CMR involves getting consumers to be interested in your firm and to participate with you in building a relationship. In an excellent paper, “A Comprehensive Analysis of Permission Marketing,” Sandeep Krishnamurthy, assistant professor in the Business Administration Program at the University of Washington, defines some useful terms:
Consumer interest An individual’s overall judgment of the effectiveness of the program in adding value to his or her life. If an individual receives promotional messages that are not well targeted or if the promotional messages are for disliked brands, he or she may well conclude that the program [relationship] is uninteresting. On the other hand if the messages closely map the needs of the consumer, there will be interest.
Consumer participation The extent to which an individual is willing to engage actively in a two-way exchange with the marketer. The lowest level of consumer participation is exit. The highest level of consumer participation is active engagement where consumers make every effort to provide accurate and timely information to the marketer, and attend to the messages, responding to the relevant ones appropriately.[1 ]
Permission intensity Consumers define the boundaries of their relationship with firms. In some cases they give the business tremendous leeway and in others the firms are held on a tight leash. Formally, permission intensity is defined as the degree to which a consumer empowers a marketer in the context of a communicative relationship. High permission intensity is characterized by three factors: high information quantity, high information quality, and information usage flexibility.”[2 ]
It was difficult to attain high intensity permission with past customer relationship management programs. Consumers receive an excessive volume of proposals for relationships with firms. When they do not perceive control over the terms of the relationship and do not see much value added, they have little interest in engaging actively in a two-way exchange. CMR is aimed at developing high intensity permission and active engagement. The only way to develop high intensity permission is to give customers the power to manage the relationship in ways that will make their lives easier and the relationship more rewarding.
You can’t make that happen for all of your customers and, in reality, some customers will never be worth the effort. Every business has cherry pickers who will always be switching suppliers, looking only for the lowest price. Every firm has customers who are impossible to satisfy. It makes no sense to overinvest in customers with little or no potential for growth.
[1 ]Sandeep Kirshnamurthy, “A Comprehensive Analysis of Permission Marketing,” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 2001, pp. 13, 14.
[2 ]Ibid., pp. 6, 7.