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Golf club maker uses Kana CRM to lower customer handicaps

TaylorMade-Adidas Golf was having trouble keeping up with customer e-mail and estimating the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns. New CRM software has the company's e-mail marketing manager sleeping better at night.

With economic turmoil making competition for consumer dollars more cutthroat, golf club and equipment manufacturer TaylorMade-Adidas Golf is using CRM software from Kana to keep customer relations on course.

Carlsbad, Calif.-based TaylorMade-Adidas Golf is a subsidiary of Adidas-Salomon AG in Germany, the second largest maker of sporting goods in the world behind Nike Inc. And while the company enjoys worldwide recognition as one of the top designers of high-end golfing equipment, executives admit that until recently they had issues keeping up with customers.

"We were sending customers a lot of information, and we were receiving a lot of e-mail from customers, but we had no idea how effective we were at target marketing or customer service," said TaylorMade global e-marketing manager Rob McClellan.

McClellan said the firm receives about 300 e-mails per day from golfers, ranging from PGA Tour pros to duffers just getting into the game. The company also creates special offers to target different sectors of the wide range of golfers it serves.

"Our priority was handling inbound e-mail and outbound promotions more effectively," McClellan said. "Customer service suffered when requests were lost in the system and we had no idea who was buying in on marketing campaigns."

To begin creating its CRM strategy in 2001, TaylorMade looked to its sister companies within Adidas-Salomon for advice. Both the Adidas America and the Salomon Ski units were using technologies made by Menlo Park, Calif.-based Kana Software Inc., and TaylorMade liked what it saw.

After observing Kana software at work and mulling offerings from vendors including RightNow Technologies Inc. and Siebel Systems Inc., TaylorMade decided to invest in Kana's iCare package of CRM tools, specifically in marketing and customer service.

Impressively, McClellan said implementation of the Kana tools early in 2002 took only four weeks, despite TaylorMade's commitment to host new CRM applications both for the Adidas America unit and its own enterprise software. McClellan estimates spending in the "low six figure range" and adds that the CRM project came in $10,000 under budget, a first in his career.

While TaylorMade did not employ traditional return-on-investment (ROI) modeling to gauge how successful its overall CRM effort has been, McClellan said there is no doubt the project is producing returns. On a practical level, he said, his company has doubled the number of customer service interactions it completes in a day without increasing internal employee headcount. TaylorMade also launched a set of customer satisfaction surveys that indicate increasing levels of overall satisfaction, he said.

The element of the software that McClellan appreciates most is its ability to create a daily ticker that flashes across his computer screen with updates on how many customer interactions his unit has handled.

"It helps me sleep better at night," he said.

Currently, TaylorMade is building a lead management system based on Kana technology that will allow golfers to begin a custom club-fitting process online that they can carry over to their local retailers. The company is also hoping to extend its contact management efforts sometime later this year, McClellan said.

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