In a 2002 article for Enterprise APPS Today, Arthur O’Connor, head of the CRM Integration Practice at Reuters Consulting, wrote:
The CRM fad is now officially dead. May it rest in peace. Contrary to the writings of some industry pundits, the demise of CRM is not greatly exaggerated. It’s real. The party’s over. The fat lady sang. It’s DOA.
Companies have become disillusioned; projects have been stalled; budgets have been cut; and enterprise rollouts of CRM pilot projects have either been postponed or cancelled. As a result, many software vendors, technology integrators, and consulting firms are limping along, and some don’t look like they’ll be around for much longer.
Apparently the main reason CRM crashed is that it was expensive and time consuming to keep track of all those pesky customers. And why bother when the Internet would be a limitless source of new customers forever? It sounded, at the time, like a new kind of thinking for a brave new world.
It was really the same old thinking so many marketing executives had spouted over the years: “Customer Acquisition!”
Increasing revenue from existing customers (and bringing back lapsed ones) is not the glamour end of the business. Acquisition is where the excitement always lives. It has always been so and every client has a budget for it, and little left for retention.
Companies that spend little or no time coddling best customers, getting referrals from and generating word of mouth from all customers and selling other things to them all are ignoring a huge potential source of revenue.
They’re great at working their donor files. Even if you’re as tight as Scrooge McDuck, try sending money to a half dozen or so charities like Smile Train or Boys Town and watch what happens. It’ll be a very inexpensive lesson in CRM, not to mention brilliant direct mail creative. It’ll look weird at first what with fonts and layouts making everything easy to read and the copy in a perfect one-to-one personal mode.
You’ll get special updates on all the good your money is doing. You’ll see the kids you’re helping. You’ll be asked for more money but you will also feel like a valued and important member of a wonderful group. It will never occur to you that you’re being CRMed.
And, you’ll give money again.