In with Tina Brown: CRM maven
The nuance of nuance
What makes great editors great is that they are able to connect to both the heart and the head. They know what makes their audience laugh, think, stick around and respond. Great editors also have a head for business. They are empowered to make decisions and commit resources to sustain engagement. It's why editors like Tina Brown can go from editor of the Tatler to revamping The New Yorker to running Newsweek and TheDailyBeast.com.
What does being a great editor have to do with modern CRM? Everything. Creative is the modern differentiator. A colleague recently pointed out there are two truths about the current state of direct: Marketers have access to similar data; and traditional offers are restrained by economics. The differentiator — the variable brands can control — is the creative.
From both a creative and customer perspective, CRM programs have become predictable, linear offer streams. There's not much creativity by the brand or joy from the customer who signed up. Ideas get lost because we've minced and messaged it out of being. A way to reprioritize is through an editorial model. CRM customers deserve an editor. It's time we rethink the roles, recasting the brand as editor and customer as audience.
The editor will deliver compelling content and experiences to a finicky fan base every month, week or even hour, and fight monotony with variety, surprise and point of view. Editors would have power across silos, packaging ideas like magazine cover stories, tapping conversational spaces in social networks and creating events, offers and content.
I envy the quick thinking that goes into editorial packages at The Daily Beast, including the irresistible headlines. The audience will respond. In the editorial model, metrics are ratings, message matrices are programming schedules, and decisions are fast, realizing the consumer is the life and death of your "show." The customer will be a valued audience who can't get enough, giving time and money, and taking and shaping direction. And because it's an exciting show, the audience will be true fans and advocates.
Does CRM look different yet? Casting your first editor: Your brand's editor can be agency or client-side, and could come from CRM strategy, content, planning, copywriting, brand management or PR. It's about how she thinks, how she manages an evolving relationship, and how she interprets data to invent opportunity.
The tested direct and email approach is being outpaced by modern behaviors. Throw out the joyless spreadsheet, and let's rethink CRM with an editorial approach. Hire an editor, re-inject creative into your program and re-invigorate the precious relationship with your most important customers.