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17.1 Introduction

If anything, the Internet and the World Wide Web have highlighted the importance of a customer- focused approach to business and marketing. It may seem obvious now, but the heydays of mass media marketing seemed to assume that people could be persuaded to purchase anything, provided there was sufficient advertising to promote a product. While signs declaring “The Customer Is Always Right” may have been stuck to the walls of shops and restaurants, the customer did not have much of a voice outside of that shop or restaurant.

Move forward a few decades to an increasingly connected society and marketplace, and the customer’s voice is being heard in blogs, forums, reviews, and other forms of social media. It is easier for consumers to connect with one another, albeit virtually, to share experiences with services and products.

Customer relationship management (CRM)As the name suggests, this refers to the management of relationships with your customers. is, as the name suggests, about managing relationships with customers. It should imply a customer-focused approach to business for fostering real relationships with these important stakeholders: customers.

Often, online marketing is referred to as e-CRM (electronic customer relationship management). This appears to underline the importance of technology in CRM. It also highlights the most important consideration of any eMarketing tactic: customers.