October 21, 2012

Lipstick on a Pig: The Fallacy of Social CRMs

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In the greater CRM industry, we've seen the concept of Social CRM spread like wildfire. It's hard to find any company that wouldn't dub itself as a Social CRM.

But as with any fast-growing trend, it's common to find entrants that don't really fit the mold. Around 2009/2010, we saw marketers quickly re-engineer their CVs to focus on "social media marketing" (side note: it's now cool to be called a "Growth Hacker").

Paul Greenberg defines Social CRM as follows:

"Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It's the company's response to the customer's ownership of the conversation.

So therefore, what is social CRM?

    • Tools that enable you to have a better and closer relationship with your customers.

    • Tools that help you better gather data from a wide group of respondents.

    • Tools that improve the overall customer experience.

It's all too common to consider Social CRM the intersection of CRM + Social [Media]. Just take an existing CRM model, pump in data feeds from Twitter and Facebook, and you have a social CRM, right? As Elevation Partners Co-founder (and Facebook investor) Roger McNamee stated - "social" is now just a feature and not a leading value proposition - a check box, not a guiding idea. So if you find yourselves wanting to apply the accepted concept of CRM and putting in a couple Twitter widgets to call yourselves a CRM, what are you building?

At Contactually, we believe:

    • Social CRM is the realization and crystalization of the trends we've seen in building a more honest and social business (Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Hsieh have great books).

    • Social CRM is not just a tool to sell more fluff.

    • A Social CRM may never include, or even mention, existing social media platforms, however helpful they may be. On the flipside, a CRM that integrates with social platforms doesn't make it a social CRM. However, using social media platforms as an method to gather intelligence and communicate is a viable strategy.

    • Social CRM is the opportunity to reinvent how professionals interact with each other and the outside world.

What's your take on Social CRM? How are they changing the way you interact both online and off? Let us know in the comments, or Tweet us @Contactually.