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The Lyrics of a CRM Solution

by Chris Martins, Product Marketing Manager, Trillium Software

MusicandlyricsThere’s a story dating back 65 years that involves the musical writing team of [Richard] Rodgers and [Oscar] Hammerstein and South Pacific, one of their many Broadway hits. Though perhaps apocryphal, the story nicely illustrates a theme that I believe is as much applicable to CRM as it is to Broadway musicals. For those who have not attended a performance or seen the film, South Pacific was based on James Michener’s Pulitzer Prize winning “Tales of the South Pacific”, a collection of stories about World War II that wove in a strong message about racial tolerance, or the lack thereof. The musical opened on Broadway in April of 1949 and, like their two previous collaborations (Oklahoma and Carousel), it was an immediate hit.

Back in the day, Broadway was a far more prominent part of the entertainment industry and a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical triggered lots of acclaim, including celebratory parties that often were attended by New York’s society elite.  One such party was held in honor of South Pacific’s creators and prominent cast members who were joined by their respective spouses and many of those aforementioned elites.  At one point during the party, several people gathered around the wives of Rodgers and Hammerstein and were offering gushing praise about the musical, but with a particular attention to one song, Some Enchanted Evening. 

“Oh Mrs. Rodgers, what a song!  You must be thrilled that your husband could write such a wonderful song!” said one party-goer.  

But at that point, the wife of lyricist Hammerstein no longer could keep quiet and she interjected rather tartly, “But her husband did not write Some Enchanted Evening, mine did.  Her husband wrote ‘da, da, dah, da da, dah!’ (humming the wordless melody.) 

Her comment targeted the perception of many people – then and now - who think of a song solely in terms of the music (and the composer), and tend to take the lyrics for granted.  But unless the song is an instrumental, it is the combination of lyrics and music that makes the song what it can be – and what we remember long after.  

The idea of success being attributable to two complementary components working harmoniously is something that applies to CRM, as well.  Far too often, the focus of CRM is on the coding, interface and business logic of the solution.  They are very important, no doubt.  But without the customer data – accurate and complete customer data – effectively the lyrics - your CRM efforts will lack the ability to deliver the business benefits that it was designed to do. 

A Broadway song might seem a bit over the top as a metaphor, but it perhaps it will spark some consideration of data when you compile the essential requirements for a successful CRM solution.  After all, what you rather be singing?  Some Enchanted Evening or “Da, da, da, da, dah, da”?