The current global market is characterized by intensive competition and strict profit margins. The one and the only way for any organization to sustain itself in the market is to maximize customer satisfaction through better customer service. Any organization requires support from the customers to be successful in the market. Most companies concentrate on product quality, but the factor that differentiates a world class company from an ordinary company is the additional customer service provided by it.
The number of customers represents the strength of the business. So, an organization should give more concentration to customer satisfaction through which customer loyalty is gained. Customer loyalty is gained when the customers feel that they are given more attention and the organization is giving more value to them. For creating customer loyalty, the organization should realize the taste and preferences of the customers and must be able to meet their requirements.
By maintaining a harmonious relationship with the customers, the organization will be able to know what the customers need and what type of products they need. This problem can be eliminated by developing an electronic customer relationship management system. The information regarding the customers is generated from the telephone directories or public directories. Managing customer relationships is a complex task. In the current scenario, most organizations give more value to customer relationship management because one cannot imagine a business without customers.
It is a systematic process of improving the overall profitability of the organization by maintaining a powerful relationship with the customers through online marketing. The implementation of e-CRM helps in reducing the cognitive dissonance arising in the minds of the consumers. “An eye-level look at e-CRM that leaves out the hype and exposes the difficulties. On-the-nose perspectives and first-hand accounts provide education, so you won’t have to take it on the chin when managing your customer-centric projects.” – Jim Sterne, Target Marketing of Santa Barbara.” (e-CRM: Customer management strategies for e-business, 2006, para.1).
So, to generate more customers, the organization should give more emphasis to developing customer relationship strategies. E-CRM or Electronic Customer Relationship Management simply means managing the relationships with the customers by using the internet as a medium. Customer Relationship Management or CRM involves developing several strategies and the latest technologies that are useful for building a strong relationship with the customers. The CRM system will record all the information which are very much related to the customers and that information are analysed well and are considered while identifying the customers’ taste and preferences.
When coming to Enterprise Marketing Automation, it is one of the aspects which are included in electronic customer relationship management. Enterprise marketing automation is mainly used for marketing a product through the internet. It is an internet market campaigning done for a product. This concept is included in customer relationship management. It provides all sorts of information that reflect the growth of the organization and the success of a product.
The information includes the current trends in the industry, a new product in the market, and also includes information about the competitors. “EMA is a CRM module (or Independent software) that helps a business plan and run marketing campaigns. It helps a business by maintaining, managing, and filtering prospective customers and provides a targeted shortlist to run a campaign.” (Enterprise marketing automation (EMA), 2009, para.1).
In older days, the customers were not treated properly. But in the current scenario, the customers are the king of the market. In the 1970s and 1980s, the concept of customer relationship management was only for namesake. Organizations did not give much importance to the concept of customer relationship management. In those days, customer relationship meant just answering some questions of the customers and making them hold the call for one hour or more when they make any queries. In the mid-1990’s the concept of e-CRM emerged as a result of increased use of the internet by customers and enterprise people.
In the 1990s two new concepts emerged, namely, deregulation and the internet. The increased use of the internet, intranet and extranet made the customers more aware of the quality of customer service. E-CRM can also be referred to as e-services as it involves all transactions online. Enterprise marketing automation helps the sales force to reach the right customers at the right place and at the right time. Before the emergence of the internet, the customers were ignored. As years passed the level of competition in the market increased; this made most of the organizations concentrate more on customer satisfaction.
The companies started to realize that to sustain in the market they have to maintain a powerful relationship with the customers. Enterprise marketing automation as a component within CRM plays a significant role in retaining the existing customers and attracting new customers and maintaining customer loyalty. The emergence of e-CRM paved the way for organizations to understand the value of retaining customers. Most of the companies started practising this concept. It was found that the degree of customer satisfaction and the number of loyal customers has increased to a higher extent.
