Relationship management doesn’t need words

To offer customers real added value, strategy and technology in companies must be more closely intertwined.

Relationship management doesn’t need words

Digitalization harbors many opportunities. Data traces reveal where the consumer is. And what they want. But a creation of added value for such a well-tracked user is often still lacking. This creates the feeling of being followed for the consumer. But for what?

The solution is not only to collect data. But also to put it into context. A sophisticated customer relationship management strategy helps to sort the data – and thus to enable personalized and automated customer communication. And therefore to offer entirely new solutions: Deutsche Bahn, for example, has done this with its DB Navigator app. If a busy train arrives at the platform, the customer is notified. This is combined with the offer to secure a place in 1st class for a lower surcharge than usual. The whole process is fully automated. And based entirely on the data.

This is a marketing strategy that doesn’t even require banner ads. Because the good feeling the customer gets from it is better than wholehearted advertising promises, which often contradict reality. The added value created by the data becomes an image-building advertising campaign. Every day.

How added value strengthens image

How does this work? First of all – as with Deutsche Bahn – the course must literally be set within the company. A CRM strategy that puts the customer front and center is called for. Not only by giving him the right message at the right moment – but by giving him what he expects. That is relationship maintenance without many words.

The realization: Clicks are not the metric that measures a company’s success. It is the relationships with customers that drive sales – and are the result of good customer management. This does not stop after a product is purchased, this is only the beginning. The mechanism of this customer life cycle has also been understood by Deutsche Bahn, as the example shows, Normally, the company would only contact the customer when he has a problem and complains about it. Now it keeps in permanent contact – and anticipates problems with the right solution.

For the CRM strategy to be successfully implemented, a company must reorganize itself and optimize the interfaces between its strategy and technology. Until now, the potential of technologies and tools has far too often been left untapped – also in customer contact management. This is often because the market is too fixated on buzzwords: artificial intelligence, virtual reality – a company has to have all these today. But what it really needs these for is often not clear. Therefore, the order must be reversed: first the strategy must be created, where the company would like to grow further – then the suitable technologies for it are gathered. The solution could be to implement a Head of Marketing Technology who combines both areas – marketing strategy and technology. Employees also need to be trained and understand how the tools can contribute to creating real value. For the customer. And therefore ultimately for the company.

The bottom line:

From now on, a click should not be seen as success – and discarded. Instead, it should be used to build up a meaningful customer relationship. This must be cultivated above all after the purchase of a product. This is the only way to keep the customer and ideally make them an advocate for the company as a brand ambassador.


You can find out more about relationship management at DMEXCO in the panel “Customer Centricity Everywhere? The Impact of First Party Data on Advertising” on September 13 on the Debate Stage and in the seminar “Marketing & CRM Trends 2018 – Building Customer Relationships Through the Right Moments” on September 12.