In previous issues, this column has concentrated on the newest customer relationship management (CRM) technologies and how they affect the roles, responsibilities and challenges of marketers. In this and future issues, the focus shifts to the marketers themselves — what they do and how they do it — as much as the technology. The reason is that in my consulting work, I find too much emphasis being placed on technology. It becomes the sole focus of CRM initiatives, when new thinking is actually required as much as new technology.

This focus on technology persists despite evidence that CRM initiatives often fail to reach their financial objectives (over 50 percent of the time, according to Gartner) for reasons other than technical limitations. Failure frequently stems from a mix of two other factors:

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