Backtracking Your SCRM Vision as a Strategic Tool

(I know I have been lagging publishing lately, but been reading, researching, thinking and trying to put together the SCRM roadmap.  Coming soon)

These are some thoughts I had today while talking to Allen Bonde, exceptional marketer and great thought leader for the CRM world.

We were trying to figure out a way to create a path for Marketing to become Social Marketing.  We tried different ways to move it from where it is today to where it should be tomorrow, mostly talking about function evolution and conversion, social customers’ characteristics and similar information.  Then we started talking about clouds, infrastructures, data, and data flows.  And this model crept into the conversation.  Tell me if it makes sense…

You need to make two assumptions (yes, I know what assuming does – work with me here):

  1. All your services (execution logic) are already deployed (in premise, hosted, SaaS, cloud-based, etc.) and accessible.  In other words, whatever automated computer process you need for your organization to function is already working
  2. The data you need for those services already exists and is reachable by these services

This is not a futuristic vision of an uber-perfect enterprise system, it is a generalization of what you have today and how it will move into the cloud eventually in the next 5-10 years.  Alas, it works today — this is how you deploy your solutions.

Then your imagination and picture what Social Marketing means.  Or Social CRM, Social Service, etc.  Just picture your customers belonging to the communities you want to cater to (Twitter, Forums, Blogs and RSS — these are all examples of communities, right?), and segmented in some form that makes sense to you (no, not financial – remember that social customers are not measured by financial terms only) like influencers, advocates, neutral, promoters, etc.  Your definitions of the segments that make sense in your social picture of the world.

Finally, imagine what they need to be what they are.  Your forum super-users may need access to a knowledge-base and priotity access to feedback management.  Your advocates may need access to marketing content systems.  It really changes and varies from organization to organization and strategy to strategy (of course there is a strategy of what type of communities and members you want to have, and how you intend to serve and leverage them  – you got  that, right?).

Once you figure what your communities and their members will do for you, then backtrack it.  Start going back following the data flows, the process flows, the actions and functions used – even if they don’t exist today.  Document that backtracking and voila! You’ve got yourself a beginning of a strategy for taking on Social Marketing, Social CRM, etc.

It is a good visualization exercise that allows you to picture what you are trying to do, and why – and those are the first steps towards building a strategy for Social CRM.

What do you think? Would you do something like this? Does it sound interesting? Crazy, but just crazy enough to work?

15 Replies to “Backtracking Your SCRM Vision as a Strategic Tool”

  1. Hi Esteban.

    I like it.

    Take inventory of what you have, see what value it could bring to the participants (internal and external) and match it to your vision of being customer-centric. Fill in the gaps and reiteratively tweak it to make it work better each time – and adapt the vision if need be.

    This kind of reminds me of when I was doing web-enablement of mainframe systems. They have been around for 40-odd (?) years, and they have tremendous value because of the accumulated information that can be found in them. Unlocking that value by making it easily, readily and transparently available for use in unforeseen ways was an amazing experience!

    This resonates with your example of giving super-users access to the knowledge base. They will now be able to help their community much better, which is turn is great for their reputation as well as for your company. See what they’re doing and learn from them as well.

    As the now-famous marketing slogan goes: Just Do It!
    .-= Mark Tamis´s last blog ..Social Media Communities =-.


    1. Interesting point you make, and something that most people are not considering much these days is to bring the legacy to the web. most people are so focused on bringing the customer in that few think of bringing the company out.

      food for thought…


  2. Esteban, it’s a good approach, one that just could work. 🙂

    I feel that companies must first work to meet their customers on the support front, both to leverage learnings and to reduce operational support costs. From there they will learn and be able to grow their overall Social Business Strategy.

    This is a fun ride we are all on with many choices and much left to learn. I am looking forward to continuing our collective learning.



    1. i agree that companies must solve their existing issues in a win-win situation first, then jump into social media… if i read your comment right :). and, yes, lots of road ahead… more on that monday.


  3. Esteban,


    I made a statement a few weeks ago “As we invite the customers into the Enterprise, into our home, it is no longer an ‘us’ and ‘them’ – Customers are no longer managed, rather data is managed, analyzed to and for the benefit of the customer, the company and greater good – Customers are embraced.”

    Not too bold, just my perception. Your visualization strategy, suggests what ‘bread crumbs to follow’…I like it.

    Great stuff!
    .-= mitch lieberman´s last blog ..mjayliebs: Commented and asked a few more questions of @GrahamHill "Five Steps to Real Customer-Centricity" =-.


