It’s been a year since our first Social Media Issue (June 2009) dedicated an entire month to that topic. We believed at the time that social media tools would affect not just customers’ ability to communicate, but their attitudes and expectations about companies, products, services, and brands as well. We still believe this. Last month, our Customer Empowerment Issue—behind a cover that declared “I Am Not an Eyeball”—underscored how the premise of the decade-old book The Cluetrain Manifesto not only still applies today, but is reinforced by social media. The enterprise software industry’s approach to social media, however, has vastly matured in only 12 short months.
That’s why we’re bringing to you our second Social Media Issue. This time, though, we’ve moved beyond merely defining and explaining social media and its potential impact on businesses. Recognizing how the industry has grown—and in some cases stumbled—over the past year, this issue focuses on the current and next phases of social CRM.
A lot has happened with enterprise social media tools over the past year. As is typical with any new and maturing industry, the market for enterprise social media solutions began with a lot of hype. We saw the rise of social media monitoring tools such as Alterian, Nielsen’s BuzzMetrics, and Radian6 as well as social media community tools from Communispace, Jive Software, and Lithium Technologies. Then came the early wave of mergers and acquisitions (e.g., RightNow Technologies’ purchase of HiveLive; Salesforce.com’s acquisitions of GroupSwim and Jigsaw; the merger of Attensity and Biz360 to form Attensity360; and Lithium’s purchase of Scout Labs). We’ve also seen the development of some organically grown solutions from larger companies, such as SAS Social Media Analytics.
Throughout all of this, the term “social CRM,” which tries to integrate data from the social Web with customer relationship efforts, became more widely adopted. There’s still a lot of room for improvement here (especially when it comes to integrating social tools with the customer record), but the industry is making great strides.
And customer companies are recognizing this. In a relatively short amount of time, organizations have gone from learning about social CRM tools to implementing them. Many already recognize the value of communities and see how different types of communities can help their enterprise, such as internal communities, support communities, and branded communities, according to the cover story “Crafting a Community," by Associate Editor Lauren McKay. Other organizations are using communities for marketing purposes, according to the feature story, “Marketing to a Community,” by our newest editorial assistant, Juan Martinez. (Juan, by the way, will cover marketing strategies for us. Feel free to email him at jmartinez@destinationCRM.com.)
If you’re interested in taking your social media efforts to the next level, read this issue. We’ll also cover these topics and more at our CRM Evolution conference (August 2–4) at the New York Marriott Marquis. This year, we’re dedicating an entire track to social media, featuring some of the top minds in the field. At CRM Evolution you can learn from these industry experts and network with like-minded people about any number of topics. For more information, visit www.CRMevolution2010.com. I hope to see you there.
David Myron is editorial director of CRM magazine. He can be reached at dmyron@destinationCRM.com.