Most CRM initiatives have failed to involve the customer enough for the customers to see
As Ray Jutkins, a noted direct mail consultant and speaker, says, “The idea is to treat customers the way you treat your best friends; in the very best way. First, as people. And then with first class service; a top quality product. You reach out and touch—hold their hand—be their teddy bear.”
The trick is to get customers to invest themselves in your brand, to reach out to you in friendship, which requires sharing. This will happen only when you let the customers manage the relationship. When customers can talk to you and define their needs, they begin to insert themselves in your brand. This calls for questions, not just about the customer’s needs, but about his or her interests, lifestyle, and current life stage. Customers will share this information if they see added value coming back to them from the relationship. One way to create this closeness is to involve customers in your business activities.
Procter & Gamble uses the Web to give consumers an inside look at products that haven’t been
Not to keep picking on the now
The Web must be used with a different understanding of the consumer’s interaction. The strength of the Web for CMR is not about selling more products but connecting with the customer. Michael Bayler and David Stoughton in their book, Promiscuous Customers: Invisible Brands (Capstone Publishing, 2002), make the point that when customers go online, their behavior often switches, like the swapping of left and right in a mirror image. They write,
Somehow, in digital markets, the expectations of our most
valuablecustomers are almost absurdly heightened and accelerated. They are inclined to shoot first—assassinating the brand with remarkablecallousness—and not bothering to ask any questions at all. The Internet changes everything. It commoditises everything it touches, with a reverse Midas touch that stripsnot only cost, but value, from almost every process. 
There are some who would quarrel with that thinking because they have found ways to involve customers in unguarded communication and build brand relationships on the Web. Budweiser’s now famous “Whassup?!” campaign was hugely successful across the world,
Audience interaction with the Budweiser brand was achieved by introducing interactive elements on the website including screensavers, phone icons via SMS (short message service) mobile messaging, wallpaper, TV ads, and sounds. The screensavers had a message function that could be personalized, and the site enabled people to send a variety of icons to their phones. The ability to e-mail characters from the ads was most popular within the site.
Integration with Budweiser’s TV advertising campaign kept people talking about the site. Yet-to-be-broadcast ads were hidden on the site for
The Whassup?! campaign offers evidence that there is a lot more to brand building on the Web than click-through. It’s still about involving customers, empowering customers, and building brand value based on what customers are willing to put into it, not on what companies can expect to get out of it. Consumers were empowered to share in the Whassup?! campaign, sometimes even adding to it. Budweiser
Budweiser’s “Whassup?!” became the first catchword of the new
 Michael Bayler and David Stoughton, Promiscuous Customers: Invisible Brands (New York: John Wiley & Sons, December 2001).
 “Watchin’ the Game, Havin’ a Bud,” Brand Strategy, March 2001, p. 11.