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Acquisition in the Age of CRM, Social Media and Gamification

Acquisition in the Age of CRM, 
Social Media and Gamification

The Salesforce US in-house exhibition attracted 171,000 visitors in 2019, many public events could only hope for a turnout like this. And while Salesforce is a large player, it's just one of many software vendors for managing companies' relationships with their customers. CRM tools are also playing an increasingly important role in how companies do acquisition because information about the prospective customer is key for successful marketing.

In the past, people usually worked without software specifically designed to support gathering relevant information about customers. The findings from the last customer meeting were either handwritten in the person's file or a note was created in Outlook (for example). Most of the time, it looked like this: "Mr. Martin loves red wine. Wants to sell his villa on Mallorca”. This, sometimes very personal data, could not be used professionally for acquisition purposes, and would often remain with the respective advisor, guarded like a treasure.

However, if such data is stored in a CRM, much more targeted acquisition can be carried out and is no longer dependent on one individual advisor. For example, if an event "Chocolate and Wine" is offered in the Bordeaux region of France - Mr. Martin, who lives there, and other customers interested in this field can be invited. And Mr. Martin will probably be very happy about this invitation and will come. Because of the personalized customer offer that best suits him, he feels acknowledged as an individual and this strengthens the bond with your company, contributing to customer loyalty.

If it is not possible to tailor your communication appropriately, you might end up inviting a non-drinker to the seminar on wine and thus, not only encouraging rejection here but alienate them. This can be fatal for customer loyalty.

Plus, the knowledge about your customer offers potential for further earnings. For example, Mr. Martin can be proactively supported in the sale of his villa and there’s a high probability that the proceeds will be then transferred to the company's own asset management. One must however know that Mr. Martin has the villa and wants to sell it... Knowledge is power.

If CRM is already important for existing customers, it is even more important for new customer acquisition. When acquiring new customers, it is important to convert the desired prospect into a paying customer. Modern customer acquisition works in such a way that a person upon entering the sales funnel, is guided downwards through several stages.

Most of the work in this area is done with online campaigns. In the course of a campaign, data on the targeted persons is collected. Who clicked on what, when, what opened, how long did they stay on the site? All this is tracked with the use of cookies and stored in the CRM. If the customer then enters data, such as their email address, our picture of them grows clearer. Depending, on what one would call the "stage" at which the target customer is at, i.e. how far they have already moved down the funnel, it is then possible to try to turn them into a real paying customer, with suitable offers or requests.

In this context, social media platforms have a special significance. Networks like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer the opportunity to address a specific target group of potential customers. Whereas, in the past, it was only possible to sort addresses by postcode and gender at the post office. Today you can specify in detail who you want to reach. For example, only women between 25 and 35 who live in New York and are self-employed. This minimizes time waste and the campaign can be tailor-made in terms of presentation and offers.

In the age of the attention economy and constant accessibility, it’s challenging enough to attract and retain a person's attention. But if you want to find new customers and keep them, you have to do just that.

The key is to make use of our human capacity for play. Gamification is a term that originates in the field of management. It describes the use of playful or game-like elements, in everyday business to make an activity or task more interesting, more pleasant and even more fun. Gamification can turn previously unpleasant activities into a welcome task, done voluntarily.

The following anecdote illustrates, how powerful this play instinct is: When car configurators first appeared on the Internet, servers regularly crashed during lunch hours. The reason was they were simply overloaded. Managers and management consultants were using this time to put together their dream car on the Internet. of course, not all users wanted or were able to buy a new car, but they simply enjoyed dreaming a little during their break. An ingenious move by the carmakers, to engage and bind potential customers to the brand.

Another example could be the “Piano Stairs” Experiment in Stockholm- Sweden: a stone staircase leading to a basement somewhere in the city center was painted to resemble a piano keyboard. On top of this, each step had the capacity to make a sound when trodden on. The public loved it and clearly preferred it to the elevator (the previous favorite). People walked up and down the musical steps even composing little melodies.

Also, the 250 million people who play Fortnite that gaming is not a marginal phenomenon. A lucrative market of bloggers and influencers has formed around this online co-op survival game and its player community.

To conclude, even the financial industry can no longer work around adopting digital technologies:

  • Modern CRM software must be used for acquisition in order to be effective. This can be combined with social media networks as a distribution channel and provider of target group-specific campaigns.
  • Consulting must be bionic. A study by Dr. Cocca[1] shows that 85% of private banking customers want a digital solution in addition to advice and guidance from a person.
  •  As a financial services provider, you need to provide your customers with a digital tool, that offers them added value on the one hand and satisfies their gaming instinct on the other. A dry and bulky multi-banking app is no longer enough.

[1] "Kundenverhalten im Wandel? Nutzung digitaler Angebote durch vermögende Kunden", 3. Fachkonferenz "Managementforum Vermögensverwaltung 2018", Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, 29.11.2018

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