    1. thank mitch,

      to me there has always been only thing that matters: data. if the data flows, the rest follows. is an oversimplification – but as John said above… it might just work. make sure the data flows from a-to-b-and-back and you are 90% of the way there (if it is the right data, else you are 10% of the way there).

      thanks for the read!


  4. Hi Esteban,

    Sounds great to me. Last week I had a talk with Arne van Oosterom (@designthinkers on Twitter). He told me that design thinking first of all starts with Customer (desired) outcomes. This is exactly what you are describing in your post and I like it..

    To add a little of my view on segmentation: Based on Service Dominant Logic, desired outcomes are defined (mostly) by the social, functional and emotional jobs people are trying to do. If you are able to segment Customers based on these jobs & outcomes, you are likely to have some very good material to track-back the strategy.

    Let me know what you think..
    .-= Wim Rampen´s last blog ..The path to Social CRM: do you have a Portfolio of Real Options? =-.


    1. very interesting twist… there is an assumption that i actually looked at the customers’ desired outcomes in my description and i can now see that what i wrote as ambivalent. i did not think about it originally, although it is in my brain the whole time and probably noticeable. but the method works either way (and it also is part of my CEM methodology posted earlier in this blog). define what you (or your customers) want to do, then figure out how to make it happen.

      another assumption i made is that customer segmentation is already happened, and you apparently make a similar assumption – or expectation. interesting how we are all going down the same road…

      and this road is what i am going to start analyzing in more detail next week… sorry, no pictures unless you have a 30-inch monitor that can accommodate the extremely complex setup… but is well explained 🙂


  5. Esteban,

    Well stated. In order to follow the path that you mention, I am not sure that the assumptions you describe even have to be in place. If not, the deployment of the infrastructure blocks become a part of the strategic roadmap to accomplishing those defined goals.

    I also imagine, once these first steps as you describe them are completed, the second (and subsequent) step(s) will be breaking down that roadmap into bite sized, manageable, risk adjusted steps. With Social (or any innovative or pioneering venture), a process by which small steps are taken, evaluated, and adjusted along the way is critical to success. There is no well trodden road yet.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and dialogue with Allen.

    Talk soon,
    .-= Brian Vellmure´s last blog ..So how big is this Social CRM thing going to be? =-.


    1. thanks brian,

      you just basically explained the path i am taking for the next few weeks. i have been fairly quiet this week as I was analyzing and researching this “path” and all the steps to take. i am starting to put it down and am hoping to start putting it out monday. the biggest problem is reducing the complexity to fit into a humble blog like this… but i think i got it under control.

      these are the next steps for us to grow and make SCRM real.

      thanks for the read.


  6. Esteban,

    Just a quick thought about relationship marketers. Anyone that is using analytics, like RFM sans the monetary component, would probably apply them to the social communities to see how ‘sentiment’ and other factors are trending relative to factors they know about their business or their customers. I know this sort of thing has been applied to customer service in the past for measurement so it’s not a leap to assume it would be applied here.

    Then they would likely use whatever delivery method they feel is the best to send the right message at the right time to the right customer. I just see this ‘channel’ as more data for them to incorporate into their models. Not really a delivery mechanism (at least not for the saavy marketers).

    I probably missed the point of your article anyway 🙂
    .-= Mike Boysen´s last blog ..Social CRM should span both sides of the membrane =-.


    1. mike,

      i don’t think you missed the point of the post – there was not a point to be made 🙂 (just kiddking, sorta)

      the part that you introduce that i agree with is that this represents one more channel for data collection. however, and this is where my research and gut-feeling are leading me, the amount of unstructured feedback that comes from these channels is something like they have never dealt with before! so first, need to transform it from unstructured to structured, then analyze and understand it, and finally do something about it. the challenges are three-fold, not one-fold as before – and that is something most people don’t understand.


  7. Great to see how this discussion is evolving! I want to echo Esteban’s last comment about the importance of feedback. In fact that’s the last stage in a “Community Marketing Model” I’ve been playing with and testing, and recently updated and posted on my site at:

    As a marketer, I also think there is something very natural in starting with customer segmentation, and looking at the ideal outcomes to Wim’s point. To me this is the essence of *context*. I also really agree with Brian’s comment about small steps. I always look for small steps when rolling out a new strategy and the opportunity to do “market tests” – something that is not only important for moving to SCRM, but also increasingly easy to do with social media.



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