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CRM in Programmatic: Part One

The first article in a series aimed at helping marketers put their first-party customer data to use in digital display advertising

Good marketing is about dialogue. To know what customers desire, companies must listen and understand each individual, by reading every action and reaction as a new phrase in an ongoing conversation. How can they understand those actions? Data. What someone buys on an advertiser’s website, their average basket size, how recently they last purchased when was the last time they purchased — all of these (and more) are data assets crucial to understanding your customers. The objective in doing this? To delight customers and thereby to increase their loyalty. 

CRM is this process through which companies use their data to adapt to their customers. It’s useful to keep in mind that customers don’t necessarily abandon companies because of price or products: they often do so because of service, as shown in the below graph.


Taken from SuperOffice.

And CRM is first-party data. It’s yours. It’s about your customers. That makes all the difference.

We don’t just mean online data: one of the beauties of CRM is the possibility to merge the offline with the online. Your customer bought a Nintendo Switch at your store (I wish!)? Then advertise him the new Zelda game. It’s a possibility that can’t be underestimated.

Leveraging CRM data to improve marketing interactions is one way you can put customers at the center of your business. You probably spend money on personalizing your online and in-store experiences, so why not take that same approach to also improve your advertising. If you know a user is really into the latest post-rock albums, then why not give him an ad for the latest Mogwai LP? This personalized offering is an example of a customer experience which keeps them delighted with your brand.

These days, customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition, and CRM is a necessary tool for it.

Build Bridges, Not Walls

Siloed data is considered a barrier to the development of a healthy CRM program, mostly owing to the fact that CRM was originally a product of the offline world. While new digital and social channels have been added when necessary (often leading to the creation of fragmented datasets), in many organizations it happens no single department owns the full view of the customer. However, we’re now seeing chief marketing officers (CMOs)  and chief information officers (CIOs) working more closely with sales and IT to remove any existing silos.

Depending on how you look at it, CRM can be practiced in companies at different levels — ideally on an organizational level. However, it can also function at a customer-facing level, to include anything that has to do with interactions with customers, marketing, sales and service. Apart from that, it can even be practiced at a very functional level, such as in a call center.

CRM works best when used across the entire organization, as the following graph, taken from SuperOffice, shows:

CRM and Programmatic: The Ideal Marriage

It’s undeniable that marketing and technology are intrinsically linked today. Programmatic can automate a lot of the ad buying process, based on how advertisers define their marketing goals. However, the data which enables the programmatic ad buying process might only scratch the surface of customers’ habits and behaviors— something that CRM can easily change. By marrying CRM with programmatic, advertisers are able to go more granular than vanilla retargeting. If this automated process feeds on the advertiser’s own CRM data, the ideal customer can be reached with personalized ads, in an efficient and precise manner.

When advertisers leverage their CRM data for programmatic technologies, they are able to reach specific customers with ads relevant to their very specific needs. For example, reaching a customer who had booked a last-minute redeye flight from London to New York, several times, is likely a regular business flyer. As such, she falls within a specific segment of an airline’s regular set of customers, and she would benefit from a specific type of marketing message from said airline, or any of its partners. Meanwhile, another regular customer with different booking habits — searching and purchasing flights for two, well ahead of the travel date — would receive different marketing messages, relevant for personal holiday planners.

With CRM, unlike third-party data, you always know exactly where the data is coming from. With first-party, it’s immediately more trustworthy.

On the next article, we’ll focus on explaining the role CRM plays in cross-channel marketing, how does it allow for more segmentation and personalization, and how can CRM-driven marketing be applied to different verticals?

Want to know more? Head over to the Econsultancy report, The Role of CRM in Data-Driven Advertising.