CRM 2.0: Time for a Change, A Big Change


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I’m a harpy. I’m a shrew (yes, I’m a guy. This is not a gender specific thing, people). I’m gonna be pushing CRM 2.0 down everyone’s throat this year until they get it. CRM 1.0 has got to go.

What do I mean by that, you ask? (I hope you do or there’s no reason for you to be reading this).

Simple. The world has changed in the last three years or so. We’ve seen a profound transformation that has been begun by the collaborative tools that Web 2.0 a.k.a. the social web (I made that name up), provides to the ordinary Joe/Joan. That means that your abilities as a customer to intervene in the life of the companies that you deal with are greater than ever. In fact, your powers to do so are so great, that I’d suggest you take the Superheroes Personality test to find out just how powerful you are. Just click on the hyperlink for it here. (incidentally, I was Spiderman)

But that’s also changed what customers are demanding. There is one other profound effect of the Internet, 2.0 or not. That’s the means to get products and services of similar nature from multiple companies effectively and in a timely way – regardless of the size of the company. After all, Fedex will deliver for anyone who pays them, large or small, Sears or mom and pop shop. That means the playing field is level when products and services are involved. I demand so much more as a customer from the companies that I deal with because I can get the same products and services elsewhere and easily.

What do I demand?

  • I demand experiences – great ones in fact
  • I demand authenticity and honesty, not corporate b.s.
  • I demand some participation in managing my own relationships with the companies I care to do business with
  • I still demand good prices and value for the money
  • I demand style, coolness, something that reflects “who I am”, even if its piping I’m ordering – well, okay, maybe not piping, but most anything else

Don’t underestimate the latter. A significant study was done in the latter part of 2005 by a weird alliance of Intel and Toray Ultrasuede on the impact and relationship of style and technology that found that 76% of people who bought technology indicated that the technology they bought had to reflect their personal style. A slightly smaller number, 73% revealed that when they looked at the technology owned by others, they checked it out for style.

Not enough for you. The editor of Reason Magazine (one that I don’t politically agree with much. But I am a true believer in reason governing actions, though you’d never know that would you?) Virginia Postrel, in a book that should be better known than it is, “The Substance of Style”, says it better than I ever could with these two quotes:

>Once seen as an unnecessary luxury ‘making special’ has become a personal, social and business imperative.”


“Aesthetics has become too important to be left to the aesthetes. To succeed, hard-nosed engineers, real estate developers, and MBAs must take aesthetic communication, and aesthetic pleasure, seriously. We, their customers, demand it.”


To drive home the point, as I write this I just got an email from, aimed at my personal preferences in book buying for a book by Ray Nadeau called “Living Brands” which has this blurb for a quote:

“Nadeau, advertising and branding pioneer extraordinaire, starts with a simple and reasonable premise: The job of advertisers should not be to invent consumer needs, but to fill existing desires. The advent of technology, he argues, has created an empowered consumer that has more say than ever in how brands are created and evolve.”

and this blurb for a quote:

“Living Brands is based on a passion for understanding consumers’ lives and their existing needs. It uses the latest strategies of consumer collaboration to create a more culturally evolved, emotionally engaged, holistic connection to consumers.”

What do they tell you?

  1. Even the incredibly backward world of advertising is realizing that customer collaboration is a requirement in the world of the customer ecosystem – the empowered customer – and that it takes a conversation with the customer to be successful – rather than inventing demand.
  2. Amazon understands what floats my boat and sends me the appropriate personalized “ads” because they know that I’m demanding and need a personalized experience with them to stay with them, since I can get books both online and on premises in roughly a zillion places. Plus they sell other things they’d like me to purchase. So they’ve engaged me to work with them to create this personalized experience so that I can love them forever.


So what do we got here?

First and foremost a customer in the B2C, B2B and even B2G (business to government) or G2C (government to constituent)world that demands personalized interactions to make their experience with the organization they participate with a happy and fulfilling one. Its has to have utility and style as components – not just one.

Where does that leave CRM 1.0 – you know marketing, sales, support?

NOWHERE useful at all.

We are now at a key transition point. Yep, 2007. CRM 2.0 needs to come to the forefront. It can be with you, reader of this entry, pal, buddy, customer. Or without you. Your choice.

I set up a wiki (if you don’t know what a wiki is, check out the Wikipedia entry here)called CRM 2.0: Creating the New Definition using the PBWiki (stands for peanut butter wiki – no joke) hosted service – one of those web 2.0 newfangled social media tools. If you’re interested, take a look by clicking on the hyperlink of the title in the last sentence and send me an email at [email protected] if you want to participate. I’ll send you an invitation to join.

Hey, its your future too. If the chance to shape the new definition of CRM is there, might as well take it. You wouldn’t be reading CRM Guru if you weren’t interested somehow, now would you?

Paul Greenberg
The 56 Group, LLC
Paul Greenberg, the president of the 56 Group, LLC, is the author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light: Essential Customer Strategies for the 21st Century, 3rd edition. Greenberg is co-chairman of Rutgers University's CRM Research Center and executive vice president of the CRM Association. His blog PGreenblog won both of the only two awards ever given to CRM blogs.


  1. Paul

    Your comments are very relevant.

    As companies start to recognise that the customer really is a critical ingredient in any successful business model, then CRM2.0 which leverages the interactive nature of real customer relatiopnships is the way that CRM will have to evolve.

    P&G’s CEO AG Lafley really put this into perspective in his recent address to American advertising big-wigs at the ANA bash when he extolled them to “Just Let Go” (of the brand).

    Graham Hill


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