“In the end, we’ll all become stories” – Margaret Atwood

I have been thinking… You guys read my blog, and I try and advise you on how to tell your own brand stories based on my own personal experiences, but you actually don’t know my story. So how would know that what I write will work and is not just based on something out of a textbook? Do I really have any practical experience?

Well, here is my story.

My name is Karlien van Zyl, and I have a Master’s Degree in Strategic Marketing. For the past four years I have been working in the automotive industry for a luxury brand. And for about the last year and a half I have been running the customer relationship management (CRM) part of our marketing department. Now, you might ask what CRM has got to do with strategic marketing… Well, CRM is more than just dealing with customers and their complaints, and managing customer relationships with our brand.

There is lot of market research and problem solving (aka marketing strategies) involved. You don’t just deal with a complaint, you find the core problem for why customers are complaining, and then you develop the appropriate strategic plan to change this problem area or weak point in the company into a strength. Now this whole process should be seen an opportunity to improve the company and aligning its business objectives with the needs of the customers. After all, there will be no company without its customers…

Other than that, demographic profiling and segmentation of a customer database based on their buying behaviors and leisure activities can assist with developing successful marketing campaigns to attract the correct prospect pool to buy into our luxury brand. And this can get very tricky to initiate and manage when you take into consideration our country’s tough economical circumstances. But on the other hand, be positive and use this opportunity to get a little more creative with strategies and campaigns, without coming forth as desperate off course.

I can go on and on about how CRM is related to strategic marketing – it is a true passion of mine. I decided to become a strategic marketer because I just love a good challenge and I enjoy being part of solving problems. Every challenge, and every problem has a story to tell and that is why I truly belief that whenever you work on a strategic plan to the fun theorykeep that story in mind and make it part of the solution. Don’t ever hide the problem – take it by the horns and show your customers that you can deal with it in a professional manner instead of hiding it.

I guess that is my story… I might not have 20 years worth of experience, but I have learned a lot in the past four years and I am still learning something new every day. And I hope that by sharing my experience with you that it can help you in some way or another.


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