Let’s Call a Spade a Spade (and Social Media a Band-Aid)

It seems that 2010 is the year where Social Media really takes off; everybody is writing about how in 2010:

  • You will definitely be able to get an ROI from your Social Media investment
  • Social Media is going to take off
  • You can craft your Social Media strategy and make it stick
  • Your Senior Management will finally recognize the value of Social Media
  • Social Media will change your organization/change your business functions/make you money/save you money

I am not linking to any of them because they are all so horribly wrong on their assertions that Social Media is what matters that I don’t want their authors to think I am singling them out.  This is an industry-wide problem.

Let’s get it straight:

Social Media is about tools and tactics, you can never set a strategy for it, and it has very short term life and results.

Social CRM is about strategically setting long-term goals for working better with your clients, and improving your organization in the process.

Social Business is the long-term, strategic process of reinventing your organization to collaborate with employees, partners, and customers.

I have been accused of spending too much time on definitions and splitting hairs on terms.  Why do I insist?  Let me explain with an example.

Let’s say you propose to use Social Media (tools and tactics, Twitter for example) for Customer Service.

You do an ROI calculation that says you should be able to recover your expenses within three-to-four months by reducing the number of calls into your call center; you are going to answer X percentage of them via Twitter.  You get approval from your management and you implement it.  You equip four-or-five agents with Twitter accounts, deploy software for social media monitoring, Twitter management tools, and create social media governance policies.

Slowly you begin to listen to the streams; you engage and interact with customers.  You have become social — or have you?

Within six-to-nine months you solve some of the inquiries and problems that come in via Twitter, but slowly begin to notice that for most of them there is more than Twitter can provide (it is still 140 characters and limited patience from customers – right?).  You create a process to escalate the large number of interactions back to the call center (or contact center, or online).

Wasn’t that what you were supposed to eliminate or reduce?

You are effectively doing two things: upsetting your customers by not solving their problems via their chosen channel and overwhelming your established systems with more interactions than before (it is called hidden demand, customers that would have ignored their issues but are coming through now because of the channel selection – in this case Twitter).

Your ROI is slowly eroding, your simple solution is getting complex, and your Social Media “strategy” is going down the drain.  If you did a good job, you have metrics you established before you started that are showing you this.  Otherwise, it will take you longer to notice the failure.

What happened?

You confused Social Media (channels) with Social CRM (business strategy).

This is what caused the precipitous failure of multi-channel CRM when we first started with it.

I wrote this as a comment to a post I read earlier this week and I think it is valid at this point in the discussion.

Social Media (used to engage customers and to listen to them, maybe even act without impacting the biz operations).

Social CRM (using the feedback to improve operations, impact the business, change the relationship).

The relationship between these two and loyalty is also telling.

Social media can, and usually does, affects short-term, rational loyalty. It does not, however, have much impact in long-term loyalty and it does not do much for the biz (other than good PR). It does set a precedent, so the biz has to be constantly on its toes to perform similarly across the interactions. As you can see, if the biz was not changed to accommodate the necessary changes to process, it may (and probably will) falter at a later time — which will destroy the rational loyalty.

Social CRM, on the other hand, impacts the long-term loyalty. You are making changes to your processes, to your business, and creating  historical-based two-way conversation with your customers. These are the basic elements of building a long-term loyalty with them. (text removed that pointed to specifics of post, not relevant to our discussion)

Social CRM is a long-term strategy that while it leverages Social Media does not depend on it. It is more closely tied to a Social Business strategy and the impact on the business goes beyond 2010 — even 2012 probably. Sure, you can adopt the idea and begin the planning and deployment this year, but the truth value of the implementation won’t show for a couple of iterations (similar to what we experienced with regular CRM). It could be shorter – if you leverage you existing CRM investment… but that is another discussion.

Enough preaching — where am I going with this?

You have to understand the relationships between Social Media, Social CRM, and Social Business and focus your efforts where it matters.

Let’s use another example.  You are losing customers because you did not adopt a Social Media “strategy” yet.  This is a rather massive and fast loss, comparable to an arterial bleed.  Gross, but please follow along…

Social Media is nothing more than a band-aid, similar to doing customer service via email or adding ecommerce without really thinking it through.  Sure, you get something quickly done and out of the way, but if you are bleeding out of an artery a band-aid won’t stop the bleeding — or save your life.

