Friday, August 31, 2007

A Home Run for CRM

It seems like we're always harping on CRM failures. That's why it was so refreshing to read about how the Seattle Mariners are capitalizing on CRM methods and technology to improve each visit to Safeco Field.

This article from Destination CRM, "CRM Hits One Out of the Ballpark", talks about how Hilary Harding, the database marketing manager for the Mariners, has implemented a CRM system, with excellent success.

"According to Harding, the Mariners demonstrate perhaps the most comprehensive use of a CRM system of any team in Major League Baseball. "Every sports venue has to manage ticket sales, seat relocation, site maintenance, event planning, marketing, and concessions," she says. "We did all those things well before...but the difference is that, today, we do them better and much more efficiently."

Tracking customer transactions is enhancing the fan experience and it is also positively impacting the Mariners' bottom line. Their CRM system has allowed the Mariners to enhance and improve their direct marketing programs, through superior data mining and matching the right offer to the right fan. The article cites examples of such programs including the launch of their "All-Star Club" (an elite club where businesses can take advantage of great seats, food/drinks without committing to an entire season purchase).

From the article: "It's really amazing how the data can build up over time," says Harding, who helped spearhead the Mariners' three-month CRM implementation in 2000. "All of a sudden, seven years later, we have a goldmine of information about our fans, and it has really opened up the floodgates for cross-selling opportunities as well as putting together special programs and events tailored to our fans' interests."

But the main reason (in my opinion) why the Mariners are doing CRM right is because they have the right philosophy. CRM can never solely be about realizing efficiencies and making money. For it to work right, it simply has to be about improving the customer experience. And, for the Mariners, it's doing exactly that.

"Despite the obvious benefits of mining accurate customer data, Harding cautioned that CRM is much more than data collection. "CRM is truly about creating the desired customer experience," she said."

My final take on this success--if a ballpark can realize the benefits of CRM, businesses that collect customer information as a natural part of doing business (telecom, financial services, etc) have no excuses for not getting this done correctly.

Enjoy your Labor Day. Go watch a ballgame. Eat a hotdog. Have fun!

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