CRM growing at exponential rate

The market for customer relationship management (CRM) solutions in Canada is growing rapidly, according to research collected and published by International Data Corporation (Canada). And just as notable as the rate of adoption is just who is championing these solutions: business...

The market for customer relationship management (CRM) solutions in Canada is growing rapidly, according to research collected and published by International Data Corporation (Canada).

And just as notable as the rate of adoption is just who is championing these solutions: business and marketing managers, as opposed to the information systems crowd who frequently drive the adoption of IT solutions.

‘The decision to deploy a CRM solution is being spearheaded by business-side managers and executives,’ says Cameron Dow, manager of Canadian software research with Toronto-based IDC Canada. ‘The key players are sales and marketing managers, senior executives and senior business directors and managers.’

How fast is it growing? According to Dow’s numbers, CRM applications – primarily in the area of salesforce automation, marketing and customer support – will represent a $1-billion dollar market by 2003.

‘It’s the fastest-growing market, increasing at a rate of more than 60% annually,’ said Dow at a recent presentation hosted by IBM Canada and Siebel Systems Canada. ‘We estimate that in 1999, companies invested $200 million in CRM projects.’

Impressive numbers, but what does it all mean? Well, for one thing, it can mean a rapid return on investment. According to Rob Douglas, vice-president and general manager of Toronto-based Siebel Systems – a company specializing in sales, marketing and customer service software – companies implementing Web-based CRM solutions can see a return on investment in less than a year.

‘There is very quick payback,’ he continues, ‘but the integration of this sort of digital strategy must be part of the traditional channels of customer interaction. That’s why has a 1-800 tele-centre, and (brokerage firm) Charles Schwab is building bricks-and-mortar operations.’

But it also illustrates how the power in today’s economy has shifted from the supply side to the demand side, which means the customer is now fully in control. Traditional business models are no longer equipped to cope, says Douglas, adding all customer-contact channels – including call centres, field sales agents and the Web – must be integrated if companies are to maintain and improve customer retention and loyalty. He identifies financial services providers, telecommunications companies, high-tech firms and, potentially, governments as prime candidates for CRM services.

One company that appears to have benefited from a customer relationship management strategy is Winnipeg-based Ceridian Canada. The company provides payroll and human resources services to 37,000 Canadian companies of various size across Canada. With nearly two dozen offices across the country, Ceridian Canada president Jim Jarvis says the company’s old phone-based model wasn’t working when it came to dealing with its customer base. It was too labour-intensive and unwieldy, and hampered its fight for market share, he says. Working with IBM Canada and Siebel Systems, Ceridian implemented a multi-channel CRM software application.

The result was a Web-based payroll product with a data warehouse component that Ceridian uses to capture information used during each encounter with a customer.

‘We are now building a database of our history with each customer,’ says Jarvis. ‘Our whole business is based on transactions, so the retention aspect is important.’

Vancouver-based online coupon dispenser (see ‘SUMmedia turns coupon clippers into coupon clickers,’ Strategy DirectResponse, Nov. 8, 1999) has also recently implemented a CRM application – in its case, from Mississauga, Ont.-based Oracle Canada, running on Hewlett-Packard servers. According to David Noble, SUMmedia’s CIO, the solution allows the company to better respond to the evolving needs of its customers.

‘This CRM technology enables us to dynamically manage customer knowledge across the organization,’ he says. ‘This ensures vital information is both accessible and available to all our people at all times. As a customer ourselves, we want an integrated, Internet-based, information-management solution that can be implemented and integrated with our existing systems at Internet speed.’

Canadian CRM Facts

- CRM applications will represent a billion-dollar market by 2003

- Nearly one-third of the top investment opportunities in Canada this year will be CRM applications – more than e-commerce

- Customer support and salesforce automation is driving demand

- Source: IDC Canada

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.