The New CRM – Consumer Relationship Management

In 1999, an innovative cloud computing company called SalesForce entered the market with a mission to change the way sales teams store and organize their complex relationships with customers. And with their rapid rise to success it’s shocking that companies today aren’t demanding the same treatment for their consumer data. In 2015, the world is fully bought into the idea that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is not only useful…it’s critical. Want to see every conversation you’ve ever had with a customer? How about what stage of your sales funnel they are currently in? All of that information, and more, can be easily found within an application like SalesForce. But what about our consumer data? Isn’t it time the “C” in CRM stood not just for customer…but also consumer?

Companies today generate thousands of data points a year on consumers to better understand their behaviors, purchase habits, and motivations. Although certainly not the only source for consumer understanding, traditional market research provides the bulk of the data that most companies capture to better understand their consumer. Today, companies invest roughly $40 billion a year into market research. Inside any given company, this research is often conducted and delivered by a very fragmented market of research suppliers. So many, in fact, it’s likely to make your head spin.

For example, let’s pretend we have a medium-sized CPG company investing roughly $3 million a year in research. In any given year, it’s likely they’d capture consumer preferences on a concept test via Nielsen, conduct copy testing through Millward Brown, learn about digital habits through a TNS survey, conduct qualitative research through Ipsos, and deal with a handful of one-off quick studies through tools like Google, Survata, Survey Monkey, and Instantly. Yikes, that’s complex. Now add on the fact that all of these suppliers utilize a unique dashboard or delivery tool and have inconsistent data formats when presenting their findings and it’s easy to see why companies are absolutely lost when trying to find and analyze their consumer data (and this is just for market research…throw in social data, sales, and web analytics and things become an even bigger mess).

Here’s a quick exercise to illustrate my point. Go ask any marketing or insights manager inside your organization what percentage of consumers using your main competitor are aware of your product. At the very least it will take them a few hours, if not the entire day, to track down the answer. Shouldn’t that be unacceptable in today’s world? Shouldn’t we start to manage and store our consumer data in a way that makes it as simple to find, analyze, and visualize as SalesForce makes our customer data?

The tools and thinking needed to tackle this problem exist today. Yet, technology companies continue to focus on developing new ways of conducting research vs. methods for managing and recycling it. At KnowledgeHound we aren’t interested in conducting any more research; but rather, focused on what you can do with your existing research. We’re interested in building one central place where all your consumer data can be found, shared, and manipulated. We’re on a mission to help you find the right consumer data to answer your business questions in seconds, not hours or days. A world should exist where the “C” in CRM stands for not only Customer but also Consumer.

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