The success of CRM depends upon the performance of the sales force in the organization. The customers include both enterprise customers and individual customers. The pieces of customer relationship management consist of support from the customers, field support and marketing automation. “CRM is a business strategy designed to optimize profitability, revenue, and customer satisfaction” – Gartner Group.” (Khera, n.d., p.2).
The implementation of e-CRM may not be effective for every. By understanding the cost and the contribution made by each channel to the customer should be considered otherwise it will lead to critical problems.
“Now that there exists the automated ability to make transactions over the Internet, companies don’t need as wide a net to identify potential customers, qualify them and pull them through the sales campaign to point of closure,” says Christopher Fletcher, an analyst for Aberdeen Group and author of a recent marketing automation viewpoint report. (Schwartz, 1999, para.2).
The concept includes not only customer service but is a useful tool for understanding the taste and preferences of the customers. Enterprise marketing automation is specific software that is developed by some companies which are useful for marketing their product among the customers. This software is highly expensive and it may not be affordable for some companies. So, before selecting the type of software, the company’s financial capacity to buy the particular product should also be considered. There is a mantra “customers are the Kings and Queens of the market”. The organization should identify the prospective customers because the customers are having many choices and it is the responsibility of the organization to identify the tastes and preferences of the customers and provide what the customers need.
To understand the taste and preferences of the customers, the organization should maintain a powerful relationship with the customers. For maintaining such a relationship, the organizations require some software solutions through which customer relationships can be maintained. The importance of enterprise marketing automation is increasing. In the present scenario, the customers prefer quality service in addition to the product offered to them. The way the sales force deal with the customers plays a significant role in marketing the product. By sitting in our home itself we can purchase products. This falls in the category of enterprise marketing automation.
This system helps the marketing process to reduce its complexity. The important driving force behind the increase in demand for e-CRM is the pressure in a competition that is prevailing in the current market to increase the volume of business. To improve the efficiency of e-CRM concerning enterprise marketing automation, we have to identify the driving forces behind the concept and also, we have to analyse all sorts of efforts taken by the competitors to retain loyal customers and attract new customers. Organizations can increase their revenue by introducing up-selling and cross-selling processes. Committed and loyal customers are considered as valuable assets of an organization.
An effective CRM helps in gaining the attention of international consumers and it also helps in increasing the number of loyal customers which ultimately results in increased profitability of the concern. It also helps in gaining stakeholders’ information and also records of all data regarding the purchases done by the customers online. In earlier days, organizations gave primary importance to the production and distribution of products alone, but now as the market became more competitive and the customers became more conscious about the quality of the service and products, the organization’s primary focus is to provide quality service and products to the customers, as it is the only way to retain the customers in the current competitive scenario. Retaining the existing customers is less expensive than attracting new customers.
For the firms that are engaged in online trading, it is difficult to gain true and loyal customers because the business and competition are on a click. The important benefits of enterprise marketing automation are improved efficiency, improved supply chain management system, better customer relationship, increasing loyal customers, a better solution for customer queries, increasing international consumers, better maintenance of customer data, better understanding of the customer tastes and preferences etc. To improve efficiency, a proper and adequate training programme should be provided to those employees who are directly or indirectly engaged in the marketing of products and services through online or internet marketing.
The organization should also develop trust in the minds of the consumers, that is, the data regarding their purchases are kept confidential. Customer complaints should be given quick response. Based on all these criteria, the customer evaluates the standard and quality of the customer service provided by the organization. An efficient enterprise marketing automation system will enable the sales force to cover a larger geographical area online. Therefore, before introducing enterprise marketing automation, all the above-mentioned factors should be taken into consideration.
Aims and Objectives
As one of the components of CRM, enterprise marketing automation (EMA) aims at increasing the efficiency of a marketing campaign. A business enterprise consists of several components including analyzing customer and market, planning, production, testing feasibility of the product, estimating costs and prices, sales, marketing etc. A well-balanced and timely approach needs to be incorporated to effectively bring out the best from each of the entities concerned, to make a business profitable.
