How well do you know your customers?

Today’s consumer is more informed and spend conscious than ever, and a general understanding of your market is no longer enough.

Audiences are looking for something different. Genuine engagement from brands beats generic marketing and, with research showing that engagement leads to profits, it’s never been a better time to act.

Where are we now?

You may be familiar with the term CRM, or Customer Relationship Management.

CRM systems gather, store and distribute data, calculating things like customer lifetime value and profitability. This information then helps businesses to profile their customers and decide which are worth focusing on.

The majority of modern businesses now use some form of CRM system, having moved away from internally focused Knowledge Management techniques, which looked at cost saving and production efficiency.

More and more businesses are using customer knowledge to their advantage.

So what’s the next step?

That’s where CKM comes in

Customer Knowledge Management looks at using the knowledge held by customers, rather than knowledge about them. This not only creates an even stronger user profile, it also shifts the relationship dynamic, making the consumer more involved with the brand on a highly personal level.

As well as drawing on user-held knowledge, experts Rollins and Halinen from the School of Economics and Business Administration in Hawaii have identified the importance of “relationship-specific knowledge” – the information gathered from past user experiences.

These techniques lead to deep and dynamic customer insights, allowing brands to tailor interactions, create meaningful dialogues and build lasting relationships.

Where does it fit?

Opinions are divided as to whether CKM is an extension of KM or CRM – or a separate entity altogether. Rollins and Halinen propose that a combination of systems will create the strongest bank of customer knowledge. Others such as Gibbert, Leibold and Probst, from the University of Geneva, would separate the three and suggest that finding new customers is as easy as retaining existing ones.

Whichever theory you subscribe to, it’s clear that community is extremely important when it comes to CKM. However, with so much information and insight gathered from the internet, there are questions around ownership. Can the knowledge created by a community really be considered a ‘company resource’ – and should it be used as a source of competitive advantage?

To find out more, download our whitepaper.