Both CRM and Customer Engagement promise increases in loyalty and customer profitability based on the delivery of continuous value to customers. CRM saw the first step away from one-way, mass marketing to two-way dialogues and with it came new technologies to facilitate these relationships. But in most cases it was the company that drove the conversations and not the customer. However, with the advent of Web 2.0 and social media applications, the power of the consumer to drive these conversations has grown significantly.

This growth in consumer power, coupled with advances in data processing technologies is leading to strategic shifts; a move from relationship plans with customers to engagement plans. This marks the next fundamental shift; we have gone from mass to two-way relationships to two-way engagement.

The greatest step change marketers must consider is how to allow customers to proactively engage with their brand and whether they are able to react to them. Brands need to use Web 2.0 technologies and new processes to manage a true two-way communication. But how will this affect data strategy, management, analytics and campaign planning?

The use of existing database, analytics and campaign management tools in this new era is still central to a marketing plan. Marketers can continue to exploit existing transactional and personal data to drive the engagement plan but should also take advantage of digital data and automation techniques. To embark on this process, consider our 7 steps for driving customer engagement:

  1. Ensure that relevant data capture management is efficient and captured at as many points as possible; including data that isn’t at a personal level
  2. With added insights and data, look to more advanced campaign management techniques such as trigger and wave campaigns to automate the delivery of many communications
  3. Ensure you have the right tools, people and processes to exploit this growth in data and contact points with your customers
  4. Look at new forms of data that can be added to traditional transactional databases such as email and aggregated web behavioural data
  5. Enhance analytical insights off the customer database using new data to improve customer engagement
  6. Work with web and social media analytics to create a lifecycle or customer engagement dashboard as a step to integrating the different analytical disciplines and move to an integrated analytics approach

If you start to work along these lines then you are ensuring that fundamental CRM practices are embedded, putting you one step closer to a successful Customer Engagement strategy