A Crane DS client recently asked what they should consider before implementing our CRM solution, and what processes and steps they should take in order to develop an effective and forward-looking cultural marketing strategy that takes advantage of and builds on the benefits and opportunities provided by the Culture Crane solution.
I thought our response would be of interest to many others for strategic planning – whether you already have a CRM solution or are considering the benefits of implementing one in the future. I intentionally do not consider “no CRM solution” as an option as I believe that an institution-specific CRM system is now as much a part of the basic tools required for cultural marketing as a presence on social media platforms.
Fundamentals of (cultural) CRM strategy:
1. The foundation of any solution is the data strategy
If I’m not aware of where and what data I can request or collect about my current and potential audiences during their activity and how to map and join up this data, I have nothing to build on. First, all possible customer data sources should be mapped (including offline!) and registration of information and data collection should be highly recommended where possible.
In the case of those already registered, I need to be able to track their individual activity on the website so that the activity can be linked to a specific person. Furthermore, the possibility of continuous database enrichment should be kept in focus – by continuous channelling of questionnaires, feedback and evaluations to constantly gather more information.
2. The next step is analysis and understanding
The data stored in the CRM system provides exciting opportunities for business analysis – how my customers are behaving, what trends are unfolding or whether the current forecasted results are changing compared to previous ones – pre-emptive actions and responses can then be put in pace to address these changes, protecting the business and keeping results on track.
It is of utmost importance to define the target customer group segments and their characteristics along with the various indicators important to your organisation (e.g. volume / value / frequency of ticket purchases, activity, loyalty, etc.).
Never before has a marketing professional been able to get such an accurate real-time picture of the results and effectiveness of marketing activities and campaigns. It’s no longer about ordering the poster campaign and sitting back and hoping your target audience have seen it… analysing real data and acting on the information that analysis provides is what works now and into the future.
In a pandemic situation, it is crucial to identify, prioritize and manage the key contacts (companies or individuals) that are important to the institution – supporters, opinion leaders or, for example, high profile customers.
3. Once I know my audience, their relevance is my next priority
I can target and connect to the specific audience and its unique characteristics with my brand and products using what I’ve learnt about them during the analysis phase – to check how well they fit and, if necessary, modify or fine-tune my customer strategy.
I can now use my customer information to make my activities, communication, and promotions truly compelling to my target audience, to create a meaningful engagement with them. This leads to the next step in the process, to build on my customer engagement.
4. Loyalty, involvement and community building
If I went through the previous steps comprehensively, the next logical question which may come up is: How can I build and nurture a relationship in the long term by leading the audience in their desired direction with all my activities? The emotional attachment built by relevance (they know me, understand me, pay attention to me, they are kind to me, etc.) allows them to become advocates of the brand and its products (recommending to friends, actively communicate and spread the word organically – e.g. social media sharing, etc.) and they feel personally responsible for the brand and its products (lovebrand – volunteering, support).
5. Finally – ‘Just’
And once all this is done, you “just” have to start all over again and check if there is any change, and if any solution optimization is needed. In recent times, this review is needed more often because frequent or unexpected change like we have experienced with the pandemic requires business flexibility and proactive real-time responsiveness. These new technology capabilities also bring exciting new opportunities to engage with the most important people – our audience.