This is “Using Customer Relationship Management to Inform Your eMarketing Tactics”, section 17.4 from the book Online Marketing Essentials (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.

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17.4 Using Customer Relationship Management to Inform Your eMarketing Tactics

Learning Objective

  1. Learn how using CRM (customer relationship management) can give a company useful information that can be applied to its eMarketing channels.

Successful e-mail marketing stems from a very basic customer need: privacy and permission. The very first step required in using e-mail to establish a relationship with a customer is in gaining his or her permission.

Data mining and segmenting customer databases allow for e-mail marketing to be tailored to customers, while e-mails allow for extensive personalization on a mass scale.

E-mail is often the primary point of contact for all customer-service-related messages, from automated e-mails dealing with the administration of orders, to contacts with the customer service team.

Online advertising is a double-edged sword when it comes to CRM (customer relationship management). It can be a very effective acquisition tool for new customers, but intrusive advertising can attract attention for all the wrong reasons. Effective online advertising speaks to customers’ needs and presents solutions to them, hopefully attracting attention without being overly intrusive.

Affiliate marketing started by making the most of existing relationships other parties have with potential customers. Affiliate marketing can be an excellent sales and acquisition channel, but it is not without its problems from a CRM perspective. Another entity is acquiring leads on your behalf, which can mean a loss of control when it comes to the messages used to attract leads. Ensure effective communication with affiliates so that they are sending the right message to your leads.

Search engine marketing, whether search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising starts with customer intent. Existing customer data can indicate where to focus search engine marketing efforts, especially when it comes to analyzing how well a Web site caters to the intent indicated by a customer’s search term.

The use of social media is based on customer needs and preferences. Online reputation management tracks social media in particular (as well as other online sources) to establish consumer sentiment. These valuable data should then be used to inform an organization’s marketing strategy. Social media also present a powerful tool for turning delighted customers (who are expressive online) into advocates for an organization. Lastly, social media allow several new communication channels for an organization, enabling customer communications and customer service to take place where the customer feels most comfortable.

Effective Web development and design starts with customer needs and should focus on the experience of Web users. Designing for customers first and foremost should give Web visitors a seamless experience, presenting your goods and services to them without effort on their behalf.

Through all the eMarketing tactics, effective analytics is the most useful CRM tool. It allows each channel to be measured on its merits, and the customers acquired by each channel can be analyzed.

Key Takeaways

  • Successful e-mail marketing stems from the customer needs of privacy and permission.
  • E-mail is the primary point of contact for all customer-service-related messages. But other eMarketing channels can act as CRM, as well.


  1. Pick two channels discussed in this section and evaluate how they can each be a good CRM tool. Find an example of how a brand is currently using it.
  2. Evaluate the list of eMarketing channels listed in this section. Consider the pros and cons of each. Some of the cons seem to outweigh the pros of some channels, and vice versa. Knowing these pros and cons, do you think that marketers have a reason to completely avoid a channel altogether without testing it first?