CRM technology tips from Allan Marshall, iMedia Advisory Services
iMedia Advisory Services
Allan Marshall is joint principal for iMedia Advisory Services Ltd, the joint venture with Ifra. Marshall began his career more than 35 years ago with a regional newspaper in Australia. In 1987 he joined Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL) in London as systems manager at the Evening Standard. He joined the board of ANL in 1994 and was chief of operations and technology director of the Group until August 2005. He is a member of the Technology & Telecommunications Executive Committee for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). He has also overseen the implementation of CRM in a number of operations. Here is Marshall’s advice:
CRM is becoming more of a reality and less of a concept in the publishing industry. However, to be really successful your CRM solution needs to capture 100 percent of the information from all of your company’s “customer touch points.”.
This means that when a customer calls the newspaper advertising department you need to know that same person is a regular advertiser on your online health site, recently wrote to the distribution department on a subscription matter and is contracted by your purchasing department to supply all your health drinks in the canteen.
There are several processes you need to undertake. The key ones being:
DEVISE A STRATEGY – Without a strategy that encompasses all of your business “silos” the project will never deliver. Ideally you should plan to have all your business information and content accessible and that all the customer data you collect is usable.
ANALYSE WHAT YOU HAVE TODAY – You need to look at the collective use of data assets; internal data sharing; what formats for authoring, delivering and
storing of media content are used; and what customer information is available.
INTEGRATION BETWEEN SYSTEMS – Your company’s disparate customer-
EMBEDDED LEVELS OF CRM – Depending on the age of your applications/systems you could find your core applications have embedded levels of CRM. These “operational CRM” elements may exist in your key “customer” systems:
> Circulation -
> Advertising -
> Finance – Customer records.
> Digital Media -
OPERATIONAL AND ENTERPRISE CRM – Rather than a “big bang” approach, your CRM project can be done in stages, with realistic ROI. Operational CRM is a customer database that is embedded in any customer facing application such as, an advertising system. Any major application/system purchase/upgrade you make going forward should have Operational CRM capability. If you are fortunate to already have this capability in a number of your applications/systems then Enterprise CRM is a logical step. You will require a central system or data mart where data can be exchanged between customer facing applications to gain a specific business advantage.
However, Enterprise CRM needs to evolve around identified business drivers not theoretical ones. Everything we have learnt about CRM indicates failure occurs when CRM does not deliver constant business value.
ADOPT COMMON STANDARDS – If you are serious about CRM you MUST adopt common standards for infrastructure and data. The key ones being:
> XML & XML Java Beans;
> ETL tool which exchanges, loads and transforms operational XML data into suitable data for exchanging between the embedded customer databases deployed in your company’s core customer facing applications.
Page first published: 12.03.2007