If you have been tracking conversations around social media for business, you have undoubtedly come across people talking about Social CRM. Companies like Intuit, Procter & Gamble and Citigroup have embraced it in a big way and it seems like the natural next step to Customer Relationship Management information systems.
According to Gartner, social CRM will be a $1 billion sub-sector of the CRM market by the end of this year. The various sites, blogs and communities that comprise this arena represent the fastest growing areas of the Internet. According to Nielsen Online, social networks now reach more people than email.
Salesforce states that as the growth of social media explodes, service departments need to influence customer conversations. Integrating social media into the contact center is a huge opportunity—both to delight your customers and to save money.
SugarCRM has added social features, and is in a simple form that allows users to decide how they leverage social data and channels inside the Sugar system. For example, users can now monitor Twitter streams of their customers, as well as uncover leads and relationship data from networks like LinkedIn and place it into the CRM records.
CRM is still working through the implications of Social Networks. From my perspective, Social CRM has been defined in a restricted format by those that try to support and practice it, and we are yet to realize its true potential. No one has dared to define the scope and implement the tools to fully harness this marketing and PR power. Maybe it’s too soon?
I remember the early times of CRM – way before it became an acronym. Supply management system, accounting systems, sales force automation systems, ticket systems, the list is long. The madness that often came with these disjunctive systems was boggling. The duplication of effort was clearly prohibitive from a cost perspective, but at the time, the cost of missed opportunities was drastically higher, so the markets pushed it forward.
With new social spheres like Google+ popping up out of the woodworks, social data, marketing, and mining opportunities are growing exponentially and it has become equal madness to it’s predecessors. The market will carry the madness, however, eventually harnessing it into unfathomable opportunities.
What is the situation of your relationship with your client? If you are keeping up with the times, you have all sorts of digital relationships with them. Maybe you’re reaching out through advertising to bring them back to a website or micro websites. You’re probably conversing with them through a multitude of social media channels to invite them into dialogue. You could be directing them through their mobile devices in order to bring them in and reward their participation in loyalty programs. It’s also likely that some of you reading this are doing all of the above.
With all this interaction being digital, every message, every name, every campaign renders invaluable data that informs you about the nature of your client and your relationship with them; however much of this data is lost in cyberspace.
What are the semantics of what people are talking about in your demographic? What benefits do your service providers appreciate? What publications do your target market frequent? Where do they look for help? What drives them to repeat purchases? Who are their friends and acquaintances?
In this new world there are no limits to where and how the organization can find, engage and interact with the client. Wherever they are, whatever they are doing, it is possible to present them with a relevant experience, an appropriate call to action, an appealing value proposition. The advertising infrastructure has now become a customer relationship infrastructure, and it opens amazing new opportunities and possibilities.
Cyberspace technology is catching up, and even before the business is ready to take advantage of the benefits, we have a new set of offerings called Data Management Platforms (DMP). Yes, another acronym – talk to the geeks in charge. The rules are still being written on what a DMP is, but the essence here is that they are capable of capturing, rationalizing and merging all of these data points, enriching them with third party data and funneling it to where the data is actionable.
DMPs are just beginning, but there will be new tools popping up in the next few years with full comprehensive solutions for marketing. Regardless of how the channel shakes out, data will always be a key contributing factor to the success of modern campaigns, and, like always, marketing executives will be utilizing it’s potential.
Adobe, Lotame, BlueKai and others are pioneering this space, but on another level, small businesses are beginning to tap into this data and leverage it into leads and opportunities. It’ll be interesting to see what innovations come out of this in the near future.
Please feel free to comment below on where you think this area is going and/or how your business is currently leveraging this data.