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April 19, 2013
Social CRM Prompts Skepticism
 
There’s a lot of talk about social CRM but much less action. The idea of mining social media to develop one-to-one relationships, curry favor with customers and prospects, and develop loyalty is a seductive illusion. The reality is that very few companies have a clear understanding of what social CRM is, why they need it, or why they should invest in the time, energy, or technology to make it happen.
 
A recent survey in CRM Magazine found that 41% of a thousand companies surveyed had no CRM program and that 47.5% are either evaluating social CRM or doing it informally, whatever that means. A mere 11% of those surveyed have a formal program in place. We are looking at a slim segment of early adopters and a great mass of wait-and-see marketers.
 
Part of the slow uptake is a growing skepticism about the genuine business value of social media. Part of the hesitation is uncertainty about access to reliable data, doubts about dealing with Facebook, Twitter and their ilk, and confusion about the ROI of undertaking a labor-intense social CRM effort. 
 
The leading business goals of social CRM are lead generation, community building, brand awareness, marketplace intelligence, increased web traffic, and customer satisfaction. But hardly anyone can connect the dots between the available solutions set and achieving these business goals. To a certain extent, marketers
 
The common objective is actionable customer insight. Conventional CRM wisdom is that the more data points; the better. The big software firms offer what appears to be the whole enchilada — an online-offline aggregation of purchase history, contact, campaign and response history, web traffic, mobile usage, social activity, and geographic location.
 
The upstarts offer social data and social activity with the promise that these data sets can be married to others, but more importantly they can drive real-time communication through pre-fabricated digital, social, mobile, or location-based apps or messaging.
 
Both sides will provide software-as-a-service (SaaS), secure cloud storage, and consulting help. Most will provide ways to analyze the data or dice and slice on-demand. Unfortunately there are very few successful case studies and nobody is touting their business results from marrying up with either the start-ups or the established players.
 
The key to unleashing social CRM is building a business case and positioning this emerging tactic in the context of an overall marketing effort. Making smart social CRM decisions will turn on the answers to these five critical questions, which will be unique for each brand:
 
1. What are your business objectives for social media?
 

2. What function is social media playing in your marketing mix?
 

3. Do you collect, aggregate, and use offline customer data now?
 

4. Can you aggregate, analyze, mine, and report on social media data today?
5. What will you do with what you learn?

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Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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