have come across many blunders in marketing ' blunders which regularly take place in Corporate America. Indeed, in one of my editorials titled, 'The Sad State of Marketing in Corporate America,' I pointed out that out of dozens of marketing job candidates that we interviewed for a marketing position several years ago, only one was able to get a satisfactory grade on the most basic marketing test that we give to all marketing job candidates. Believe it or not, many of the candidates who claimed to have a degree in marketing and years of experience in sales and marketing were not able to define marketing or sales. In fact, many of them did not even know the difference between marketing and sales. As a result, marketing blunders and haphazard marketing continue.


Old Fashion Marketing Habits Continue
During my daily association with various CEOs and marketing executives, I find that many are committed to direct mail only or trade show only or e-mail only as the sole marketing vehicle for their companies. They act as if they have never heard of integrated marketing. I would like to refer our valued readers to the May 2004 issue of this publication, to my editorial titled, 'Integrated Marketing.' As you read in that editorial, the new marketing evolution hinges on 'integrated marketing,' without which no company can go anywhere. In that editorial, we discuss that every component of integrated marketing must be addressed, otherwise no company will get full exposure, not to mention market domination. Indeed, I have seen many companies that waste thousands of dollars on one or two media and ignore the rest. Obviously, these companies will never gain the full benefit of their marketing dollars.


I recently investigated such a company and discovered that in spite of the fact that thousands of dollars were spent on one or two media, the company did not commit to integrated marketing and that company's name did not appear in the appropriate categories in any of the major search engines. The bottom line, the successful marketers of today are those that use integrated marketing and anything less will not do. In previous editorials, I have frequently mentioned that marketing is not a part-time job and there is no short-cut in marketing. And yet, many marketers are ignoring the above facts and their companies are losing millions of dollars in new business.

Ignoring Print, Trade Show, Phone And Channel Marketing
One of the most prevalent problems I have recently found with many marketers is that they are ignoring print, trade show, telephone and channel marketing. In my opinion, there is no greater disaster that can result from ignoring the above vital components of 'integrated marketing.' And yet, the mediocrity continues and many companies are completely oblivious to these facts and foundations of modern marketing.

Marketing Through Education
As a young student of marketing, I learned that one of the most effective ways to market is marketing through education. If you gave me only two phrases to define the role of marketing, I would give you two choices, as follows:
1. Create awareness, and
2. Articulate benefits.


Effectively executed, the combination of the above should generate responses which are commonly referred to as 'sales leads.'

Advertising Blunders Also Continue
I invite you to read several of my editorials in the last several years, which have focused on effective advertising. Indeed, many advertisements that I find in a variety of publications are guilty of the following problems:


1. They are not communicating the benefits of the products or doing business with that company.
2. They are not differentiating themselves from the competition.
3. They have not positioned themselves effectively.
4. They are too busy or they don't say anything.
5. They are poorly designed and are using colors that turn off readers.
6. Last but not least, many of them don't even have a powerful benefit-driven headline.


To make matters worse, 70 percent of the sales leads generated from advertising are not followed up!


If the above is the case, one has to wonder, what is the purpose of advertising if you don't give the customer a reason to do business with you? And again, Corporate America seems to be oblivious. The lousy ads appear in many publications and newspapers without having any effect whatsoever!
How do you solve the problem? The client must do a much better job of informing the ad agency about the benefits of the product and most importantly, what differentiates that product from competition.

Last But Not Least, Destroying Relationships With Powerful Media Companies
As stupid and ill-advised as this may sound, believe it or not, a few marketing/PR people go out of their way to destroy relationships with the most powerful media companies in their industries! To me, this is like someone developing a new Bible for Catholics and, as the first order of business, they decide to break all relationships with the Pope! I know this sounds stupid, but it's also sad and it is happening! Unfortunately, this is also a true story. Who is to blame? Of course, top management for hiring and keeping such idiots on payroll!


I hope I have been able to point out a few of the problems that lead to mediocrity in CRM, marketing and advertising.
As always, I welcome your comments. You may e-mail them to ntehrani@tmcnet.com.


Nadji Tehrani
Executive Group Publisher
Editor-in-Chief
ntehrani@tmcnet.com

 

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