Issues in Customer Information Management

Keith Fletcher
University of East Anglia
Linda Peters
Cardiff Business School

HOW AND WHY IS THE INFORMATION WORLD CHANGING?

The age old marketing concept - that the customer is king - has been given new life and new corporate relevance by the development of low cost, user-friendly(ier) computerised information systems. These driving forces have led to the birth of the activity known as ‘database marketing’. The development of customer database information systems is seen by many as a necessary long-term strategic investment, particularly in sectors where corporate differentiation relies primarily on unique service delivery.

Marketing is concerned with customer relationships and IT is having a major impact in this area by changing both the nature of the relationship and the balance of power between the parties involved (Fletcher 1990). When viewed as a long-term investment for competitive advantage, the use of IT in sales allows a much closer customer relationship. However, as companies try to make use of this new technology, they are frequently hampered by a lack of relevant and comprehensive data on their customers, some lacking very fundamental details.