Social CRM is a strategy, but specific to a particular area (working with customers).  It forgets the rest of the organization – but more importantly also the role of the customer beyond the front-office functions.  It does serve a mid-term purpose – but is the equivalent of putting some gauze and pressure to the arterial bleed — you can stop the bleeding, but the artery still needs repair.

Social Business is the vascular surgery that will repair the arterial walls, ensure that circulation is working properly, and there is no loss of function.  This is your goal: to stop and repair the arterial bleed – rather the profuse loss of customers and do it in way that there is not further loss.

You may not like the example (hey, the wife is a doctor – what can I say) but the concept is well explained that way.  You cannot put a band-aid on a life-threatening problem and expect it to work.

What do you think?  Am I too focused on definitions? What would you change to my proposed model (other than using a not-so-gory example)?

58 Replies to “Let’s Call a Spade a Spade (and Social Media a Band-Aid)”

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  2. Esteban,

    If this is merely the entry I wonder what greater stuff can we look forward to from you in twenty-ten/MMX/2010! 🙂

    This is a very great & very important post that needs to be not only tweeted about or bookmarked but also needs more wider discussion & awareness.

    And I look at this as something more than a rigmarole around a definition. This will help us create a better lexicon. 😉 But more importantly it will help us, the insiders, understand the nuances better and make us communicate clearly without ambiguities.

    We need to create a tabular differentiation between Social Media, Social Networks, Social Networking [sites], Social Business, Social CRM & CRM.

    Unless the subtle differences are laid bare, people will continue to get befuddled with all these phrases that very obviously (to us) are not cognitively synonymous. They are not necessarily hypernyms or hyponyms either. Most importantly, we need to deplore people to eschew using Social Media as a metonym for Social CRM.

    Am glad you posted this Esteban, I feared your comment (which you have quoted in the post above) might go unnoticed! Now to tabulating the differences & similarities! Do we have any profs in the gang? 😉

    – Prem
    .-= Prem Kumar´s last blog ..What I’ve Discovered About Twitter =-.


    1. Prem (et al),

      I had this to say a while back – http://mjayliebs.posterous.com/social-3767

      A social network is a structure made of individuals (or organizations) tied together by something; like friendship, or a financial exchange. Therefore, it makes sense that a social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share these interests and/or activities. The most obvious way for people to interact here is to use media designed be disseminated through social interaction aka – Social media. Looked at from the other direction – Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media supports the human need for social interaction. Social Marketing, IMHO is simply Marketing using Social Media through a Social Network Service.

      Probably wrong – but in support of your point that we are not simply splitting hairs – we are debating and specifying the lexicon. As we have all been suggesting, Social CRM may at some point (soon ?) may simply be referred to as CRM. The Social moniker, if you will, is there to add (my opine) the 4th and missing dimension of CRM.

      Hey, it could be worse – If we had had this conversation 2 years ago, it would have been “Web 2.0 CRM” 🙂


      1. Mitch,

        Very well said — looking forward to dropping the fourth dimension and the extra moniker. I think that all of us that are in this “new market” realize that it is nothing more than the “old CRM” with some very interesting new nuances.

        And, defining those nuances and agreeing on them is what is going to make us get better.



    2. Prem,

      Thanks for the kind words, this is something I have in mind as well: the ability to distinguish and agree on what it is we are creating (not only among us, but also for those reading it outside of the community) is very, very important.

      Some time back Tony Nemelka wrote a guest post in my blog that talked about how without a clearly set of definitions VCs and other supporters would stay away and a market would not be created.

      This is one small attempt to settle into that market. Once we create a market, we have a common ground to grow from. That is still my goal for 2010-2011.

      Thanks for the read.


      1. Great to hear you talking about creating a market. A big part of the reason that corporate customers fixate on implementing software tools instead of business strategies is because that is something “concrete” that they can get their heads around. As we develop these ideas and (sorry) the implementation practices that go with them, it will be much easier to (frankly) sell consulting gigs, and thereby participate in transforming businesses into what they need to be.


        1. Melissa,

          I hear you, and I know what you are talking about. The idea that a set of tools is something concrete and that I can show a CD (OK, maybe not anymore — but at least a screen doing something). If we can create the right methodologies to sell into the organizations and make them make sense and prove value, that is the next war to fight. Which is why I am getting tired of fighting definitions…

          Thanks for the read!


