Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CRM Wins with Marketing and Public Relations

One benefit of bringing a public relations background into marketing management (like I am) is that you're unlikely to either a) drive too hard for an immediate sale that misses opportunities for long-term brand loyalty, or b) linger on facilitating good relationships that never quite influence the behavior of your audience in the intended fashion. Of course, it is ideal for both sides to work together; culture wars between marketing and PR can lead to low morale or uncertain goals as I have learned in the past, to my chagrin. One great way I've found for both sides to work together is through relationship marketing and the adoption of a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

Such a tool can help marketers identify and segment potential customers for campaigns with strict, shorter-term sales quotas, while public relations has the ability to develop data for more challenging audiences that require more strategic engagement, loyalty-building touch points and activities that share value and increase the attractiveness of your service offerings.

At Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman, we began collecting and segmenting business prospects into ACT by Sage, a fairly well-known CRM tool. It's taken a mental leap on my part to get past thinking of data entry as only a mindless administrative task and the process has been assisted by two items. First, from a process point of view, our marketing team commits only a limited period of time to data entry so there is never the sense that we are neglecting more strategic duties (and in fact, developing the knowledge about business prospects that can result from research and data entry has become aligned with such duties). Secondly, though, we are already seeing immediate results on new engagement opportunities with nonprofits and government contractors we otherwise would not have had otherwise.

CRM was the topic of a recent post by Tina Lewandowski on the Association of Accounting Marketing's LinkedIn group page. She asked for recommendations of various CRM tools and among those mentioned (and praised) were Microsoft Dynamic's CRM, Interaction and ContactEase.

As greater numbers of business operations move toward the realm of cloud computing, there is a similar shift as well from license-based CRM tools such as ACT toward software as a service, which allows for easier user access and more affordable services; software services are delivered over the Internet, often using a pay-as-you-go model. is developing a good reputation in some circles.

No matter which tool you utilize however, CRM can satisfy both the shorter-term goals of sales and marketing campaigns while also allowing public relations teams to identify and reach out to higher-value prospects who cannot be engaged so quickly or easily. It can keep marketing and PR working together in a friendly way as they pursue their distinct goals while keeping helpful information about your desired customers or stakeholders always in front of you.

Image: healingdream /

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