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My thoughts on the real need for social CRM

The need for Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs arose in popularity after traditional CRM methods started losing effectiveness.  The state of telemarketing programs is easy to assess when you consider that in 2010 over 200 million marketing targets had signed up for the national Do Not Call Registry (Anderson, 2010).  The evidence of the decline of direct mail marketing is also easy to establish after reviewing the United States Postal Services’ (USPS) 5 Year Plan to Profitability that calls for a reduction of 155,000 workers as a direct result of a 22 billion drop in the number of pieces delivered each year.   Their plan specifically notes that one particular cause of this massive reduction of items mailed is “E-mail advertising instead of First-Class advertising” (USPS, 2011).

medium_3952097643As in the examples of telemarketing and direct mail marketing, marketers continue to chase after customers in their chosen mediums.  With the rapid adoption of social networks, marketers much like packs of hungry hyenas that follow migrating wildebeests across the southern Serengeti, are on the move again.  This new migration by consumers to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have once again caused the balance of power to shift to the consumer.  In this new found land, customers are having conversations amongst themselves and are happy to do so.  As noted by Wang and Owyang, customers have discovered that they can enjoy a more accurate, timely, and relevant customer experience without the organizations (Wang et al, 2010).

The real potential for misstep by the business is to enter into the conversation without understanding how to successfully do so.  This lack of knowledge is a common problem for most business and organizations, one they hope to rectify by racing to build internal knowledge and establishing social media budgets that can support highly in demand (i.e. expensive) consultants.  Organizations must take to heart the advice of author William Arthur Ward “Before you speak, listen”.  Organizations who have successfully followed their consumers into the social world, have established important listening programs.  These programs allow the business to hear what customers are saying before they launch their social marketing efforts.

Anderson, N. (2010). Retrieved November 7, 2013 from http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/07/telemarketing-remember-just-how-bad-it-was/
USPS. (2010). Retrieved November 6, 2013 from website: http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2012/pr12_0217profitability.pdf
Wang, R., Owyang, J., Tran, C., & Li, C. (2010). Social CRM: the new rules of relationship management. Retrieved November 7, 2013 from http://www.slideshare.net/jeremiah_owyang/social-crm-the-new-rules-of-relationship-management?from_search=3

photo credit: N. Feans


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