A few weeks ago, I wrote about the key CRM trends from 2012. As we enter 2013, here are some key Constituent Relationship-Management-related developments and trends that you should be having a dialogue with your strategic partners about in  2013.

Quality over quantity

For the most part, we’ve figured out how to get our data into one central place. All the gadgigabytes of it. But now, the focus will be on quality of the data – translation: “Its usefulness.”   Those already in the weeds know this all too well: dupes, householding, and deciding on data parameters is probably the most underestimated impact point relative to value in CRM readiness.   You may have already made decisions about priority and master record authority going into your CRM process (for example, if a record exists across 5 different data sources, which will be considered the master record in CRM, based on what criteria?), but once you’re ready to market, you may find that some of those decisions have to be reconsidered or that the mass volume of data has more hygiene problems than anticipated based on the variety of sources reconciled and merged.  This is why I believe in 2013 more organizations will focus on cleaning up and organizing the mass volume of information available.

Data-agility

(Or “Datagility” as one of my friends called it.) Even for organizations that have their data all squeaky clean and organized, that even have a thoughtful approach to BI, increasingly the sheer volume of data availability stored to analyze via CRM is creating a new kind of hurdle—time required by various BIs, especially ones hosted in clouds, to process and return data based on variables selected.  Sure, even the slowest tools these days are far superior to what most of us were dealing with 10-15 years ago, but waiting even 15 minutes for your BI to “calculate” or “apply filters” can seem like an eternity in a fast moving world. So, data agility—the ability of BI tools to keep up both with the pace of data volume and wait time demands should become a key focus for CRM success factors in terms of being able to find the golden nuggets in the data haystack.

Deeper personalization/return to our roots

In theory, the promise of CRM has been better understanding of our constituents and customers in order to create a more relevant, personalized experience.  Has that gotten lost somewhere in the CRM shuffle?  Sometimes it seems we’ve started to think of “CRM” as some sort of end or finish line, rather than a means to grow effective and profitable relationships with our various constituents.  The end goal should remain hinged on adaptation to the ever changing interests of our supporters.  As an improved experience and better relationship with our supporters, not unlike a personal conversation, is prone to change directions, lose focus, refocus, and ultimately come full-circle — which is why I believe 2013 will be the year when some old school marketing principles:  right time, right audience, right message, will be “in” again, powered by the added knowledge CRM can provide us with about what those “right” things actually are.

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