  3. I think the problem is more one of clogged arteries, you need to get the blood flowing freely again. And that may mean a cure of intravenous therapy by adding the customer to the mix!

    I agree with you that implementing a Social CRM strategy will need to be coupled with an internal reorganisation to align with it. This alignment will be the key in ensuring that your SCRM strategy will bear its fruits, and we can call it Social Business if you wish (although some would argue that the term is already in use in a different context…)

    I believe as well that Social Business provides the compelling reason for Enterprise 2.0. Rather than focus on the tools to get people to collaborate and exchange more freely and easily internally, we should be looking at what the objectives are that we are trying to achieve. Social Business Strategy can be just this reason; by getting to people to collaborate around meeting the Customer’s desired outcome(s), the tool usage to achieve this will follow.
    .-= Mark Tamis´s last blog ..What I’ve discovered about Twitter =-.


    1. Mark,

      To me Social Business, Enterprise 2.0 (which I would prefer to call Social Enterprise) and Social CRM are so inter-connected as to be effectively different views of the elephant (to borrow the old business metaphor of describing an elephant by different people in the same room).

      Effectively all we are doing is growing the ability to collaborate across the organization, and in between them.

      Names are only there to assist us in identifying specific behaviors…

      Great comment, thanks for the read.


  4. Nice zinger to start the New Year (Happy New Year BTW)! I see where this is going and definitely agree that social media = channels for the most part. But as a marketing guy, I have to push back on the idea that you can’t have a social media strategy – with policies, metrics, launch plan, feedback plan, etc. Or at a minimum that you don’t want to START with social media tactics or market tests on the path to full-blown Social CRM (media -> marketing -> CRM strategy).

    I would also argue that you can (and need) to have a marketing strategy for specific channels, like blogs or Twitter, based on goals, target audiences, desired calls to action, and even assign owners for each channel and strive for normalized metrics to compare effectiveness. It may be that some channels have a “very short term life and results” but I don’t know how you can determine this for a particular audience/industry/market/etc until you run some experiments and gather data over time! See my recent piece in SearchCRM http://bit.ly/80StrX for how a Persona approach can help drive this.

    That said, I may just be arguing for adding a 4th term/definition for “Social Media Marketing” or “Social Marketing” – something like:

    Social Marketing is the business use of social media for engaging customers, building thought leadership, creating leads and/or driving product innovation.

    Now, if we agree this is just part of “Social CRM” I guess I’ll feel better. But let’s not forget about the marketing side in this discussion!



    1. Allen,

      Happy New Year to you as well.

      I am not saying that Social Marketing does not belong in this conversation, I probably did not go deep enough into that, and I do place it within Social CRM.

      You are however, making an argument that other people (Most notably PR and Ad folks I have come across) make very often. It makes me a little uncomfortable to say that we need to set strategies at such a low level without rolling them up into something bigger. I am not saying not to do it – but PR, Ad, Marketing, Service — they all have to be responsible to a larger set of strategies and metrics. This was the point I was trying to drive by making Social Media a tactic and Social CRM a strategy.

      I think it comes down to driving forces for each of these functions, and at the tactical level the driving force is always going to be the higher-level strategy with specific goals, metrics, and objectives. That is, at least in my mind, the best way to include all low-level functions into an upper-level strategy.

      I totally agree that Social Marketing is a large part of this whole Social CRM strategy, but I am not sure that any one of the functions has more importance over another one (did I just opened my post up for attacks? will see).

      Thanks for a terrific comment!


  5. Esteban,

    Businesses that “got it” a long time ago didn’t have “social channels” (unless you count compuserve, AOL, newsgroups, email, forums or bulletin boards as social). So how could they be social businesses; assuming you have to call yourself a social business to be successful?

    Or were they…? #justsayin
    .-= Mike Boysen´s last blog ..42 Indeed… =-.


    1. Mike,

      You don’t have to call yourself s social business to be successful.

      You have to become a social business (i.e. adapt to the shifting models among customers, the “social customer” as Paul calls it) in order to continue to operate in the next 12-24 months.

      There is a difference between being successful and surviving, and I think we will see that in the next few months.

      Thanks for the read and comment.


  6. Estaban,

    Good post, I think that you are beginning an important discussion on Definition. There is currently so much overlap between common words and phrases – Social this, Media that – that people are jumping in without the proper analysis and up-front education, which is why some are failing.

