CRM and Email Marketing. Are They Any Different?

marketing automation

CRM systems and email marketing are two tools that businesses can use to boost their marketing initiatives and customer relationships. They serve similar purposes of managing customer expectations, experience, and satisfaction. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems manage current and prospective customer relationships. 

The core basis of CRMs is the quality and relevance of information collected from interactions with customers.

Email marketing is how businesses continuously reach out to current and prospective customers via email. Email marketing provides the avenue to provide content to your audience. Although it is not an automation tool, email marketing can be automated. 

Since both platforms manage customer relationships, it can be tempting to choose one over the other, to save costs and time. But that shouldn’t be the case. Both CRMs and email marketing bring unique values to your business. 

This article will delve deeper into both strategies, analyzing key similarities and differences and helping you design systems to integrate both.  

Key similarities between CRM and Email marketing


Both CRM and email marketing run on customer information. They both have to gather information on different aspects of customers and their interactions with the company. 

That may include demographics, location, contacts, purchase history, and interactions with representatives. All this information and reports are critical in making marketing and business decisions. 


Secondly, CRM and email marketing both run as automated systems. In the past, businesses depended more on manual tasks. But, with advancements in technology, CRM and email marketing can manage many of these tasks with minimal human assistance.

Businesses can set up parameters for CRM systems that collect relevant information. Similarly, they can program email features on third-party apps to send messages or track metrics at specific times.


CRM and email marketing are both cost-effective methods of relationship management. Due to automation, you need fewer employees to undertake lead generation, individual lead nurturing, or report writing. 

Additionally, they reduce spending on marketing campaigns requiring physical promotion. With fewer costs in labour and running campaigns, you can keep more revenue as profits. 

Key differences

CRM and email marketing mainly vary in purpose and functionality. CRM focuses on managing relationships between the business and customers while email marketing reaches out and engages customers. 

Data collection

CRM collects different customer information, including contacts, frequency of engagement with the business, social media activity, and product or service preferences. This information helps firms understand their customers better and personalise their offerings to suit their individual needs. 

Additionally, your business can generate reports to reveal specific relevant customer information to allow better business decision-making. 

On the other hand, email marketing is the foot soldier of CRM. While CRM collects information, email marketing contacts, and communicates with the customer. It is an essential tool in generating leads and maintaining communication. 

Email marketing can then facilitate relevant communication to different customers to draw their interest with information stored through CRM.

Customer journey

Email marketing software are critical at the top or bottom of the funnel. It is primarily a communication tool and thus focuses on lead generation and nurturing processes.

On the other hand, CRMs store data to maximize customer relationships. As such, they are most critical at the bottom or middle of the funnel when they can consolidate customer data to facilitate lead conversions.

Scope of use

The marketing department mainly uses email marketing for communication. So, unless integrated with other functions, its use of often unidirectional.

Meanwhile, CRM systems provide customer information to multiple departments, including sales and marketing. Therefore, CRM systems are more comprehensive tools.

CRM and Email marketing integration

Since CRM and email marketing seem to offer great value to businesses, they are better together. Companies that enjoy greater benefits from CRM and email marketing integrate both within their processes. 

CRM - Email marketing

Since they feed off each other, CRM and email marketing together deliver better business results in productivity, sales, and profits. Some of the benefits this integration can offer include:

Precise and targeted emails to customers 

CRM provides information on the purchase history and communication channels of a customer. Therefore, your business can customize its email marketing messages to suit specific customer preferences. With more customized emails, you can increase engagement and even conversions.

Connects marketing channels to data

CRM and email marketing integration keep relevant customer data that allows easy access from any department, including marketing. It will enable marketers to create customer segments and specific tactics and emails to respond to similar customer queries or inquiries. 

Automates tasks

CRM monitors customer behaviour which will assist your business to generate automated relevant and effective emails to customer queries and inquiries. 

Both systems can collectively ensure customer actions (e.g., cart abandonment) are accounted for and respond accordingly. So welcome emails, discount emails, follow-ups, etc., all go out as intended. All this without hiring extra personnel.

Greater Analytics capacity

Email marketing systems can provide you with reports about your campaign performance like bounce rates, click-throughs, etc. Yet, CRM reporting features consolidate these with customer data to help you identify loopholes in your strategy. 

Such analysis and comparison will help you create more effective and conversion-focused campaigns. 

However, such comprehensive systems are often best suited for bigger teams and companies. Small businesses could do well with automated email marketing systems since they may not utilize all CRM system functionalities effectively.

Final thoughts

Businesses that integrate CRM and email marketing tools are more likely to get the best out of their marketing efforts. CRM and email marketing tools make collecting, monitoring, and efficient customer data much easier. 

Both tools facilitate customer experience as a result.

They can be helpful separately. Yet, both tools generate greater business productivity, better information analysis and decision-making, better customer relationships, and greater sales and profits. 

The primary task is to find appropriate CRM and email marketing tools that you can easily integrate. Comprehensive systems like Sharpspring provide all such functionalities in one system, saving you time and money.

Check out how it works with a free demo or reach out to our marketing automation experts.


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About the Author

Priscilla Achieng

Priscilla Achieng is a lead Technical Content Writer at Funnelbud. A Content marketing professional by day, a passionate soccer fan by night, she also provides copywriting and SEO services for businesses of all sizes.