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World's Largest Producer of Martial Arts Gear Will Punch Up Its Marketing Programs With Microsoft Dynamics CRM

With Microsoft technology, Century Martial Arts expects to improve the way it meets customized needs of thousands of martial art

REDMOND, Wash., June 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced that Century Martial Arts Supply, the world's largest manufacturer of martial arts, mixed martial arts, boxing and fitness equipment, has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to provide customer information on a more detailed level than was available with its previous systems. Century's customers include thousands of martial arts schools globally for which the company supplies equipment, curriculum programs, trade-show events and customized products.

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides powerful, role-based customer relationship management capabilities. Century will integrate it with the company's current Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 business management solution and its Microsoft Office and Microsoft Exchange Server.

Century, with more than 300 employees based at its Oklahoma City manufacturing and distribution center, sells products through catalogs and the Web as well as through sporting-goods chains.

"We wanted to get to know our customers better," said Paul Webb, vice president of Information Technology at Century Martial Arts. "Dramatic differences exist among our customers -- for example between a karate school and a jujitsu school. We wanted to know how to help them better with their businesses, and that meant we had to understand their needs and buying patterns over multiple dimensions -- sizes, colors and versions. Microsoft Dynamics CRM will dramatically improve our understanding of each customer on an individual basis."

Previously, Century had examined historical purchases, buying trends, surveys and feedback from customers and focus groups to gather business intelligence, compiling spreadsheets, reports and analytics. Century needed more extensive reporting, however, to achieve its goal of taking a more proactive approach in suggestive selling to customers, and to increase brand loyalty.

Century Martial Arts considered Salesforce.com and SugarCRM open-source software before determining that Microsoft Dynamics CRM would best meet its needs.

"Besides being competitively priced, Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrated into our existing Microsoft architecture, its functionality and ease of use were attractive, and other Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers that we interviewed gave it extremely high marks on productivity," Webb said.

Century selected Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Tribridge Inc. to assist with the implementation of the technology. Working with Tribridge, Century will plan implementation of the marketing aspects of Microsoft Dynamics CRM that will be used by the marketing and sales staff members conducting outbound calls and visits. Century expects to refine its marketing campaigns to ensure that they are reaching the right customers and prospects, that the marketing messages are timely and appealing, that their efforts are compelling to customers, and that they build the company's brand.

Century Martial Arts anticipates that Microsoft Dynamics CRM will benefit the organization in a number of ways:

-- Support for company growth. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is expected to help Century increase sales, because the company will be able to hone its marketing efforts to the unique needs of various sectors of its customer base. The technology will form one of the pillars of the company's ability to gather information that will equip its sales and marketing staff members more effectively than before.

-- Improved return on marketing investments. The company will be able to spend marketing and advertising dollars more wisely and thereby should obtain a higher return on the resources it invests in those areas. It also will have the capability to introduce new marketing methods in the future through e-mail campaigns and other programs based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM functionality.

-- Time savings. The organization expects to be able to analyze its results more readily and respond more rapidly to developments in the marketplace. When it runs a marketing campaign, Century will be able to measure its effectiveness quickly and fine-tune subsequent campaigns. This heightened effectiveness also is expected to save the company money in its marketing budget, because it will be able to target its programs more precisely.

-- Improved reporting. Microsoft Dynamics CRM will furnish Century with timelier reporting at a more detailed level than was previously available to the organization. With dashboards, it also will provide better and more up-to-date business intelligence than the company previously could gather. With the reporting from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Century will be able to analyze the buying patterns of different schools and work with customers on missed opportunities for volume discounts and other savings.

-- Better data management. Century anticipates that its new Microsoft technology will increase the integrity of its data as well as the amount of data the organization can manage.

-- Better planning data. Over time, as Century records more information in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM database, it will gain insights to help it plan and execute sales, marketing and advertising better than before, because executives will be able to see which campaigns and offers are working the best.

-- Integration across the company. All aspects of the company are expected to benefit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the way it will integrate with Microsoft Dynamics AX and Century's forecasting capabilities.

-- Improved use of IT staff. Because Microsoft Dynamics CRM will allow sales and marketing personnel to produce their own reports and make most changes to formatting, such as adding a tab or a field, the administrative burden on Century's IT staff is lightened. The IT staff now can work on transitioning to new technologies and capabilities while non-IT staff takes ownership of their own data.

"An organization like Century Martial Arts, which operates as a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler and retailer, requires a deep and individualized understanding of its thousands of customers, each with its own needs," said Michael Park, corporate vice president for U.S. Dynamics business at Microsoft. "Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides the customer with intelligence and ease of use that make such a deep comprehension of customer preferences and buying patterns possible in a timely manner."

About Century Martial Arts

What started 30 years ago as a passion for the martial arts and an opportunity to market uniforms has evolved into what is now Century Martial Art Supply, LLC, the world's largest martial arts supplier. Our 30 years of innovation, attention to detail, and customer service is unmatched in nearly any industry. Our customers know we serve them with unparalleled experience, knowledge and professional expertise. For more information, visit http://www.centurymartialarts.com/.

About Tribridge, Inc.

Tribridge is a Gold Certified, nationally recognized Microsoft consulting firm that implements, secures and supports business applications and was recently named Microsoft Dynamics U.S. Partner of the Year. Tribridge experts deliver proven products and services bringing together experienced professionals and established methodologies to generate practical results for customers. Since inception nearly a decade ago, Tribridge has a 100% "go live" rate on business application implementations including Microsoft Dynamics ERP, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft SharePoint, custom software applications and infrastructure and security technology. For more information, visit http://www.tribridge.com/.

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of financial, customer relationship and supply chain management solutions that helps businesses work more effectively. Delivered through a network of channel partners providing specialized services, these integrated, adaptable business management solutions work like and with familiar Microsoft software to streamline processes across an entire business.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft Corp.

CONTACT: Liz Pandzich of Airfoil Public Relations, +1-248-304-1444,
Pandzich@airfoilpr.com, for Microsoft Corp.

Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/

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