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Experience Through the Eyes of CRM

Customer experience and customer relationship management (CRM) go hand in hand. It’s fair to say that CRM is all about delivering the ”best” experiences possible to any given customer at any given moment. To do this, CRM strategists must see the customer experience (CX) through not just one, but three different, (yet connected) sets of eyes: the eyes of a Librarian, the eyes of a Radar Operator, and the eyes of a Conductor.

The Librarian

Consider the Librarian profile as analogous with the ultimate repository of knowledge, much like that one friend who knows every stat about every player in Major League Baseball.  As a CRM practitioner, it is essential to know and understand every possible detail that can be assembled about each customer, or prospect, who has interacted with your brand. This requires a system that can act as central repository for all customer information which provides a unified view of the customer and acts as the single source of truth for customer data.


  • CRM stands in the nexus of orchestration and activation for Customer Experience Optimization


Note: there’s a big difference between a librarian, and a compulsive hoarder. In order to be effective, data must be clean and in good order. Also, the syntax for the values in customer records must be consistent and intuitive. Is the data in your library old and dusty? Are there books with a lot of pages torn out? Outstanding customer experiences will be much harder to come by if your customer library is an unruly, jumbled mess. Astute CRM librarians are meticulous about maintaining good data hygiene, data recency, and monitoring a record field’s completeness metrics. 

The Radar Operator

Once CRM can evaluate the customers’ experience clearly in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to see exactly where each customer is in real time. This means understanding not just who they are, relative to other customers and audience segments, but also where they stand on the path leading down the sales funnel.

In order to influence customer perception, digital analytics from the full spectrum of the technical ecosystem must be collected, analyzed, and processed to paint a clear multi-dimensional picture of the customer.  This includes geographic, demographic, and psychographic dimensions, coupled with the most recent snapshot in time. There are literally thousands of potential facets of information to understand about someone. For example, Merkle’s people-based marketing platform, M1 has compiled in excess of 10,000 different parameters to describe a given individual, based on a population in excess of 200 million user records. The degree to which a business manager can paint a more detailed, granular picture of its customer will correspondingly yield the most accurate targeting and precision messaging.


Merkle’s M1 Platform has compiled in excess of 10,000 different parameters to describe a given individual

Advanced analytic methods like predictive modeling can, with the right amount of data, enable CRM practitioners to forecast which of their customers and prospects are the most likely to be in a buying mode, which customers need additional information and education, and which customers may need a softer touch or suppression from active campaigns due to fatigue from over exposure

The Conductor

The Conductor is the classic image of a leader standing in front of an orchestra with a baton in hand. How do all of the disparate, moving parts in a company’s portfolio of marketing tools work together to deliver outstanding customer experiences? For this to occur, there must be a single point of decision making at the center of all marketing and ad operations. If the Librarian is the “Past”, and the Radar is the “Present”, then the Conductor role is the marketer who is concerned about the future. The Conductor views the customer experience through the eyes of the possible, the probable, and the imperative next-best-action. In this role, CRM systems serve to inform CX activation strategy and tactics, by leveraging well-structured data repositories and trustworthy insights and analytics.

Great customer experiences don’t happen by accident, nor by magic. It takes dedicated, consistent effort to stand up and run Test and Learn programs that inform personalization strategies for each brand’s audience segments across each channel. Likewise, it is a non-trivial effort to optimize data pathways and system interoperability to ensure there are no silos or unnecessary lag in data exchange between each part of the martech stack.

Don’t be that company that serves remarketing ads to cookied devices attached to real people who just bought the product they viewed in your digital content. With the dawn of a cookie-less marketing landscape, identity graphs and Publisher Addressable Marketplaces (PAMs) are options great Conductors are paying attention to. By seeing the customer experience through the eyes of each of these key roles, CRM managers will ensure their brand stands head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd.