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As the humorist Dana Gould once said, "if you can't laugh at yourself, then laugh at other people." Over the last decade and a half, the CRM industry has been giving Marshal Lager plenty to laugh at—and he's returned the favor by giving readers an insight into Customer Relationship Management laced with his often funny and always on-target insights.

"My guiding principle is, 'If you can't laugh about something, you probably lack perspective,'" says Lager. "Customers mock businesses all the time, even the ones they love. Couching my work in humor helps point out the unintended consequences of industry trends, and delivers it in a way that you'll remember."

Lager is best known for penning the "Pint of View" column on the last page of CRM Magazine, where he served as a senior editor until 2009. In addition to his column, he now runs Third Idea Consulting, allowing him to translate the customer-centric perspective he cultivated as a journalist into practical advice for businesses trying to better their CRM, social media and brand management efforts.

"Most of my focus is on social CRM practices and how the relationship between businesses and customers has changed," he says. "If I had to say what my significant contribution was to clients and readers, it would be presenting the material in a visceral and memorable way; facts and figures from BI (business intelligence) modeling are important, but I make it personal and relatable."

Lager slid into his role after a stint editing business advice books for Vault, Inc., where he also wrote two books on management and technology consulting. From there, he moved on to CRM Media, and apparently he caught on to the idea quickly. During his tenure, he earned three APEX Awards for his feature writing and for "Pint of View," and in 2010 he was honored with a Silver National Azbee Award in the humor column category.

How do you get humor out of CRM? It's not that hard, although it can be hard doing it without getting fired, he jokes. "'It's Hard Out Here for A Manager' was my breakout hit—the CRM angle as applied to sleazy pimps got a lot of laughs and a lot of feedback, and it's probably still my most read piece. 'Can Ya See the Real Me?' let me bring in one of my favorite bands—The Who—to rip into businesses' failure to learn what their customers want. See if you can find all the song references. And of course, there's 'Hear Kitty Kitty,' where I developed the best analogy for CRM miscommunication ever."

How does this translate into CRM consulting? Rather well, he says. "When you're face-down in some new corporate initiative, it's easy to see it as the most important thing in the world, with obvious benefits for everybody," he says. "You have to step back and see things from the customers' vantage point—they are the ones who have the final say in your success or failure, and they don't care about how the sausage is made."

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Marshall is a CRM thought leader like no other. His mix of humor, experience, insight and what at first seems like off beat analogies culminate to deliver memorable commentary, discoveries and lessons. Follow his musings for an undeniably unique perspective of the CRM and Social CRM industry.


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Address New York area
Contact +1.516.476.6696
Email [email protected]


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