What makes some startups so agile, creative and successful? Part of the secret is in their size: starting out small means that a small team—usually the core founders—have a hands-on understanding of all the company’s key issues and policies. Because everyone is involved in everything, knowledge and experience are not siloed in separate departments. As the company grows, there’s much more specialization, with many tasks fragmented across numerous staff or divisions. Agility and creativity are usually the first to take the hit.

Designing and executing customer marketing campaigns is a good case in point. In most large businesses, this is a multi-departmental mission, demanding the participation of various company functions. It typically starts with Marketing defining a campaign brief and sending it out to campaign managers. The campaign managers then define a query designed to select the appropriate customer groups, and yet someone else needs to manually upload the customer lists. It is then up to the creative team to come up with the right artwork. After the campaign is executed, it is the analytics team’s turn to analyze the results and come up with meaningful insights.

By this time, Marketing might already be sorry for coming up with the campaign idea in the first place: so many people are involved—with their demanding schedules and competing priorities—that weeks may transpire before a campaign is in the air. The slow execution cycle inevitably results in a stunted ideation cycle and customers who are chronically underwhelmed.

But the demand to move the needle doesn’t let up, and so Marketing is constantly scrambling to create an impact. They recognize many segments that are vying for marketing moves, but the cumbersome workflow kills in their tracks all initiatives that don’t promise significant results. And so Marketing is left seeking the “Big Campaign,” which always lacks in true personalization, and thus in relevance and effectiveness. It’s too little, too late, and too similar to what everyone else in the relevant ecosystem is shooting out.

Self-possessed marketing

Enter the new generation of data-driven CRM solutions. These automated platforms allow businesses to manage hundreds of distinct customer groups and ensure that each one receives the most relevant and effective campaign. This personalized approach, which works across every stage of each customer’s journey, maximizes customer satisfaction, engagement and revenue. Leveraging a customer-centric outlook, these technologies rely on deep segmentation capabilities that allow marketers to coordinate myriad personalized campaigns. With robust data and predictive analytical capabilities, these marketing tools are positioned to deliver agility, dexterity and control to marketing teams.

This new paradigm enables small, integrated CRM A-teams to manage workflows and execute campaigns from start to finish, without the need to outsource campaign components to a host of other departments. The CRM operator defines the brief and queries the appropriate segments accordingly (and since she has immediate insight into each segment’s behavior data, she’s able to perfect her targeting in real time). Her team then develops the creative, executes the campaign, and analyzes the results—thereby creating a learning loop that promotes increasingly better results over time. So, rather than the inter-departmental, heavy-duty operation that it often is, customer marketing becomes the agile, effective, creative and responsive powerhouse that it can be.

But the benefits don’t end there: the CRM software’s analytical capabilities allow the CRM team to execute campaigns against a control group, offering scientific measurement of each campaign’s success, and ways to improve its effectiveness. No longer does Marketing need to rely on pseudo-scientific success rates such as email open or click rates.

Enhanced customer relationships

The most significant upside of this encapsulated approach is the enhanced relationship between marketers and their customers, made possible by consistently personal, spot-on interactions. Such intimate, one-to-one communication endows brands with an aura of emotional intelligence, sensitivity, and customer-centricity that wins over customers’ hearts. In this sense, advanced, data-driven CRM is geared at generating a strategic uplift for your business.

Whether you’re a small business that can’t afford a multi-department marketing operation or a big business that can no longer suffer customer marketing driven by pre-millennium marketing ideas, you should start thinking about new-generation CRM solutions. It’s about changing the way you operate, getting more from your data, and increasing interactivity with happier customers.

It’s also about bringing agility, dexterity and control back to your marketing team.