The Absolute Truth About Marketing
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
  CRM scammers come crashing down
I wrote an editorial for Marketing Magazine in October 2001 on the sleazy world of CRM. "CRM: let the buyer beware" was the heading. "Never in the history of hucksterism has so much money been chiselled out of so many companies in such a short time than with CRM. If your company is embarking on a CRM project or contemplating it, please be careful. The odds are stacked against you getting what you think you’re buying." In another editorial at about the same time, titled "CRM: Crooks! Robbers! Muggers!" I stated the obvious: "The one person who matters in the equation – the customer – has been ignored in the hype surrounding CRM. That hype has been whipped up by the IT firms who sell the systems (oh yes, CRM is an IT solution) and the management consultancies looking to invade the territory of ad agencies and marketing (as the cashflow from re-engineering and restructuring has tailed off). CRM has taken over where Y2K left off as the “Yellow Brick Road” for global consultancies."

Today in an ezine called CRMguru I read the following expose of the rort that was CRM:

Good-Bye Yellow Brick Road: CRM's Fairytale Start Fades Into a Pragmatic Finish
By Dick Lee, High-Yield Methods

"It's over, folks. It ended not with a bang but a whimper. That brilliant shooting star we called "CRM," which burst upon our horizon in the early 1990s, gradually burned up in the chilling business atmosphere and descended to Earth—to end its short life, or start its new life, as a mere business strategy. How ignominious...

"For as free and unfettered as CRMers felt, all along, the nascent CRM movement was operating under the thumb of an oligarchy, a small number of large software players; plus a small number of large consulting firms with back door ties to these software companies; plus a small number of large conference companies whose shows were deeply subsidized by these very same software companies. Despite competing with each other on one level, collectively they called the shots. They ran the show. They defined CRM.

"And where was the free press—the Doberman pincer that should detect such goings on? With the exception of this web site and a handful of others, the media was sucking up to the industry oligarchs to stimulate as much ad spending as possible. Not ever questioning industry claims that this shooting star was a second sun that would light the way for all of business.

"But largely unaware of which was doing what to whom, CRMers jammed the conference exhibit floors and packed the "educational" sessions, most of which turned into commercials, breathing each others' fumes, inebriated by self-importance and the smell of riches to be made. Riches to be made by marketers and sellers cozying up to end customers to achieve customer intimacy (which I always took to mean putting both hands in customers pockets); by consulting companies conveniently recommending to these marketers and sellers the very software in which they as "objective" consultants were trained to recommend and install (and, in some cases, for which they were financially rewarded); by software sellers abusing software buyers again by persuading them to invest in overpriced, ridiculously over-featured applications; and even by supposedly independent research companies taking software company money to report glowing customer satisfaction scores for applications most intended users quickly turned into shelfware."

Ironically the report's author Dick Lee is founder and principal of High-Yield Methods, "a consulting firm specializing in
helping clients achieve customer-centricity through CRM and proper alignment
of process and technology."

You can be sure, when it comes to CRM, everyone is on the take.
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