How is Social CRM different from Social Media Marketing?


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There is a great discussion going on in Frederique Garzon’s (@lalachad) blog post titled “Just what is Social CRM anyway?“.

I am merely reprinting what I posted there (with a few minor fixes), and thus what follows would seem a bit out of place/context. I strongly recommend that you first read her questions & then continue further. In fact, you must also go through all the awesome comments in the post.

Businesses, especially large ones, those that call themselves enterprises, formed after the industrialization of manufacturing. When they were formed, they modeled themselves from what inspirations they could get from the other two huge organizations in existence then – government & military. So there is a heavy emphasis on command & control.

The advent of mass media enabled people with big bucks to go broadcast their messages. The common man had no choice but to listen to them because these ads subsidized their viewing costs. As a medium, these did not render to a way discussion (I like Mitch’s way of putting it – dialog, not two one-way communication). Businesses excelled in broadcasting. Since customers voice was not much heard they were thought to be dumb. Any negative messages were squashed by the PR machines with their heavy clout/lobbies with the media houses.

The relationship with the customer weaned to a mere transactional one.

But then comes a great improvement in the computing power, miniaturization, advances in communications, reduction in costs due to outsourcing, globalization, etc. and suddenly there is a big availability of cheap yet power & fast tools that allows people to both create & share content as well as connections at unimaginable speeds & to far reaching audiences.

Unfortunately though, at around the same time that these developments were happening in technology, which is early turn of this millennium, the CTO/CIOs were busy making their systems – into which heavy CapEx was invested – secure, robust, scalable, provide the maximum ROI by extending the life of the systems (hardware & software) as much as possible.

This meant that people had at home far more powerful, cheaper & usable technology than in the workplace.

Obviously the common man was better equipped & also had the lead in learning the new tools & thus become empowered as an individual as well as become powerful as part of communities. These communities began by being an extension of the offline communities (Facebook was available to dorm mates). They soon started following the geeks & nerds and started forming communities around common interests too, not just their real life acquaintances. So you now have very powerful communities where each individual is empowered more than the enterprises.

What happens?

Humans being humans, the new empowered individual, & thus the communities, doing unto the enterprises what they could not before – talk back. They are ready to take vengeance. Just look at what happens with instances like the Nestle affair.

So, is it the business’ imperative to offer the olive branch & start building the relationship from the ground up.

Merely listening to the social media & engaging through a community manager does not make a social media marketing what it can really be. The listening is still about the two one-way communication and the engaging is about the control/moderation. IMHO, that is not a new beginning to the relationship with the customer. Its still the same old story, but with a new way of imposing yourself onto the customer.

Not sure if I have answered any of the questions like Wim did – by “cutting to the chase”. But these are some fundamental philosophical stuff that the businesses need to realize. If they do, its Social CRM. If they don’t, its Social Media Marketing or Social Support Communities. Social CRM is when the C-level/boardroom are looking at it as a strategy that cuts across various business functions & not restricting it to marketing / support / sales / other.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Prem Kumar Aparanji
SCRM Evangelist @ Cognizant. Additional knowledge in BPM, QA, Innovations, Solutions, Offshoring from previous roles as developer, tester, consultant, manager. Interested in FLOSS, Social Media, Social Networks & Rice Writing. Love SF&F books. Blessed with a loving wife & a curious kid. :)


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