Beyond data gathering

Implication of CRM systems to market research

Laurent Flores
CRM Metrix
and
Rex Briggs
Marketing Evolution

INTRODUCTION

Over the last few years a new industry and 'buzzword' have emerged. CRM or Customer Relationship Management has an annual growth rate of over 30%, and according to IDC will reach up to $12.1 billion by 2001. The technology analyst firm Gartner is even more bullish and recently stated that the market will be $15 billion in 2001. Whatever the source, the projections show CRM surpassing the global revenue of the entire market research industry within the next five years. In our analysis, it becomes clear that a new multibillion industry has emerged, with the purpose of allowing companies to better measure, understand and manage customers. Is this mission not at the core of market research?

Although market researchers are quite familiar with the notion of measuring, understanding and managing customers and prospects, few if any, stand as the vanguard of CRM. Talk to market research leaders and ask them who their competitors are and precious few mention CRM companies. The CRM industry is, after all, dominated by companies that have emerged from technology and Internet industries specifically to provide Fortune 500 companies with systems that allow tracking of all their customer points of contact. Names such as Siebel, Epiphany, Kana, Atg Dynamo, etc. aren't research companies are they? An aspect of the mission statement of these CRM companies is to transform data into insights. Sound like a familiar mission? CRM companies are now encroaching on what marketing Research companies believe to be their turf. Many of the CRM companies initially built technology to track customer contact/correspondence and behaviour. These CRM companies are integrating customer intelligence tools into their systems that will help their clients better measure, understand and act on their customer knowledge base.