How does a Customer Communication Management (CCM) platform relate to tools such as CRM and Marketing Automation?

A relevant question. Especially for those who are not very familiar with CCM, these tools seem seemingly similar. And, apart from the fact that all three tools send communication to respondents and/or customers, there are indeed major differences. In this article we provide more insight into the similarities, differences and areas of application.

Let’s first take a closer look at the three concepts.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The purpose of CRM is to manage customer data. In addition to the customer’s basic (name and address) data, all functional and transactional data are also maintained and stored, such as communications, contracts, letters, etc. Nowadays, in CRM tools you also see extensive functionality for storing prospects, lead lists, sales funnels and options to print letters, send emails, post messages on social media and connect to a telephone exchange.

Marketing Automation (MA)

Marketing Automation is mainly used by marketers. Within this tool, leads are segmented, tracked and emailed with the aim of converting them into customers. It is a platform in which you actively work on marketing campaigns. Marketing automation is therefore mainly aimed at approaching groups of prospects and converting them into qualified leads. Marketing Automation tools also use communication channels. The focus is mainly on e-mail and social media.

Customer Communication Management (CCM)

CCM focuses on managing customer communications. It involves creating, managing and delivering personalized communications to customers via all conceivable channels, such as email, SMS, print, WhatsApp and digital platforms. CCM platforms are an extension of ERP and CRM packages that provide data and information with which the CCM platform creates messages and documents using templates and can send them to large groups of customers via the most suitable communication scenario via various channels.

These are important components at CCM:

  • creating a wide variety of (complex) documents,
  • easily setting up smart, automated, data-driven, closed-loop communication scenarios that promote the effectiveness of communication,
  • actually send in an omni-channel way via all conceivable channels, including mail and my environments.

Communication can be automatically enriched with, for example, payment links, accessibility and advanced forms solutions.

Similarities and differences

Both CRM, MA and CCM have functions that facilitate (outbound) communication with customers. MA is strongly focused on lead generation and CRM and CCM are more focused on existing relationships.

CRM is basically aimed at collecting and recording (all) customer data. This includes name and address details, contracts, letters, messages and customer contacts with employees of the organization. In addition, many CRM tools now also contain various communication functionalities.

Marketing Automation helps companies automate repetitive tasks, personalized communications and gain insights by measuring and optimizing marketing campaigns. Good marketing automation software helps you identify your audience, design the right content and automatically activate actions based on schedules and customer behavior. With marketing automation you can approach customers through automated messages via email, internet and social media.

CCM can send much more complex messages omni-channel, i.e. via e-mail, SMS, WhatsApp, a my environment, the government message box and by mail. This makes a CCM platform more suitable for personalized customer communication and more transactional communication where many official messages and documents need to be created, sent and archived..


Both MA and CCM (usually) need data from customers and prospects. After all, without an e-mail address, telephone number or postal address, no message can be sent. Most MA and CCM platforms can be linked to a CRM system, so that CRM can serve as the basis for all customer data. Data generated during customer communication in MA and CCM platforms can then be stored and archived in the CRM system.

In addition, MA will typically be applied to marketing campaigns via email, websites and social media, while CCM is used in ongoing communication with existing customers via a wide range of channels such as email, SMS, the my environment and mail.

Customer lifecycle

If we look at the entire customer lifecycle, from awareness/attract to nurture & grow phase and ultimately any off-boarding, the emphasis is on the different applications in different phases of this cycle.

A lot of time and energy is usually invested in attracting new customers. This is the domain of Marketing Automation supported by CRM. Often fewer resources and money are invested in strengthening the customer relationship, retention and increasing customer involvement with the brand. In this domain, CCM plays a major role by communicating with the customer in a smart and personalized omni-channel way and by integrating communications sent by multiple departments (silos) and reinforcing each other. An important phase in the customer relationship as retention, upselling and cross-selling contribute substantially to the operating result at relatively low costs compared to attracting new customers.

In short, CRM, MA and CCM have overlapping functionality but differ from each other with their own focus and competencies. The platforms can be used side by side and can reinforce each other, if properly applied and integrated. Use CRM to manage customer data, the analytical power of MA to strengthen marketing campaigns and lead generation, and strengthen customer relationships, brand experience and retention through personalized omni-channel communication with existing customers through the use of CCM.

Eclipse CCMaaS

Eclipse offers a CCM platform as a hosted managed solution. This means that a set-up SaaS platform is ready for you and that you can quickly get started with personalized customer communication. Would you like to know more about our CCM platform? Click here.

Or contact us directly.