No aspect of the marketing continuum has received more hype in the past decade than customer relationship management. The resurrection of CRM from its small retailer origins to the flavor of the decade is one of the great comebacks of marketing history. And the millions and millions of dollars that have been spent on integrated marketing database technology to support CRM activities evidences the seriousness with which this most important function of marketing is being viewed by companies in every sector.
With all the interest and investment in CRM, it is ironic that there have been so many failures compared to so few successes. It is imperative that we ask whether the theory is better than the practice, at least up to now, and what can be done about it?
“It is impossible to state precisely what customer relationship management means to everyone,” wrote Randy Harris. “The term has been applied to almost every element of business that even remotely interacts with a customer.”