Dawson's Digi:Blog

Current and Emerging Digital Marketing Trends


Customer Relationship Management Evolves and Births Customer Experience Management.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) has long been used through digital platforms, mainly to enhance the customer experience, offering collaboration through shared characteristics, adding value and advocacy (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012).

In a recent publication via (Gartner, 2015), a hype cycle was constructed of underlying trends, emerging trends and prevailing trends, one prevailing trend indicating that “CRM is dead”, describing the need for brands to focus on curating customers into advocates by offering them the platforms and the ability to become their salespeople’s. Is CRM really dead, and how can brand advocates be formed?

Through social media it is suggested that “marketers should focus on new uses for idea management, market research, social media engagement, social analytics, and social campaigns”. Moreover, B2B marketers are now investing in B2C technologies to maximise data mining, customer segmentation, behavioural analytics, multichannel campaigns, and real time marketing” (Levy, 2015).

Traditional CRM is like a funnel with a defined beginning to end, however this is changing, CRM should be concerned with a “limitless funnel”, a journey with no beginning or end through a consumers relationship with a brand (Bernier, 2015).

(Chaffey, 2015) indicates that in 2016, key emerging trends will be real-time marketing and personification agreeing with (Burnett, 2015) who advocates the importance of personalisation and data-driven marketing, however many brands are still testing the value of social media integration. This is acknowledged by a report conducted via (e-consultancy, 2013) highlighting that personalisation is seen to be vital for business performance.

This personalisation must be made through the brand adapting to the users experience (UX). The UX must be manipulated to ensure that the consumer is at the forefront of the brands concerns, consumers that create relationships with brands create advocacy, allowing users to be seen as aficionados of a brand.

A visual representation of social media CRM through (Guiloff, 2014) is offered to highlight the importance customers can have on brands networks through social channels.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 15.23.57

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Social media CRM statistics (Guiloff, 2014)

The main highlights:

  • 3 out of 5 consumers interact with brands on social networks
  • 1 out of 4 consumers expect a reply from a brand within an hour
  • 2 out of 3 consumers expect a same day response to their inquiries

The above visuals provide an insight to how expectant customers are of a brands capabilities through social media outlets, this indicating that the consumer has caused the dissolution of CRM. Brands must now manage the experiences of customers through social media pages to ensue maximum engagement, the UX must be dynamic. The demise of CRM paves the way for the practice of customer experience management (CEM).

Customer Experience Management

CEM is “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.” (Gartner, 2015). This intangible experience is difficult to measure; a practice offering no numbers. CEM must exceed the boundaries of management through structuring experiences of the consumer (Arineli et al., 2015).

Social media has paved the way for CEM, customers expect interaction through brand pages, a brand that does not integrate with their consumers is a laggard, B2C interactions must be paramount as the customer is in control of the relationship, consumers can dictate how social media sites should be utilised. Organisations must start controlling the inevitable consumers demands, creating the need for CEM (Gasser, 2015).

The customer experience (CX) is personalised, it must be adapted to suit the needs of consumers cultures, ideas and feelings.

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CEM Cycle (Gartner, 2014)

The above visual provided by (Gartner, 2014), indicates the cycle of CEM; it should be imperative to optimise the benefits of the three V’s:

  • Value – the lifetime economic value of customers
  • Voice – customer satisfaction, suggestions and sentiment
  • Valence – positive (or negative) rapport over time

A goal must be to turn loyal customers into vocal advocates, in-turn adding their own value to a product or service. The customer is always at the forefront of communications whilst a consumers loyalty and advocacy must be taken into account (a variable managed by the consumer), attraction and growth must be intricately pursued (a variable managed by the brand).


CRM has evolved in the digital world, and it will continue to evolve. Marketers and brands must increase usability and interactivity by managing the experiences of the consumer, thus paving the way for CEM.

(Cincom, 2014) suggest the CRM needs CEM to be able to analyse data to produce valuable insights into consumer preferences, stages of life-cycles, trends and expectations. The shortcomings of CRM gave brith to the CEM movement, however CEM is further concerned with consumer interaction at the points of perception and value of a product or service.

CEM is contemporary and unfamiliar, learnings from how to fulfil a large number of consumers that can rule a social media page are still to be made. However, what is clear is that the vast consumer group that a brand social media page can attract is difficult to crowd control, all CEM can do is improve CX, improving does not mean completely satisfying the consumer group, as through the volume of social media pages, this may not be possible.

Due to the nature of social relationships, the social commerce environment provides a channel for customers to form interpersonal connections with others, and thus experiencing a social presence creating a positive value of voice and valence (Wang et al., 2012). This is what CEM can do and what CRM can not do, interpersonal experiences and connections are now imperative to create sustained engagement from B2C.

CRM is not dead, CRM will provide the foundations for CEM, as the digital world evolves at a fast pace so will CEM, the question that arises; what will CEM form the foundations for in the future?


For brands that wish to ensue CEM it is recommended:

  • Create consumers into advocates of your brand
  • Personalise the CX, taking into consideration individuality
  • Control the lifetime value of consumers
  • Tendencies, conceptions and suggestions from consumers must be enhanced by the brand
  • Harmonise the community of consumers around your brand to a togetherness
  • Interact, listen and respond instantaneously


Arineli, A., Quintella, Heitor Luiz Murat de Meirelles & Nisar, T. 2015, “CEM: Increasing productivity through the management and monitoring of experiences provided to customers”, Cogent Business & Management, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1023015.

Bernier, P. 2015. Is CRM really dead? The Mad Marketer [Online] 5 November. Available at: http://www.madmarketer.com/topics/news/articles/412568-crm-really-dead.htm. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

Burnett, C. 2015. Social CRM: Realising the full value of social media. E-Consultancy. [Online] 11 March. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66183-social-crm-realising-the-full-value-of-social-media. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

Chaffey, D. 2015. Latest Gartner Hype Cycles. Smart Insights. [Online] 21 December. Available at: http://www.smartinsights.com/managing-digital-marketing/marketing-innovation/technology-for-innovation-in-marketing/. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

Cincom. 2014. Has CEM replaced CRM? [Online] Available at: http://synchrony.cincom.com/common/media/pdf/DSAU1302037_CEMSPECIAL_Report_2014_3.pdf. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

E-Consultancy. 2015. The Realities of Online Personalisation. [Online] April. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-realities-of-online-personalisation-report. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

Gartner. 2016. Customer Experience Management (CEM). [Online]. Available at: http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/customer-experience-management-cem. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

Gasser, M. 2015. The Death of CRM. LinkedIn [Online] 16 April. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/death-crm-mark-gasser. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

Guiloff, D. 2014. How social media is transforming CRM. Fanhub [Online] 21 May. Available at: http://blog.fanhub.com/how-social-media-is-transforming-crm. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

Levy, H. 2015. Top Emerging Trends in Digital Marketing. Gartner. [Online] 6 May. Available at: http://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/top-emerging-trends-in-digital-marketing/. [Accessed 1 February 2016].

Wang, C. Zhang, P. The evolution of social commerce: the people, management, technology, and information dimensions, Commun. Assoc. Inf. Syst. 31 (5), 2012, pp. 105–127.


Matt Dawson • February 1, 2016

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  1. Abi March 10, 2017 - 10:33 am Reply

    A great CRM implementation should allow for quite a bit of integration and automation, and should give you complete visibility of your business.

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