CRM RecruitmentCustomer relationship management is more than just data; it’s just what it says on the tin. Amid all the figures, it’s easy to lose sight of your customers, and your relationships with them.

Big Data is big: according to IBM, “Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone”.

Two and a half quintillion bytes of data – and, it seems, nearly as many ways to connect with your customers. Cutting through the noise is probably the biggest challenge any marketer has today. How do you make sure your messages stand out in 2016?

1. Create relevant content: If it’s not interesting, shareable and relevant (and, let’s not forget, pleasing to Google’s Quality Score), then it needs to go. Content needs to be sharply targeted, but it doesn’t need to be directly related to the product or products you’re selling – laterally works well. For instance, energy drink brand Red Bull has a whole channel devoted to sports. Not its core product, but it still has a logical connection to its key message.

2. Meet customers where they are: We mean that literally. The wonders of geolocation technology means that you can track customer activity – and beacon technology lets you push messages and vouchers to customers when, or where, they’re relevant. It’s early doors technically speaking, but this method has captured retailers’ imaginations. How they’ve done this brings us neatly to our next point…

3. Make mobile the heart of your omnichannel journey: Meeting your customers where they are means putting yourself in their hands. Design mobile-first and scale up; give your sales and customer service teams mobile technology to help them provide a swift, responsive service. Stores like Selfridges and John Lewis give a masterclass in this.

Online sales are strong when physical stores falter, because customers know they can shop any time, any place. Customers might behave differently in a shop to how they would on an app or even shopping via a desktop computer, but they expect to have the same experience.

4. Create a great experience with personalisation: Customer data opens the door to being proactive rather than reactive. Mobile is at the heart of this: with one single unique set of digits, you have an idea of what individual customers do, want, need, like and dislike. Tools like Google Now use handheld device activity to achieve something every customer wants: to be treated as an individual. Some companies take it a step further and use analytics not just to target products, but to create them around the customers – they could probably even name the customers they’re selling to.

5. Make your communication smart: Are your current online and offline solutions all integrated? How can you streamline your customer experience across all the touch points – and what can you add or subtract to make it the best it can be?

If nothing else, the key to a seamless experience for a demanding customer is your infrastructure. Your CRM marketing strategy will live or die by it – and with quintillions of bytes to reach across, 2016 will be a testing year, but potentially your best.