A recent and insightful article notes that adding names to a B2C database to send out indiscriminate email blasts is confusing activity with results. I agree. The article notes that B2C marketers should be focusing on the 4.7% of their consumers who generate social referrals. The so-called connectors. This small minority of your consumer-base are also often early users of your products.
The article does a great job of reminding readers how to cultivate and encourage these key proponents of your products/brand. This is all good, and ignores two important reasons to build a larger consumer database.
The most important of those two reasons is for you to know who your consumers are. In today’s world, many big retailers don’t need your brand to attract consumers to their store. The balance of power between retailers and consumer brands continues to shift to the retailers as brand managers become ever more disconnected from their consumer, while their company’s ability to truly innovate in new products also erodes.
The more a brand marketer actually knows about his/her consumers, the better position they are in to help their retailers make more money with the brand. A large consumer database, properly populated with available demographic and psychographic information, can help the brand marketer really understand their consumer-customer base.
In addition, while much of what is sent to a mass-consumer database via email is useless (or worse), that does not prevent the astute brand marketer from parsing that database in informed ways to allow the information sent to be more likely of value to the recipient. So-called B2me communication. Unsolicited mail (email or snail mail) is always unsolicited. However, that does not make it junk. It’s junk when it is not of value to the recipient.
B2C CRM is a significant undertaking. But if brand marketers leave it to the retailer, the balance of power may eventually shift totally to the retailer, thus relegating brands to minor value, with the resulting negative impact on the company.