E-CRM: A Key Issue in Today's Competitive Environment

E-CRM: A Key Issue in Today's Competitive Environment

María Rosa Llamas-Alonso (University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain) and Ana Isabel Jiménez-Zarco (University of León, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch043
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Abstract

As competition and the cost of acquiring new customers continue to increase, the need to build and enhance customer relationships has become paramount for businesses. The building of strong customer relationships has been suggested as a means for gaining competitive advantage (Mckenna, 1993) so, in today’s marketplace, a growing number of firms seek to develop profound, close and long-lasting relationships with their customers since it is much more profitable to keep and satisfy current customers than to manage an ever-changing customer portfolio (Reinartz & Kumar, 2003; Ross, 2005; Llamas-Alonso et al. 2009). This one is a consequence of many paradigmatical changes in the marketing field during the past decades, such as a transition from a focus on the product, transactional marketing, acquiring clients (responsive marketing approach) and market share towards a customer centric approach, relationship marketing, two-way communication, retaining customers (proactive and holistic marketing approaches) and share of customer. Thus, in this fastmoving and highly competitive scenario Customer Relationship Management (hereafter referred to as CRM) emerges as a business philosophy devoted to enhance customer relationships and consequently create value for both the company and the customer.
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Customer Based Advantages And New Marketing Orientations: Proactive And Holistic Approaches

The development of competitive advantages based on the continuous creation and offer of value to customers, contributes significantly to the business success. Thus, firms that aim to achieve these advantages need a market oriented corporate culture which boosts customer knowledge and learning, as well as customer communication and cooperation (Slater & Narver, 1999) in order to: (1) give an effective response to customers’ needs (Matthing et al., 2004) and (2) gain a competitive positioning in the market.

Customers can exhibit two types of needs: manifest and latent. Manifest needs are defined as those ones that the customer is aware of, and they are clearly and directly manifested while latent needs are those that are not expressed by the customer, either because he/she has never previously experienced them or because he/she has never planned on responding to them (Matthing et al., 2004). In this context, marketing oriented firms can implement two types of actions with the aim of meeting customer demands. The first type, called responsive marketing orientation, focuses on understanding the manifest needs of customers in order to develop products and services to meet them (Slater & Narver, 1999). The second behaviour, termed as proactive marketing orientation, seeks to learn about and understand customers’ latent needs with the goal of offering them proper and satisfactory solutions (Slater & Narver, 1999; Matthing et al., 2004).

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-CRM: Since e-CRM (electronic customer relationship management) relates to selling, serving or communicating to customers via the Web, e-CRM can be regarded as a subset of CRM, meaning that e-CRM is one channel through which a company can deploy its CRM strategy.

PROACTIVE MARKETING ORIENTATION: Proactive marketing orientation, seeks to learn about and understand customers’ latent needs with the goal of offering them proper and satisfactory solutions

HOLISTIC MARKETING: “Holistic marketing is the design and implementation of marketing activities, processes, and programs that reflect the breadth and interdependencies of their effects. Holistic marketing recognizes that “everything matters” with marketing –customers, employees, other companies, competition, as well as society as a whole –and that a broad, integrated perspective is necessary (Keller & Kotler, 2006, p. 300).

RESPONSIVE MARKETING ORIENTATION: Responsive marketing orientation focuses on understanding the manifest needs of customers in order to develop products and services to meet them.

CRM: CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is both a business approach and a management tool concerned with the generation and maintenance of long-lasting relationships between the firm and its customers by increasing knowledge about customers and establishing two-way cooperative relationships between the firm and its customers.

ADVERGAMING: The product placement in video games (advergaming) objective is to enhance the familiarity of the customer with the brand. The placement, the role, the scene and all the details related to the appearance of the brand in the video game are important since they contribute to position the brand in the mind of the customer. Una evolución del concepto es lo que se conoce con el nombre de advergaming 2.0. It takes a step forward achieving a high degree of customization of the advertising on real time. This is a dynamic formula which adapts to the user and to several characteristics of the game such as the time of the day or the profile of the customer.

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