The NCDM Winter Conference, held at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, from December 9-12, 2003, was an action-packed three days of presentations, networking opportunities and vendor expositions and demonstrations. Program tracks covered a variety of subjects including beginner and advanced database marketing concepts, business-to-business marketing, systems and technologies, database marketing management challenges and customer relationship management (CRM) issues.

Elevating marketing from an isolated departmental activity to one that is conducted on an enterprise level was a strong theme in this winter’s conference. In keeping with this evolving focus, much discussion was devoted to ensuring that marketing activities facilitate enterprise CRM strategies. CRM warranted both a well-attended program track and the conference opening keynote presentation. In their session on CRM Fundamentals, Claudia Imhoff and Lisa Loftis of Intelligent Solutions highlighted the key role that customer analytics play in driving CRM strategy. They also outlined the four critical success factors required to transition to a customer focus and to fully leverage marketing activities. These include: Implementing a coordinated, customer-focused business strategy; creating a CRM-friendly organization structure; establishing a CRM-savvy organization culture; and implementing an integrated customer information environment.

Tony LoFrumento, executive director of CRM for Morgan Stanley reinforced the CRM concepts highlighted by Imhoff and Loftis in his keynote presentation titled “Building a Genuinely Customer-Focused Organization to Lift Customer Retention, Loyalty and Profitability.” Mr. LoFrumento stated that customer- focused organizations will be not only the winners but also the survivors in these uncertain economic times. Morgan Stanley understands that organizing around the customer requires that customer-centric information must exist and have built and widely deployed a business intelligence system (BIS) to facilitate this transition. In an effort to overcome the difficulties associated with integrating across functional silos, they are also implementing a new set of measures including a balanced scorecard that focuses equally on customer, financial measures, internal business processes and organizational learning and growth.

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