My wish for 2010: Consolidating Strategies


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Esteban Kolsky wrote a very good post titled The Three Realities of SCRM Right Now. I think he makes some very good observations and projections for 2010. Apart from those I like best the sentiment of the post: being pragmatic and realistic about what the (near) future will bring.

The post also made me think: on one specific trend: (SCRM) Market Consolidation. My thoughts are not about the trend itself. I think Esteban is right here. My thought is about consolidation of (Customer centric) strategies.

Definitions and Debates

We have Customer Experience (Management), (Social) Customer Relationship Management, Managed Customer Relations, Social Relationship Management, Social Business Strategy and many alike. Most of these have the Customer’s interests at the core of their definitions and approaches. There are also numerous debates going on about these definitions, the approaches, what comes first etcetera etcetera…Some, from the outside, may even look like people’s lives depend on having these discussion. I am probably guilty myself there too.

Reality Check

I think (wishful thinking maybe 😉 that in 2010 we will begin to see a growing awareness that all these strategies do not contradict. It is never one solution nor one strategy that makes a company successful and growing beyond its competitors reach or even completely redefining markets. It is, as it’s always been (#realitycheck), multiple strategies and tactics that, in the right combination, for that specific company in that specific market place and with (most importantly) that specific group of Customers with that specific set of desired outcomes, that will make the difference, for that specific company. This is also why companies like Apple, Nike, Zappos and alike are being discussed as best practices in different functional areas from marketing to sales, to service, to HR, to Business Process Management and what have you.

Be Unique, with small or capital “S”

Despite the discussion tending towards a general construct, I for one think that all strategies, known by their acronyms, should not merge into one big Social Customer Experience Business Relationship Strategy or framework. For me it just doesn’t make sense to think in terms of “either – or”. It also doesn’t make sense to discuss it from a “one-size-fits-all” perspective.

In 2010 we should and will discover (new) companies that have combined or are combining elements of all these different strategies into their own unique mix, their own Customized Strategy, with a small or capital “S”. Being successful is not about being the same, or even similar. It is about being unique.

In 2010 it is our job to seek, describe and help these new best practices get real. Not for others to copy, but to serve as inspiration to create their unique mix of strategies, to find their own unique voices in this already crowded marketplace of commonalities (and acronyms ;-).

For 2010 I wish all the Customer Centric strategies to consolidate, on a company level. I wish us to have hundreds or even thousands of Customized strategies to explore and learn from.

I’m looking forward to 2010. Are you?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Interesting post.

    The current situation with many different theories of social business competing for hegemony is typical of the early growth phase of any new idea. No-one really knows what really works so many people try different stuff out to see what works for them. Over time the experiments establish a body of shared experience and common skills, and business academics catch-up with a body of robust knowledge. But debates still go on about one facet or another of the now established idea.

    Sounds familiar? It should. It follows the growth and establishment of both CRM and more recently of CEM. Bot are pretty well established but there is still significant debate about certain aspects of both. Is CRM about technology, strategy or customers? Is CEM about brands, service or customers? Etc.

    Why should Social Business be any different?

    The debate, discussion and experimentation is a good thing. It is part of the way we adapt to changes thrust upon us from outside.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  2. Thx Graham,

    I agree completely with what you say. We learn by debating & experimenting, discussing approaches, successes etc.

    You know I’ve posted my Social CRM Strategy Framework statement a few months ago, which I recently revised slightly in my previous post (you can find it in the middle of the deck). I probably wouldn’t write it any different when writing a framework-statement for Social Business Strategy, Social CEM strategy etc.

    For me any strategy (at high level) still is about answering the who-what-how questions. Any company will need to do for itself and will come up with a tailored strategy to its situation. All due to the fact that circumstances differ per company. Not only outside circumstances, but internal circumstances too.

    In the end I now believe there are no CRM, SCRM, SB, SRM, CEM etc strategies.. There are only business strategies, in fact as many as their are businesses. The best performing companies will likely not just have adopted one of the practices such as (S)CRM or CEM. They have adopted elements of some or all of the practices to tailor a strategy that helps them getting their job and their Customers job done.. We need to understand better how they all interact and complement each-other.

    I think we should prevent ourselves from trying to find evidence for things we believe in, but not know (yet). We should try to find successful businesses and understand their strategies, as well as their internal and external circumstances better.

    Maybe we need to prevent ourselves from approaching this all inside-out (Social CRM, Business, CEM etc first) and adopt what we preach: look at it from the outside in.. and of course we need to, and certainly will, discuss our findings and our explanations. This is how we learn. I would not have it any other way.

    Thx for commenting! & let me know what you think..


  3. Wim.

    You touched on an interesting topic which is on the front burner of our company. In fact, our executive team discussed this very thing yesterday in a 3 hour meeting.

    We have poured time into extensive research around prospects, customers and competitors to identify the right mix of technology and processes that address a larger scope of the customer need within each market segment. Our findings are very conclusive in that a good portion of the communication methods and processes available are not being used. The concept of ‘CRM’ is migrating and on the move. Maybe 2010 is the year of a new emergence.

    Good read first thing in the morning.

    Kevin O’Brien
    Chief Marketing Officer


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