Time to change the way you interact with customers
Social CRM is not really about social-media technology and sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but rather it's a different way of looking at interacting with consumers. Cath Everett reports.
Social customer relationship management, or social CRM, is the latest hot topic for marketers. Not only is everyone talking about it but most of the big brands have also at the very least dipped a toe in the water.
But although the concept has been around for a few years, it was not until the start of this year that people really started to sit up and take notice. In what is widely considered a landmark in social CRM terms, PepsiCo decided to drop its high-profile TV advertising slot at the US Super Bowl after 23 years, to redirect its $20m budget into a social marketing and digital engagement campaign.
Yet despite moves such as this, analyst firm Gartner believes that as many as half of business-led social CRM projects are destined to fail over the next two years, with the figure rising to 70 per cent if they are IT-driven.
The problem, as with the traditional CRM projects of the late 1990s and early 2000s, is that many organisations simply do not have the right skills and expertise to put appropriate long-term strategies in place, it says. As a result, there is a danger that they may end up taking a tech-centric view of what is fundamentally a business problem, thereby failing to learn the lessons of the past.
So what should marketers bear in mind before setting out on the social CRM route and what are some of the secrets to success?
1. Change your mindset
The first step in trying to deal with the social CRM phenomenon is to get the definition right. This issue is not simply semantic quibbling because it defines how marketers approach the subject.
The problem is too many people confuse the concept of social media, which is about technology, tools and social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, with social CRM, which is a different way of looking at relationships with consumers.
Paul Greenberg, dubbed the Father of Social CRM, defined the term in his blog entitled 'Thank you - beyond anything CRM' from 26 April this year: "The customer is in control of the conversation. Social CRM is the company's response to the customer's control of the conversation. There is no joint ownership of the conversation."
To be able to respond adequately to that conversation, however, marketers need to...