    I have to agree with Mark that the problem is more one of “clogged arteries”, or even better yet, getting a “Physical” at the Dr.’s office. When you get a physical, the Dr. tells you many different things, and dependent on what he finds, you are able to take specific steps to try and resolve any of the issues that you have. It is not an immediate do-or-die situation, but rather a more “if you don’t do x, y may happen in a few years”.

    At that point, the Dr’s steps are a “strategy” on how to move forward. You can either stay the course – which may be your personal preference – or you may heed the warnings, and make changes. This is where an effective “strategy” can assist in attempting to resolve situations.

    Social Media is the channel, but if you do not know how to leverage the specific channel and have a strategy in place for each on as its’ own entity, treating each platform as equals, then you are set up for failure. So Social Media without a strategy can not succeed.

    Mike P
    .-= Mike P´s last blog ..What does and Physics and Social Media have in common =-.


    1. Thanks Mike,

      I agree on the lack of definitions and the importance of having common ones going forward.

      I 100% concur with your comment on where strategy comes in and why is is important. I like the analogy to medicine, actually. Well said.

      Thanks for the read and comment


  7. I agree with you wholeheartedly. In order for a business to benefit long term from social media, they need to get some sort of data or information out of the relationship that contributes to the long term goals of improvement.

    But, what if you used Social Media with other tools to obtain such information? I think it’s possible for SM to have a lasting, effect with a positive ROI if you use it in conjunction with other tools as explained here. What do you think?


    1. Richard (or someone else from Mindshare?),

      Thanks for the read and the comment. Thanks for the pointer to your WP — you know that I agree tremendously with it. To me Social Media (and I wrote about it back in the Brief History of SCRM post) is about making EFM (or FM by now) the fourth-pillar of CRM.

      Collecting and structuring the feedback over as many channels as possible, while centralizing it in one location, is what makes EFM more valuable while using SM and SCRM.

      I think that the “invention” of new channels was done to validate the creation of EFM.

      Thanks for the visit!


      1. Well said,

        It will be interesting to see how the industry adapts as new channels are created in the future as well. As Social Media grows up, I think the value we can gain from it will also increase… especially if combined with great EFM tools.

        And, you’re welcome for the visit and the read… I’ll be back. 😉



        1. Nate,

          Thanks for this as well. I think, and I wrote about it before several times, that Feedback Management is the fourth pillar of CRM (in addition to Sales, Service, and Marketing and an essential component of SCRM. I am in between continuing the term EFM and simply refer to it as Feedback Management only — but I totally agree with you in concept.

          It will be interesting indeed…



  8. Esteban,

    I am with Wim – just do not have a lot to add – simply to hear myself write. I also agree with Mark – Social Business = Social CRM + Enterprise 2.0 (he did not say that exactly 🙂



  9. This is a really interesting perspective and one that i agree with whole-heartedly in spirit.

    I think I might realign the analogies slightly though to say that social media is the scalpel (or in some cases the sledgehammer)Like email, direct mail and the call centre, they’re just channels that marketers use as tools.

    We’re still trying to figure out where and when to use each of the tools we have at our disposal and next year, there might be shinier, newer ones for us to replace the ones we’re using today with.

    Just a thought on an otherwise excellent post
    .-= michael nurse´s last blog ..Three things that social media marketers can learn from email marketers (direct mail marketers and telemarketers too) =-.


    1. Michael,

      I agree that we always get new tools, and channels, to leverage on what we do. Which is why I like to frame their use within a nice, simple strategy at a higher level (as I was saying to Allen a few comments above).

      We will always have shiny new toys, it is what we do with them at the corporate level that makes the difference for the business.

      I agree with you in essence that what we do with it is what matters… just trying to set a level a bit higher than the tools.

      Thanks for the read!


  10. Esteban,

    Great post. Definitely worthwhile to get the definitions right. I agree heartily that there are too many folks who see social media as the end rather than the means, and who seem more interesting in the “buzz” created by a social media campaign than in creating a lasting set of social relationships with customers.

    It would be a shame if “social media marketing” became about the buzz rather than about the lasting relationship. The promise of Social CRM is that it will foster the co-creation of value, and this can’t happen effectively without a long term relationship.

    I’m less sanguine (excuse the pun on your extended metaphor) about “Social Business” as a term of art. Obviously, there is some state of nirvana where everyone is collaborating all the time with everyone who matters. But the term “social business” doesn’t describe those ends with as much precision as “Social CRM” does for its objectives. And we have been talking about collaborating with employees, partners, and customers forever, so it gives one the feeling of an ever-receding shoreline.

