CRM woos social media. Will the engagement last?
Customer relationship management (CRM) has been around the block with every new customer data point to emerge over the past few decades, so it was inevitable it would fix its eye on the data opportunities offered by marketing’s new darling, social media.
Some CRM experts are gaga over the relationship marketing possibilities of this union. Let’s take a brief look at previous dalliances in the CRM evolution.
The evolution of CRM
Technology has enabled marketers to take CRM from mass communication to targeted segmentation to the ideal of one-to-one communication. It has focused on important areas such as:
- Customer Service and its emphasis on retention
- Contact Management and its emphasis on lead management and sales force automation
- Loyalty Marketing with its emphasis on brand preference and customer lifetime value
- Voice of Customer research designed to reveal preferences in product/media channels
One thing these all have in common is managing customer interactions based on their transaction behaviors. They have given us ever more sophisticated ways to analyze, profile and understand customer groups.
With the element of engagement, social media offers a new layer of customer behavior data we can add to the equation. CRM experts have already begun to define a new social CRM, or SCRM. One approach to this is the Value TRInity, which integrates Transactional, Relationship and Influence analytics.
- Transactional data is based on traditional customer metrics around purchase behavior.
- Relationship data is a measure of sharing activity that relates to brand preference.
- Influence data is a score based on customer social media activity.
This article has some excellent case studies showing how this approach is being applied. Social media adds the relationship and influence factors into CRM.
How will SCRM impact customer relationships?
I think social media will force marketers to rethink the “M” in CRM. The word “management” suggests interaction FROM organizations TO the audience. Social media has consumed the interactive space. We must adapt to interaction WITH the audience.
Technology makes it easy to communicate when you wish and disengage at will
Much of the discussion about SCRM is now focused on data capture and establishing business rules for automated categorization and modeling customer groups into enterprise systems. The data is important, but we also need to think of customers as being more than personas or digital avatars. We need to put a heartbeat to the data.
The need for meaningful engagement
Tabulating Likes, +1’s, Follows and Shares offers a tremendous opportunity to measure audience engagement and behavior toward our brand. But we should be mindful of what social media engagement really is to our audience and how it might differ from making connections.
Technology has given consumers massive access to – and control of – the conversation. Sociologist and author Sherry Turkle has noted it “makes it easy to communicate when you wish and disengage at will.”
The degree of engagement we have now is overwhelming. Facebook, SMS texting, Tweets and the remaining myriad of social media are often cluttered with meaningless exchanges. We’re hyper-connected but not necessarily making connections. Relevance is even more important now to succeed at building brand relationships with social media.
Understanding that, marketers need to focus social CRM on meaningful engagement driven by customer experience that generates word-of-mouth brand ambassadors and ultimately motivates buying behavior.
One way to approach this is to give your audience a reason to follow. This idea comes from Simon Sinek. In a recent TED Talk on leadership that inspires action he spoke on the power of asking “why.” He said to lead a movement of people, they need to know why you’re here, why you do what you do. Communicate a vision and message with a compelling reason why, and you connect with devoted followers and influencers to the cause.
SOUND OFF: Tell me what you think. How do you see social media impacting your relationship marketing strategy? What engagement metrics are you following now?
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