Conventional methods of executing actions manually are now considered time-consuming, economically unviable and error prone. With the advancement of technology and the internet, business functioning has reached widened perspectives. The Post-globalization era sees varied benefits from a business, economically and otherwise. CRM (customer relationship management) are the methods by which companies communicate and interact with their customers. It involves attracting new and potential customers and also building stronger bonds with existing ones. E-CRM in the form of interaction with customers with the help of Information technology (IT).
E-CRM enhances customer relationships by providing more customized and positive experiences than just transactions. E-CRM software enables companies to identify potential customers and initiate communication by way of internet marketing techniques. Enterprise marketing automation enables businesses to identify the optimum marketing and sales methods, thus taking full advantage of their marketing investments. Related software suites aid companies to identify which marketing strategies are worthwhile and which are not, thereby focusing on increasing revenue while saving time and cost.
The research further aims at considering how enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM can be monitored, controlled and improved in case of necessity. This research paper will prove useful in providing research directions for further work in the area of enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM.
Hence, to assemble and pacify the research objectives and aims, an outline in the form of questions to be answered are framed. This will help in providing an insight into the specific and resourceful work that needs to be done throughout the research marketing.
- CRM software suites are installed to deploy CRM activities. But this is most efficient when implemented along with other information systems. What is the current rate of efficiency of the enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM policies? (measured following the prior developed scale)
- How can the efficiency of enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM policies be monitored and controlled?
- How can the efficiency of enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM policies be improved in case of necessity?
Objectives of the proposed research include:
- Answering the research questions
- Analyzing information retrieved in the course of research
- Making respective conclusions and recommendations on handling enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM.
A closer look into the framed and defined questions underlies exemplary research into the topics of Enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM.
What is the current rate of efficiency of the enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM policies? (Measured under the prior developed scale)
Enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM find scope and application in today’s world, largely attributed to the importance and popularity of the internet and IT enabled technologies in the wake of the post-globalization era. Companies are keen to identify and scrutinize customer problems, most specifically and accurately and suggest solutions in the most well-balanced and timely manner.
The internet has emerged as a bi-directional channel for sales and marketing, serves the purpose of replacing mass marketing campaigns with multi-channel, targeted and more efficient campaigns that lead to one-to-one and real-time customer relationship management and used by the company, such as Salesforce automation (SFA) or TPA (transaction processing system), which processes real-time information.
An effective and favourable model that can be devised by companies is one with CRM and database marketing automation integrating with lead management, sales force automation, customer support, field service and order management, in an optimum nature, extent and pace.
Using the internet for e-CRM helps automate the process of interactive online dealings with clients, thereby freeing time from customary methods of face-to-face discussions and phone calls. “EMA vendors are stratifying into three major areas: high-end campaign management, Web-driven campaign execution and marketing-oriented analytical applications.” (Schwartz, 1999, EMA stratification, para.1).
How can the efficiency of enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM policies be monitored and controlled?
First, we have to identify the need for enterprise marketing automation in the organization and after that proper examination of the process that must be carefully assessed must be taken into consideration.
Software suites selected must be feasible based on criteria such as:
- Ability to address specific objectives like increasing customer response timings, reducing operational costs.
- Ability to focus on current requirements and also future needs.
- Capacity to handle various parameters such as a total number of leads, customers and prospects.
- Comfort to handle varied activities such as storing, analyzing, manipulating and segmentation of data
- Compatibility with other operating information systems.
Enterprise marketing automation software can be deployed in the following ways:
- On-premises solution: this model requires high investment and also hardware and software implementations. In this strategy, all data are handled by the company itself.
- SaaS – Software as a Service: here software and data are maintained by the vendor. It requires a lower initial investment than an on-premise solution.
- Mid-source: this is a model in which the organization usually maintains data that is related to the customers and the prospect and this data is used by the organization for the outsourcing process. Heavy-duty analysis and campaign management engines need to be seized for specific, execution-driven actions to sort and target from an infinite database of potential and present customers.