    I don’t have a great solution to this problem, but as a general statement I would say that the term “business” is try to carry too much weight, and that we need to associate actual value with that end-state.


    1. Phil,

      Welcome to my humble virtual abode 🙂

      I like your play of words, sanguine… I guess we need to have the deeper discussion on whether CRM covers partners, employees, etc. in more detail. Actually, I had that same conversation with Paul Greenberg this AM (where we reminisce of Siebel’s PRM and ERM products). I would agree with you in spirit, but I think that the dichotomy present in the enterprise between SCRM and E2.0 is too deep at this time to being able to simply “make the jump” from one to another. This is where I believe a term like SocBiz has value.

      I am also 100% in agreement with your last statement. One of the hard portions of my “job” is to reconcile the existing terms with good definitions and strategies. I would prefer to just refer to all of this as business and go back to focus on the data to support the operation of the same. But, we are not there yet — close, but not quite.

      I can see how your points play out in your approach to market, quite well actually, especially in using the data to justify the business management.

      Thanks for the read…


  11. Esteban

    Great post. I suspect we will see a lot of businesses shift their resources to social media to the detriment of their core customer service channels, with the net effect that the overall customer experience will be impacted.



  12. Dennis Howlett has an interesting take on where we are with Social Business. Money quote, “From my perch, social business design as articulated is rooted in a marketing fantasy that fits a delusional mindset.”


    He goes on to make a similar point to what we’re all making here: the issues are more organizational than technological.
    .-= Phil Soffer´s last blog ..Companies turn to virtual trade shows to save money =-.


    1. Phil,

      I like the fact that you always make me think with your comments.

      I agree with Dennis, maybe not with the choice of words — but they do get the point across. I think we are at the very beginning of what Social Business is going to become, and my definitions are not the final stage of it. We will see many iterations before we settle on what we really want to do (just like we did with CRM for over 10 years, and Social CRM for the last few).

      I am looking forward to tossing my definitions out and adopt something that more people have embraced when we get there. For now, it helps me focus on what I am doing.

      Thanks for the read, again, and looking forward to working together and putting some model together that makes sense.



  13. Hello Esteban,

    Thanks for starting this important conversation. I think that Social Media is a poorly defined term anyway you slice it. It is great that you slice off social crm and social business and better define what they mean. If we take the all inclusive social media out of our vocabularies altogether and replace with social platforms, social channels, real-time services, etc. we will have a much more articulate conversation and build a better understanding of how these things affect business.

    I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts!

    Andrew Mueller


    1. Thanks Andrew,

      Sorry for the delay — for some reason your post was on the spam queue — but fixed that. No more problems like that…

      Thanks for the read and the comment. I think you understand the exact intention I have for this blog and the topics I cover — extend the conversation, agree on what we are doing, and grow the pie.

      Thanks for the read and the encouraging words.


  14. Your focus on definitions is extremely important. Business owners understand ROI, some (many) don’t understand the value of social media. Without clear definitions communication fails, expectations will not be met then the tool will be blamed for the failure. Much like me blaming a hammer for not being able to build a house with it.

    Social media can be used to as part of a well defined customer satisfaction strategy. One of the traps we can fall into is measuring all that can be measured then trying to use all these metrics to justify our actions. A better method is to step back, review the overall goals, implement strategies that we believe will work then measure how we doing in the achievement of those customer satisfaction/service goals. Clearly, this is contrary to the “measure all we can and throw out what doesn’t meet some arbitrary standard” however (1) shouldn’t we be focused on the outcome, (2) isn’t learning from failure the key to success and (3) shouldn’t we be using key predictive indicators to help guide our implementation.

    Thanks for the post, the stress on definitions is extremely relevant especially as we strive for great results as clearly understood definitions led to clearly defined goals.


    1. Lamar,

      Thanks for stopping by and the comments. I like your approach of measuring after you know what to measure — not just for the sake of measuring.

      And thanks for the encouraging words. I too believe that definitions is what is going to help us get to the next level in this crazy social world we are embarking on.

      Thanks for the read!


  15. I completely agree! Your focus on definitions is absolutely necessary, especially when it comes to clearly placing social media as channels within a larger CRM strategy, and by no means a sweeping replacement for existing means.

