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Is Email Marketing CRM?

So many customers come to equate email with CRM. It makes sense as Email is synonomous with the Internet for most business people. Email was the killer Web Based App for the Enterprise that first gained world wide adoption and is now ubiquitous around the globe. Email marketing however has had some rocky roads on its way to dominate the world of Marketing. The fact that it was ubiquitous and so easy to use, it attracted the darker side of Technology like spammers, but also a less talked about but much more dangerous issue for most businesses – the useless mass email campaign.

You know, the mass emails that have no real point or value, just to ‘reach out and say hi’ that clog your inbox nowadays to the point that it takes more time to sift through it each and every day. Well on the other end of that email campaign is a business that is thinking they are doing a really great thing by blasting out these emails without the slightest understanding of what their customers are currently wanting to hear. Email marketing is many times confused with CRM. Since Cloud CRM is the hottest thing on the web for businesses to grow their sales, many email marketing companies have rebranded themselves as CRM companies. Now, this is technically not false advertising as email campaigns have a tremendous role to play in any successful Customer management strategy, but they are far from having a good Customer strategy. In fact, in many businesses it is the reverse, Email marketing can actually hurt the brand and reduce growth.

In the age of Social Media, it has never been easier or more damaging to companies who have their brand hurt by a poorly executedEmail Marketing Campaign. Just recently, since Social Media Sites have reached the tipping point where they are even more ubiquitous than Email, the reprocussions can be even more pronounced as your customers are already voicing their opinions on sites such as blogs, facebook and twitter, and your brand may be next. Not many things can irk a customer like an email they determine to be spam or misleading in any way. Remember, they can take to the airways and view their opinions at will, and they influence a group of people, and if a member of that group ‘likes’ it or reposts it or retweet it, then they each influence their groups, and can spread like a virus.

A well executed Customer Relationship Management strategy involves using Social Media as a very important mode of communicating with the customer, and learning about what the customers want, and along with learning what works and what doesn’t from a good CRM tool, and have an integrated email marketing program that compliments this by sending out only timely and relevant emails, as dictated by what the CRM metrics and the market is telling you works. The CRM records all the conversations between your employees, whether that conversation took place over the telephone, Email, Social Media site, etc. Your CRM system is the hub from which every conversation is recorded, so that you can look back at how many Oppurtunities were Won vs those lost, and gives you the tools and analytics to try and understand why.

Email Marketing is a valuable way of getting your message out there, but most business really should spend more time listening to what the customer is saying and sending out emails that are both timely and relevant to the conversation at hand. Good CRM practice is to use Email marketing as another customer touchpoint and nothing more. You wouldn’t just call up a customer without anything to say, why would you do this en masse via an Email blast?

The conversation is going on every day, whether you choose to participate or not. Good CRM and Social CRM strategies allow your business to participate in a relevant manner, and at the time the customer is looking for your help. If you continue to listen and engage, your business will continue to grow and be relevant to the market, regardless of the medium.

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