American Airlines Exec Highlights CRM at DMD Expo

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NEW YORK -- Customer relationship management is not new, but the capabilities that technology has brought are, an American Airlines executive told direct marketers yesterday.


In his keynote address at the 36th annual DMD Marketing Conference and Exposition at the New York Hilton and Towers, John R. Samuel, the airline's vice president of e-business, said American learned CRM by making every mistake possible.


The factors that made American Airlines a prime candidate for CRM were a heterogeneous customer base, a large loyalty and recognition program and lots of data.


Samuel said the airline marked several milestones in its CRM progress: the integration of personalization into the Web site; the creation of a real-time customer database; the calculation of value per customer; the incorporation of CRM into touch points with regard to customer value; and improved targeting of customers for marketing purposes.


Samuel said that initially CRM expectations were unrealistic.


"CRM can do more harm than good when heightened expectations are not met," he said.


However, if companies set clear and measurable objectives, realistic CRM goals can be met, Samuel said.


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