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Chapter 3. The CRM Landscape: Why Now? > Marketing Department Changes

Marketing Department Changes

In many companies, the role of marketing has changed in recent years from providing market research and sales support to developing strategies that can change the course of a company's future. This new role has repositioned the marketing function within the corporation and produced a growing demand for customer information that supports strategic decision-making.

When marketing was about mass-marketing consumer goods to the waiting public, research and customer behavior studies determined what the customer wanted, at what price, and within what parameters of time and place. Marketing provided this research and sales support through largely manual processes, and their share of the IT dollar was relatively small. Marketing requests that computer jobs be run to extract a list of customers for direct mail approaches were generally delivered last at the end of the month. And, for direct mail purposes, the delivery of such information was considered timely and sufficient.

But as the mass market has given way to the niche market, the role of marketing has shifted from developing products for mass markets to mass customization of products based on customer demand. Marketing requirements for more customer information, information that would allow relationship selling and customer profiling, have driven the development of CRM systems, with information requirements that have changed dramatically.

The new role of marketing has introduced two new requirements at polar opposites:

  • Summarized homogenized data from diverse application sources that supports strategic decision-making.

  • Detailed customer behavior, demographic, and buying history that supports relationship selling and one-to-one marketing.

Together, these widely divergent requirements set the stage for the evolution of CRM systems, from single-department, isolated systems to the integrated 360-degree view of customers required today.

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