This year, the Swiss CRM Forum took place for the 20th time. For the first time, the event was held online and in a shortened form, but it still offered the usual cutting-edge content. After a keynote by Scott Brinker of Chief Marketing Technologist, Robert Schumacher, Director at gateB, hosted a panel discussion about the tension between marketing and technology with experts from the field. Contribution by Charlotte Malz, BSI. 

Sarah Kreis, Communication & Fundraising at Terre des Hommes Switzerland; Bettina Weber, Head of the Royal Club at Swiss Casinos; Tobias Mäder, Digital Transformation Leader at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions; and Nadim Diethelm, CX/CRM Expert at BSI, answered questions. Here are the most important takeaways from the panel discussion:

Lived technology

The panel participants agreed: just introducing a software solution is not enough. On the contrary, only then does the real work begin. In numerous CRM and marketing automation projects, Nadim Diethelm, BSI, experienced how important it is to accompany customers not only up to the go-live, but also beyond. “Customers and we as technology partners benefit equally from the close cooperation and the exchange of know-how," he said. He is convinced that "software has to be lived." 

Bettina Weber, Swiss Casinos, emphasized the important role of the technology partner in challenging ideas. This dialogue is crucial, especially in technology projects with only a small internal team. Because, in her experience, there is often a lack of suitable in-house sparring partners for martech experts like her "who like to turn marketing upside-down and deal with processes and databases."

Institutional Readiness

It is key to include all employees in digitization projects. And the commitment of top management is also crucial. This was unanimously confirmed by all interviewees when it came to the question of how companies can get prepared for technological change.

Sarah Kreis, Terres des Homme Switzerland, has found that it is difficult to change something from the bottom up. It is much easier if the management also pushes the topic. Bettina Weber emphasized the importance of clear responsibilities and quick decision-making channels. Because here, too, "Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Interaction between marketing and IT

When asked by panel moderator Robert Schumacher about who had the upper hand in software projects in companies — marketing or IT — Tobias Mäder, Swiss Re, replied that he had actually consistently experienced a "harmonious interaction" between the two departments. However, he underscored the importance of giving technical experts access to data so that they can work with it. Nadim Diethelm is convinced, "Those who are close to the customer should design the customer journeys and IT should then implement the processes."

One-fits-all vs. best-of-breed

Do you get all of your martech from a single source, or do you build your own stack? Here, the podium guests discussed the pros and cons of both options. Bettina Weber posed the question of whether a company can even assess whether their independently selected modules are suitable and really meet their requirements. But as nice as the idea of ​​an all-in-one solution may be, unfortunately, they have yet to find it. 

Sarah Kreis tends towards "one system for everything." If you don't have the appropriate specialists in-house who can actively look after a stack, things can quickly become confusing.

Tobias Mäder, on the other hand, emphasized how important a modular approach is for software providers so that companies can flexibly expand their landscape and only have what they really need.

The golf course vs. the martech landscape


Nadim Diethelm noted that the vendor overviews are certainly not a bad way to orient yourself to the martech landscape, but with the immense amount, "your head smokes." Personal advice is needed. Tobias Mäder spoke up in defense of vendor overviews and said that one had to "get away from the golf course." Sarah Kreis revealed that their decision-making was “a mixture of golf course and benchmarking," i.e., they chose the solution partner based on existing contacts combined with an evaluation of the solutions that other NGOs are using. Bettina Weber also emphasized the importance of personal relationships and trust in the decision-making process.


The expert panel once again showed that every company has to go its own way on the learning curve with digitization. That said, the challenges related to data (intelligence), automation (efficiency), and personalization (relevance) are the same.

Robert Schumacher

Director, gateB


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