    There is too much of a hurry all round to latch on to a channel whose real place and impact within CRM is far from universal.

    I have posted on a closely related theme at


  16. Nice post!

    My thoughts:
    if you want to start with SCRM you should not have to start over again inventing a new strategy and defining long term goals. If you have customers and you interact with them (via callcenters, e-mail, shops etc) you should have a (CRM) strategy.
    This should (I know it is not always the case) also be about listening to your customers and using their feedback to improve your service and products.
    Adding the social channel should be easy.

    “SCRM” is hot right now and I think that companies wich are already customer-centric can easily add the “social channel”.
    If you have not defined how to deal with customer feedback, than you will experience a problem when starting using social media without defining your SCRM strategy first.

    .-= Ludo Raedts´s last blog ..LudoRaedts: Revisiting 10 Golden Rules of Social Media http://om.bit.ly/7RQhVd from @webworkerdaily =-.


    1. Hi Ludo, (and Esteban of course)

      Great to see you engaging here too.. 😉

      There are two differentiating elements for Social CRM compared to traditional CRM: Feedbackmanagement (all the way to actionable insights and closing the loop) and Co-creation.

      Co-creation does have impact on the strategic level for most companies. Even those that already have a good feedback loop going for them.

      I need to work on phrasing this better, but in my line of thinking co-creation is collaboration+ (or 2.0 if you will 😉

      The meaning of this is that co’s should stand down from wanting to decide everything for the Customer. Co-creation is about allowing Customers to personalize experiences on their terms, and with all involved in the ecosystem of the experience, including peer-customers and (if involved) partners etc.

      In terms of Paul Greenberg’s definition of Social CRM: I think Co-creation is the best answer a company can have towards the Social Customer.

      Applying the co-creation concept to the traditional functions of CRM is what will keep us busy for the coming few years for sure. And it will take far more than Social Media to make it work, both towards Customers (CRM) as internally (Social Business).


      .-= Wim Rampen´s last blog ..Counting down… =-.


      1. Hi Wim,

        thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.
        One of the problems to start with is “traditional CRM”, is that the CRM like it was ment to be (Customer centric) or the CRM it has become (an IT implementation)?

        Let me restate my point: I think every company should be based on the customers needs and about listening to customers. (isn’t this what Marketing was (is/should be) about?)

        Feedback management should be part of companies not “going social” as well, the main differences are the speed, the reach and the fact that we can learn from customers much more easy without having to ask them (and doing an other survey)

        Your point about (service) co-creation: I am with you on that one. Co’s should not want to control everything communicated about their products as they were used to.
        But is that a strategy or a attitude? I don’t know any co’s who have stated in their strategy that thy want full control about the customer and about everything wich is communicated about their brand. In fact, most co’s have great strategies, they all want to ad value for their customers and listen to them. The problem might be that value is often misperceived and that people tend to see it as money.

        So, I think SCRM is more about doing what you promised your customers for years than changing your strategy.

        Maybe CRM failed (partly) because we didn’t have the tools to communicate with the customers like we do now. (but that is just a wild thought)

        .-= Ludo Raedts´s last blog ..LudoRaedts: @tanjageus En deze voor de start van een project of grote verandering; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaal1v-vLYQ =-.


        1. Agree completely Ludo..

          Although I do believe that co-creation is not an attitude but a strategic choice.. If a strategy can be formulated by answering 3 questions (and it can..): for Who , What , How..

          Co-creation is part of the How answer, and maybe even of the What..

          Of course one needs the attitude first to come up with that in a strategy.. so you are right even then 😉

          .-= Wim Rampen´s last blog ..Counting down… =-.


        2. Ludo,

          You absolutely hit the nail in the head when you say

          When I started pushing EFM (enterprise feedback management) as the missing component of CRM back in the early Aughts I was laughed at. Alas, it was proven that CRM could not deliver on its promise as it was setup since we never took on the challenge to asking the customer what they wanted, and how, but instead tried to guess it from transactional data. That proved to be a failure (and brought CRM along with it), and EFM set out to try to correct that.

          I wrote before that FM is the fourth pillar of CRM in an SCRM world. And I maintain that. Off-social channels should be monitored, as well as social-channels, and all that feedback and knowledge should be leveraged into actionable insights — used to improve the experience. That experience is in turn measured for feedback, and the loop / cycle continues.

