The vision of multichannel CRM is of a business where every channel touchpoint is enabled with common customer information and is able to receive and process response data from customers. Supposedly, this results in increased customer acquisition, satisfaction, wallet share and retention ­ the multichannel value proposition. While there is empirical evidence that this is true, there has been little theoretical backing to validate it so that multichannel CRM success can be understood and repeatable. This article will examine a new theoretical basis for the multichannel value proposition and look at examples from business and the natural sciences that provide both strategic guidance and a metaphor ­ diffuse feedback ­ to understand why multichannel CRM really works.

Complex marketing can be described as the nearly intractable dilemma faced by corporate marketers who must formulate and integrate a coherent customer relationship management strategy across multiple products, multiple business units, multiple delivery channels, large numbers of customers and frequently overlapping or conflicting goals for customers, all in a dynamic and shifting competitive milieu such as the global economy affords. It is a dilemma faced by most of the Fortune 1000 companies.

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