I work for an agency that’s made some sort of name for itself in eCRM. That’s Electronic Customer Relationship Marketing. It’s not CRM, which is Customer Relationship Management if you’re into sales management software, or …Marketing if you’re a DM agency. If you’re a DM agency (that’s Direct Marketing), thanks for all the principles, but your industry’s buggered.
Why? Because the principles of segmentation, so beautifully applied to awesome effect in eCRM, which now generates millions through digital channels, are starting to reach social. And social media is about engagement in real time. Which is what the digital agency world has been practising for its entire history – I started an interactive agency in 1994, which makes me positively historical. Without digital provenance, when Social channels (gaggle shopping, live feedback and peer advice) meet eCRM and forms SCRM (yes I know), the DM world that gave us so much in discipline finds itself detached from usefulness.
Which is a shame. There are some amazing people and minds working in the industry. And while brands continue to send out three million mailing packs, it will survive. But slowly, those mailing packs that cost £1 each are being replaced by digital nudges, creating continuous contact even with the thinnest segments in the long tail. One day mail will be used for that special something. And SCRM and eCRM will have truly blossomed.