How Aggressive Are You Willing To Be To Help With Customer Data?

What is Marketing’s responsibility for keeping the CRM current? A reflexive answer might be to say, “None, that’s the internal sales staff’s job.” But we’d argue that to play a strategic role within an organization Marketing must be willing to lead/help in assuring the integrity of the CRM.

The thundering herd of financial advisors on the move (see the New York Times' Broker Rebellion) represents a significant risk to every asset manager’s customer database. Firm names, phone numbers, email addresses, virtually all contact information will be outdated for a while until the advisors settle and commercial databases can be updated. Losing touch with customers and prospects is rarely good for business.

What can Marketing do about it? Take another look at how you ask for names on the Web. Many investment management Web sites could be operating speakeasies for the way they hide their offers to email newsletters. Registrations to advisor Web sites are politely tucked in corners or buried at the bottom, for fear they’d get in the users’ way. And yet… we believe our newsletters and password-restricted sites offer value, don’t we?

Today the Mequoda Daily, one of my all-time favorite Web sites, reported on an interruptive technique that I hesitate to mention. But the reported results are too compelling not to. (We respect the aesthetic that asset management sites tend to pride themselves on. But at the very least, asset managers that sponsor the Web site usability study pop-ups might give this a look.)

Mequoda's story was about how increased its new subscribers to 350 a day from 40 a day by introducing a floater on the Web site. It’s a popover subscription form that hovers over the content on the page, after a predetermined time. Here’s a screenshot of it and you can read all publisher Darren Rowse's details on ProBlogger.Net.

If your company has a business need for name acquisition/lead generation/CRM updating and if you’re motivated to coax anonymous Web site users into giving you their name for their benefit (that’s what you believe, right?), this or an approach like it merits consideration.

You’d have to think through which pages, how long, what offer and how much more information you need beyond the email address. Then you’d have to assure that the data you collect gets into the CRM. In order to assess whether this aggressiveness is worth it, you’d want to consider the quality of the leads collected against any abandonment from the Web site traffic on the pages with the floaters.

It's work. All we ask is that you open yourself to the possibilities. If not this, what else can you do on the Web to help with what will certainly be a data issue for most of 2009?