Social CRM Is Coming -- Are You Ready?

For a long time, customers have made it clear that if brands want to capture their attention in the inbox, those brands should have something valuable to say. Not just valuable information, but information that is valued by the individual recipient. In other words, a brand’s messages should be individually relevant.

This is a high standard for any brand. Most cannot live up to these expectations. A few have set up dynamic marketing programs which use each customer’s known interactions with the brand to predict what else might be relevant. Brands that are able to run these programs generally see a positive ROI as purchases go up. Yet these programs are only as effective as the customers’ level of known engagement with the brand. So only a small universe of customers (including “look alikes”) will receive relevant communications. Consequently, the ROI impact is small relative to its potential.

A small universe is not enough. As marketers, we seek to expand that universe so we can be relevant to a greater number of our customers and achieve a broader ROI impact. Fortunately, a new set of tools is just beginning to emerge, which will help us reach a greater number of customers with relevant messages.

These new tools are going to create a new sub-industry known as Social CRM.  Social CRM is going to help us listen to our customers and give them the relevant messages they want. It is also going to help us partner with our customers to make our products and services better.

By partnering with our customers, we can create products and services which more closely match to customer needs. Some of those customers will let their friends know about these great new products and services because they are relevant and have value. In turn, some of their friends will become our customers, and will opt-in to receiving relevant communications from us, and to sharing their public musings.

By listening to what our customers say in public, we can adapt our messages and make our email communications more relevant. This can only be done with customers. This can only be done with customers who opt min to this type of communication. And this can only be done with an understanding of where to draw the line on privacy. But because this is a new source of data, we have just expanded the universe of customers whom we can speak to as if we were their next door neighbor or friend.

Going forward, the brands we each interact with (and opt-in to) will be respectfully listening to what we say in public. And they’ll be changing the messages they send us to make sure they are as relevant as possible.

Customers have demanded relevance for years. Are they ready? Are you?

Recommend (10) Print RSS
3 comments about "Social CRM Is Coming -- Are You Ready?".
  1. Jordan Cohen from Pontiflex , January 4, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.
    Nicely written and thought provoking article, as usual, Gretchen. 2 responses: 1) How many marketers are/will actually incorporate "social CRM" into their email marketing strategies? Seems to me that many (if not most) marketers still struggle with using their own website and email clickstream data to enhance email segmentation and relevancy, so how likely is it that folks will take such a giant leap as to include "public" social data into their content decisioning? 2) Assuming that a few elite marketers do begin to leverage this so-called "public" data, is it the wise or the right thing to do? Just because Joe the Plumber's tweets are public for all the world to see, should we as marketers feel safe to make the assumption that he realizes and expects -- let alone embraces -- the notion that we will be observing his tweets and using them in our efforts to sell him stuff? Kudos on starting an important conversation. I hope the industry will have it and take it seriously. Respectfully, -Jordan
  2. Gretchen Scheiman from L5 Direct Consulting, Inc. , January 9, 2012 at 1:40 p.m.
    Hi Jordan, thanks for the very insightful response. Agreed that a lot of marketers are still struggling with the basics. But today's article from Morgan Stewart pointed to at least one company that could make it easier for mid-size companies to get the basics nailed down much more easily. So I think this stuff is coming, it'll just take longer to get it productionalized and easy to implement. As for your second question - you're right that there are HUGE privacy implications here. This pretty much lives at an intersection of public opinion where people say, "Make it more relevant" and yet also say, "I want my privacy". So finding that balance is going to be key. Note that in my article, I was careful to point to opt-in and permissioning as a starting point for this.
  3. John Paterson from Morleyt , January 16, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
    The time for Social CRM is already upon us. 550,000 new Android and 550,000 new IPhones are activated everyday...more than tne net adds of humans to the planet everyday. Some of the problems are, according to a survey by Accenture, 75% of companies don't know where their cuctomers are listening to them and 23% are using social analytic tools to disect the conversations to find out what it is their customers are telling them.