          Great insight, glad I am not the only one seeing that way (most people are already tired of me saying it though).

          Thanks for the read and comments, welcome to the blog!


  17. The collaboration+ thing — that’s a difficult topic. 1) The answer will be different based on a variety of points — internal/external/both, business model, etc. etc. etc. 2) We’re operating in a “haven’t been there before, need to be immersed in it to recognize it” era.

    Collaboration, yes — but it will be an emergent collaboration — one not defined by communities of practice or any sort of ‘fixed’ affinities.
    .-= Rotkapchen´s last blog ..rotkapchen: @JBordeaux ROTFLMAO =-.


  18. Social media is the tool – what you do with it I think is the strategy. While, you seem to concentrate on how the tool called social media can help a business solve problems, I’m more interested on how it can be used to generate new relationships to expand a company’s opportunities. To me, it is networking at a very high level – if done appropriately, opens all kinds of doors that have long-lasting impact…the kind of doors that never before would have been opened.

    So, while I agree that some people confuse it and don’t understand how to use the different types of social media vehicles out there for the right purposes, I am staunch on it’s place in business strategy.
    .-= Mary Kurek´s last blog ..10 things that will turn your website into a sales machine =-.


    1. Mary,

      Thanks for your read, and the comment. I am not sure, but I do believe we are saying the same. I am more focused than anything on the strategy, not the tool. The tool is the means to implement it.

      You want to uncover new relationships? For sales or marketing? that becomes your strategy, which then necessitates channels and methods to generate the relationships. That selection of channels and methods is the strategy, the social channels are merely technologies or tools.

      Social media plays the same role in a strategy than a telephone or email management system, and that was my point. It is not a business saver, it is merely a tool to accomplish your strategic goals.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  19. Well said! You really need to understand social media is another way of doing things. Strategies have goals, therefore they can be measured. ROI is just one way to measure the success of a social media strategy.

    Social Media is a way to drive traffic to your website in order to develop a business relationship. It is a way to qualify and network with potential customers. Many business forget that and do not have a plan to hand off a lead to sales.

    I believe it is a very important piece of the puzzle, however it is not the holy grail.
    .-= Al Brocious´s last blog ..In God We Trust. And Each Other =-.


    1. Al,

      Agree 100%, especially when you say that you have to figure out what to do when you get the connection / relationship. That is the key here… not establishing the connection via social channels, but what to do with it. What information to collect, how to use it, and what to do with the new information.

      The business ability to do that, or not, is what is going to define their ultimate success at becoming social.

      Thanks for the read!


  20. Excellent post. You’re absolutely right. Social media is the means to the desired end state…. not the end state in itself. Understanding the impacts and real value of implementing social media is clearly important for lean business operations. Think your “bloody” metaphor is apropos (no I’m not British–not swearing at you.)

    Another note…LOVE the handy lower tool bar. Where/how did you get it?


    1. MariAn,

      Thanks for the kudos. I did not take the bloody part as an insult – no worries 🙂

      The toolbar is from Wibiya (http://www.wibiya.com) and it is a free, very cool tool… not sure if they are open to the public, I got it when it was in Beta.

      I agree with you that SM is not the end state, just a way to get there. That is what I am working towards changing in the minds of people this year.

      Thanks for the read!


  21. Bravo. Here’s the thing (from my point of view anyway). Let’s take this out of the marketing sphere and think about social from a business standpoint. What do social initiatives impact? Well, pretty much every standard business unit from R&D to Logistics. I did a post on this about a year ago here:


    Here is my point. No one department owns social. It is a collective resource and provides collective insight across the entire business enterprise. Different people have different interests, so we should be opening up sCRM, creating feeds for a social operational structure…sure, this is harder to do than to propose. So, for marketers to be successful, they should begin with structuring a cross-functional team that shares everything. Start small and simple and grow from there. Social is a thread that should run through the entire enterprise rather than be a tool or a silo. Until this concept takes hold, social will remain with media and continue to be the shiny penny of choice…until the next one comes along to eclipse it. If this happens, we as business professionals will have squandered one of the greatest efficiency opportunities since Demming.


    1. Yes!

      No one owns social because it is not an initiative or a project, it is a new way of working. Thus, the whole Social Business is nothing more than the natural evolution of business into this new way of working — brought on by the societal and generational shift to become more social.

      Thanks for saying it so clearly, and helping me understand it better… well said.


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