Campaign management software for tracking campaigns through data analysis provides the background analysis for identifying new prospects, qualifying them and indulging them in the marketing campaign.
Mere implementation of a software suite is not sufficient enough; a thorough understanding and regular maintenance of the system is a must. Employees and personnel having to indulge in the process need to be equipped with the latest skills and techniques regarding the working and sustenance of the software.
“There is increased popularity of data marts with core business logic, but for EMA-style analytics to succeed, you need core functionality to measure all major aspects of sales and marketing [e.g., customer profitability, customer churn], as well as provide interfaces to key customer relationship management [Clarify, Siebel, Vantive, Silknet, Trilogy] and enterprise resource planning [Baan/ Aurum, SAP, Oracle] vendors.” (Schwartz, 1999, EMA stratification, para.2).
How can the efficiency of enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM policies be improved in case of necessity?
The efficiency of enterprise marketing automation can be improved by providing information to those audiences who require it. The information should be provided through appropriate channels. This results in increasing the conversion of more leads to prospects, thereby increasing sales and profitability of the overall business process. E-CRM enables corporations to craft detailed customer profiles from the information retrieved whenever the customer visits the website, orders for a product or service, downloads material, and sends email; even analyzing the topic of mails sent.
This customer profile and trend information can be cross-referenced and can prove useful for other purposes such as lead generation, post-purchase feedbacks and follow-ups and for devising preference lists and customized marketing techniques. Though implementation of e-CRM and Enterprise marketing automation suites demands considerable investment and detailed attention by the IT staff, the systems are indispensable to confer the current market demand with customized efforts. Loyal customers can be gained through effective target marketing and these loyal customers will help the organization in increasing its profitability.
Hence, by narrowing down the perspective of Enterprise marketing automation towards building up an effective and real-time one-to-one marketing model, efficiency can be increased. This accounts for different techniques such as precision marketing. Geo-targeting and geo-marketing are viable methods to locate the geographical position of the intended website visitor and deliver different contents to customers differently.
Many major entities have chosen to adopt the above-mentioned concepts in this modern era of technological advancement and cut-throat competition. Many people have faced difficulties in their relationships; such people are finding their way to create a new relationship through a virtual world which is considered to be the most completive. The reason is that as new relations are made it is also possible to create new customers for the organization. Many popular organizations such as IBM, Intel and Motorola have also created communities in the virtual world to use it as a second way of advertising. It serves as an online venue for the company to conduct discussions, meetings and share ideas between their customers and prospective customers.
Second life says, “Hold meetings or train employees from across the world. Create 3D prototypes of products to show your clients. Host company events and network with millions of people. Increase productivity, creativity and innovation while doing business in a cost-effective, carbon-friendly environment.” (Video and short films, 2009, Is your website doing enough, para.1).
Issue-specific architecture and marketing automation suites will integrate with business performance management. In the wake of corporations evolving over conservative paperwork for accounting and management, the need of the hour is implementation and execution of EMA (enterprise marketing automation) software suites, which, with the help of IT and the internet aims at setting up a fast-paced market, and convenient transactions with fool-proof policies and standards. By integrating information across the enterprise, customer relationship management business drivers aim at increasing customer acquisition, retention, loyalty and henceforth profit. Moreover, having had to empower staff with customer intelligence considering the use of IT technologies, CRM provides real-time pipeline and forecasting, helping to build on sustainable and economically beneficial relationships.
However, effective internal controls need to be in place to prevent customer information from being scattered across futile databases and servers. Besides, architectural security issues may also tend to come up. Nevertheless, simply installing a CRM system like Enterprise marketing automation is only the beginning. Successful implementation and execution are possible only with a carefully defined, organization wide CRM strategy.
This research thus proposes to identify the scope and application of Enterprise marketing automation and e-CRM and formulate potential ways of increasing their business efficiency.
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