The new year kicked off the announcement that Mark Cuban (read: guy with a basketball team, a crazy-good marketing blog, a failed bid for glory on “Dancing With the Stars,” a Bieber haircut and plenty of disposable income) just sunk a little pocket change into a new CRM-du-jour flavor of the month. (Nimble.)
The sudden thrash of interest in CRM is great for the industry but does this celebrity-come-lately-with-a-wallet investment mean that this is now the new focus for VC/PE/Angel types? (i.e., “today’s” Google, Napster, Groupon, mBlox, Yahoo, AOLTV circa 2001?) Or are we looking at something else; the possible category killer in the Saleforce.com contact management aggregator space?
Is this really (if you believe the press release hype), truly going to change the way we think about CRM and social media? Have you looked at this tool? Perhaps you should.
Web “purists” will tell you there is nothing “private” about social media at all; put a digital footprint out there anywhere on the web and it is cemented for all time like footprints in cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Web “capitalists,” however, will sit on your other shoulder and whisper in your ear that you, the social media participant have all assurances and control over info that is shared publicly. Well, looking at Cuban’s new toy tells me that CRM efforts (if it indeed goes this way) are now just a big classroom with desks too close together, making it easy to copy your neighbor’s paper … meaning you get one screen that allows you control to see every waking thought, check-in, musing, idea, movement, association and friend with anyone (customer, business target, colleague) on any platform you want to track. Yes, cyber-stalking possibly has a new nickname and that is C-R-M.
But wait; spin that around to the retailer, the CPG, the lead generator, the brand who uses CRM (as a methodology) to track customers and their online behavior (including social media participation) and maybe this is not such a bad thing. Could it be that Mr. Basketball is on to something? Could it be that the formerly ill-informed believer that CRM is a “one-finger-PHD” (push here dummy) tool was actually right all along?
Let us not forget that an additional “checkbook” underneath Cuban’s is Google. So not only are you able to see aggregated multi-platform feeds from your intended targets but “big-brother” also now has a little fox-in-the-henhouse control, data-scrape and fingerprint on this, too. (That thud you just heard was a few “purists” fainting…)
So where does this leave the CRM fan and expert who wants to maintain the delicate trust of their customers but dip deliciously into the cool new tools of knowing more than they did before about their customer? Hard to say at this point, but in this case being a bench-warmer on Cuban’s team may be your best bet. I don’t think being a starting point-guard for this game is well-advised. There is much to be uncovered with this tool that even their own marketing-speak didn’t address. However, as mentioned earlier, you, the social media user, are your own barrier to entry.
Remember, as with other tracking tools, mass customer databases, and behavioral targeting efforts, it’s only a matter of time before the privacy wonks, the media and the politicians get their seasoned, swollen red noses involved and in a huff.
And we all know what it smells like after going through the intestines of Washington, D.C., right?
You want to be a Maverick? Go right ahead – we’ll watch from the cheap seats.