I listen to a lot of sports radio. And I always chuckle when I hear ads from Vegas bookmakers offering the “Stone Cold Lock of The Week” – the sports bet that is guaranteed to payout. Well, even if you’ve never been to Vegas, its not hard to figure out that all those audacious casinos weren’t built from house losses. So, the only thing sillier than believing that a bookie is going to give his money away to you is nodding when the used car salesman says “Trust me. This baby is cherry”.
So, when I was asked by Lauren Carlson, contributing editor on a CRM software review site, to add some color commentary to her wonderful recent post CRM’s Next 5 in 5, I said sure. But my disclaimer is that my crystal ball doesn’t guarantee any kind of locks – stone cold, hot stone, lava lamp or otherwise. That being said, here goes.
After reading IBM’s latest The Next 5 in 5, which examines some futuristic technologies that could change our world over the next five years, Lauren reached out to some of the biggest prognosticators in the CRM world for their opinions on CRM’s next big things. Paul Greenberg, Ray Wang, Brent Leary, Esteban Kolsky, Denis Pombriant and Brian Solis contributed some great ideas.
So rather than be repetitive of these gents, I tried to think about some of the risks and perhaps a twist or two.
1. Context Services – A richer, more multi-dimensional profile of the customer, for sure. But, what happens if brands abuse the data? Customers may grow fatigued by the ever-morphing intrusion from direct marketers and start turning off all those location service and GPS-based apps. And what if the ROI for the marketer doesn’t materialize? I just heard on NPR yesterday that an unscientific sidewalk poll showed less than 1 in 10 people have ever clicked on a Facebook ad. Will context services, and the data from which, improve this equation?
2. Real-Time Customer Intelligence – Yup, data is exploding at an exponential rate. And the cost of “A”ccess to it is dropping like a stone. Talk about a crack pipe for the data base marketer! Esteban hit the issue square. And, yes, enterprises don’t yet have the tools or infrastructure to address the second two “A”s of data – aggregation and analysis. While cloud-based services certainly address the speed to deploy question, like other cloud services, the enterprise is trading CapEx for OpEx. That is always a challenge for the CFO who’s crack pipe is capital depreciation.
3. TV as a Customer Engagement Channel – Well, it is certainly engaging! Have you ever watched Winter Wipeout? I can’t take my eyes off the screen! Are we talking about hardware here, the pipe or content? Where I think content providers will find value in improving customer engagement through the big screen is in the ability to leverage numbers one and two above.
4. Virtual Meetings – Two words: Virtual Agent. With ever-advancing speech recognition and interactive voice response systems, companies will leverage these solutions to serve customers who aren’t quite ready to give up their telephone. Oh, and as for meetings. How about less of those? Virtual or otherwise.
5. Gamification as a Business Strategy – Gamification is here. And the healthcare industry is where I think it will take off in the next five years. You might dismiss this notion because of all the regulatory and privacy issues in healthcare. But patient adherence and compliance to treatment regiments as well as wellness and prevention are a perfect application for gamification concepts. Engagement is the goal. And, lets face it. There’s a reason why otherwise sane people can lose themselves for hours inside Grand Theft Auto. The more a pharmaceutical maker or healthcare provider can get a patient to engage with an application that manages their condition or wellness, the more likely the patient is to follow tha treatment and stay healthy. The ROI is direct and huge.
And before you leave, check out Michael Fauscette’s take on this topic.
Futuristic? A bit. But certainly more imminent than what those big brains at IBM put forth, I think.