The reason email is such a vital element of CRM strategies is that it offers measurable syndication in a very targeted, time-controlled manner. The reason social media strategies fit so well into this mix is that they offer access to very cost-effective means of capturing unstructured data on customer opinion, behavior and interactions to balance the empirical conversion-oriented program view. It is the viral marketing perfect storm marketers have wanted for years. Social media is an inexpensive means of reaching your customers through a multitude of events, causes, promotions and syndication. In layman's terms, it's a cheap reach, syndication and feedback loop -- sound like another channel we talk about a lot?
The challenges marketers will face as they evolve their social media strategies and try to create sustainability to the channel is: How do you mine unstructured data efficiently into usable, actionable information? It's such a manual process today.
I love the term social CRM. While some CRM technology companies have actually productized this term, to me it means developing CRM programs that take advantage of the essence of what makes social media so effective, but using the same framework for planning, measurement and action that is ingrained in CRM planning.
Today, we know many things about the customer through a segmentation lens; we know Personal information, Profile information, Preferential information and Performance-related information around consumption patterns and attitudes; the Four Ps, as I like to call them. With email, we have a very tactical-level behavioral view that balances some of the assumptions we made about how to monetize our customers.
The next generation of this analysis will be the addition of social segments to help us understand, within our traditional customer segments, which of these customers have direct value as a consumer of goods, a secondary value as an evangelist/contributor to the brand, a syndication value as a social connector, and the appropriate channels for the type of information they will consume and share.
Yesterday, we housed one email address for a customer; today the average consumer has 2.7 email addresses, for work, home, promotions and social communications. Tomorrow, we may store MySpace, Twitter and Facebook IDs as our syndication options will grow and we try to link social interaction with conversion and marketing interaction.
The major challenges I see us facing with Social CRM are:
1. How do you develop actionable information from these events and interactions?
2. How do you operationalize the processes and mobilize into CRM efforts?
3. Who in your organization owns the evolution of this channel? (PR, DM, eCRM?)
All are great topics and we'll be tackling them at the Email Insider Summit next month. Hope you can join us.