Blog: How to make CRM work locally in a global program?
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) refers to a systematic strategy to keep a company’s external communications highly consistent, no matter with existing customers, clients and sales leads. As marketing concerns, it helps companies identify potential consumers, track and measure communications on multiple information channels, for example email, search, social media, telephone, direct mail, and etc. With today’s technology, CRM is only a few clicks away. However, efficiency and effectiveness are never easy. Although the CRM system helps companies in all sizes streamline communications, effective local tactics could never be learnt by book.
“There is no one-for-all solution.” John Mattews, CEO of Comscient Group, speaks from his own experience. He has helped a number of large and middle-size companies with marketing strategy, CRM implementation, and data mining in both Europe and the USA. With 24 years of experience in CRM, John shares his insights and stories of CRM localization for international programs.
One of frequently asked questions about CRM is how to collect data locally. First of all, the data collection method needs to comply with local regulation and laws. In last few years, many countries have established regulations to protect consumer privacy against sophisticated yet persistent marketers. For example, companies in Europe are required to have a double opt-in mechanism and the customer confirmation before getting in contact with them directly.
Although the regulations seem loose in the USA, a number of states tightened in-state laws besides the national CAN-SPAM Act. The industry self-regulations should not be overlooked either. Besides legal supervision, data accessibility also varies by culture. In some cultures, consumers do not feel comfortable with leaving personal information, while others are less skeptical. Marketers need to be sensitive to the local challenges.
When it comes to the contact point with consumers, it is helpful to understand their deep-rooted and enduring communication habits, such as preferred media type and devices by market. “As a global marketer, you will have different digital media tactics. Not every culture uses digital media in the same way.” John comments. For instance, a hard-copy flyer gains more attention by British who tend to be more conservative, while the North American consumers will prefer the efficiency of emails.
CRM has dramatically changed media planning and buying practices. CRM enables precision marketing with abundant data available. The digital marketing adopts first, followed by traditional media. CRM will also scale up and speed up the media business. With new platforms, for example, the ad-exchange, media campaigns are developed, tracked, and optimized nearly in real time with more complications.
The culture and even sub-culture further segment the market on the country level and the city level. “The basic rule still applies, your communications need to be in language and be as authentically local as possible.” John says.
“I advise young professionals to get exposed to the global context as early as possible.” John suggests. The full cultural immersion is always the best and the fastest way. John has become a frequent international traveller decades ago when he gained much cultural flexibility. His multi-national business has been growing steadily over years. When asked about his key to success, he says, “If you are passionate enough, you will never feel too overwhelmed by daily tasks and are naturally motivated to keep up with the trends.”
“Global to local is always an art of balancing. Keep the consistent in mind, while execute with cultural sensitivity and local flexibility, you will be on track.” John concludes.