Right at their fingertips, marketers have access to a valuable asset that can positively impact customer experience and ad targeting: CRM – or customer relationship management – data. CRM software is a vault of valuable data that tracks interactions companies have with their customers, spanning from contact information to in-store experiences and customer attributes.

This translates to valuable first-party data brands can leverage in their marketing efforts. By onboarding their offline CRM data, marketers can take a people-based marketing approach online in order to:

  • Achieve a single customer view.
  • Create integrated 360° customer profiles.
  • Reach customers more effectively through addressable media.
  • Recognize their customers across channels.
  • Decrease wasted ad spend.

Most importantly, CRM data provides marketers the tremendous opportunity to shift to one-to-one marketing at massive scale. Here’s how.

Unlocking Value from Your CRM Data

CRM software tracks the interactions companies have with their customers, which translates to valuable first-party data brands can leverage in their marketing efforts, such as:

  • Contact information
  • Email interactions
  • In-store experiences
  • Lifetime value
  • Purchase history
  • Loyalty status
  • Demographic information
  • Call center engagements
  • Customer attributes

But it hasn’t always been so easy! How did we arrive at our current data-rich state of affairs?


The Evolution and History of the CRM

The way marketers track and ultimately use this information has gone through many phases before CRM became what it is today.

The Dawn of Time

Paper and Pen: Marketers began by recording their sales and customer relationships manually.


The Rolodex: By the 1950s, companies could more reality spin through their paper customer records.

Early 1980s

Database Marketing: In the early 1908s, companies began analyzing their customer information for customization purposes.

Late 1980s

Contact Management Software: The rise of the PC in the late 1980s meant companies could digitize the information on their Rolodexes.

Early 1990s

Sales Force Automation: By the early 1990s, software was developed that enabled sales teams to make their processes more efficient using their customer data.


CRM! The acronym “CRM” was coined in 1995.


Mobile & SaaS: As the century came to a close and eCommerce became more prevalent, the first mobile and SaaS CRM products were introduced.


The CRM Boom: CRM is growing in importance. But why? The answer is data.


Interesting Customer Data and CRM Facts

  • 90% of all of the data in the world has been generated over the last few years.
  • 74% of CRM users say their CRM systems offer improved access to customer data.
  • The CRM industry is predicted to be an $81.9B market by 2025
    75% of CRM is cloud-based

Onboarding CRM for the Full Picture

Today, the role of the CRM is far greater than simply tracking customer information or executing email campaigns. CRM software fosters better marketing campaigns across a variety of digital channels by enabling:

  • Precise Targeting
  • Segmentation
  • Personalization

To paint a full picture of their customers and optimize their digital campaigns using CRM, marketers can upload their offline customer data and connect it to digital environments. This process is called data onboarding.

Challenges & Benefits to CRM Marketing

Activating CRM data across marketing channels is not without its challenges. Marketers still struggle with:

  • Bringing their offline customer information online
  • Eliminating silos within their organizations
  • Lack of advanced customer intelligence technologies

But despite these challenges, above all, CRM data paves a path for advertisers to shift to one-to-one, personalized marketing at massive scale. People-based marketing has doubled or tripled conversion rates for advertisers compared to traditional cookie-based methods.

Marketers today need to deliver relevance and maximize their ad budgets in an increasingly digital world. By using the CRM data they already own, marketers can reduce ad waste, delight customers and earn long-term brand loyalty through personalized, seamless and relevant experiences.