Feedback: August 2009

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For the rest of the August 2009 issue of CRM magazine, please click here.

The Truth about Social Networking
I recently read Louis Columbus’ Viewpoint article online at destinationCRM.com (“The Truth about Social Networking,” http://sn.im/0609vp8, June 25, 2009). Social media marketing is becoming highly influential—and recommended for the business sphere. How can a company not freely market its products or services while building and maintaining close relationships with prospects and customers?

But which social networking platform should you choose? Which network will be the best way to connect with other professionals and customers? As social networking begins to evolve, we must look toward the future and the innovative trends that will impact this process.

Search engines specializing in pay-per-click advertising, for example, may potentially revamp social networking through incentives: If the members of a network earn cash and prizes by staying socially active on a site, that can establish a strong member base for marketers to target.

Lisa Quinn
Public relations specialist, eZanga.com

Columbus makes two great points:

  1. The freedom—I won’t even try to murder the Greek word he uses, since I didn’t write it down. It’s amazing how many organizations forget what they were bestowed by their customers. A model for a new customer is emerging: What Columbus is seeing and describing as the wrong behavior is the old way of doing business. And that is changing. Soon.
  2. Columbus makes a comment about how all the research and academic intentions mean nothing if they’re not properly applied. Quite true—and something I always try to remember. Academic research is all very nice, but I have not seen much that makes the right moves toward becoming useful in business.

I wish people were focusing more on how to run their businesses better and not so much on sounding smart by quoting academic research.

Esteban Kolsky
Founder, Esteban Kolsky & Associates

Social Media: The Five-Year Forecast
I like the categorization of “the social eras” that Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang offers in your coverage of his recent report (“Social Media: The Five-Year Forecast,” http://sn.im/gw4nc, April 27, 2009; and The Tipping Point, http://sn.im/0609tp, June 2009). His framework gives neat handles to the recent past. But the final column is just an inversion of the brand/consumer relationship. It fails to capture the possible power of the mass of consumers using tools like vendor relationship management to lobby and negotiate with brands.

This could lead to the end of mass broadcast advertising and the reversal of business databases where individuals hold and manage their data points in personal CRM systems. They manage, access, and control brands’ relationships within the context of a legal data-use agreement—set by the consumer. That is the real promise of CRM and social media may be one of the tools to deliver it—but it may not be widespread until 2013. Maybe that’s the next column in the graphic: “The Era of Social Commercial Power.”

Rebecca Caroe

I’m completely ready for the future of social media!

This report will help leaders digest how vital the social Web is and will ultimately become.


I have been a fan of Forrester’s for years. And for years I have always been interested in the futurist predictions. I like Owyang’s hypothesis—it’s certainly well thought out. Even so, it probably won’t end up happening this way.
Having been online for 20 years—from BBS to Twitter—I liken this prediction to one I imagine would have happened around 1890 where “analysts” might have believed the future of transportation would include flying horses.

In all predictions we’re limited by the models we know. We’re also hampered by what frames of reference we live in. I have seen scads of predictions—and most have been off the mark. Stuff happens to change the entire culture.

Pete Mosley

Thank you for covering this research article online and in the magazine. I find it curious that even the big five information technology companies can’t predict the future. What an exciting and interesting field to be in!

Mike McDermott
Bash Foo Social Media

A fascinating framework explaining the evolution of social networking. One area I haven’t seen addressed yet is the time commitment required to create an online identity and share significant life events with one’s online community.
People are devoting large blocks of time on a daily basis in front of their computers engaged in what appear to be low-value technological communications, all for the sake of creating an online identity and community.

At what point do people become fatigued with it all and go back to low-tech personal communications? And what would that mean to the adoption timeline for social networking explained in this article?

Ken Boff

These are tricky waters to navigate, but the report offers some very useful trail markers. The theory matches well with what we’re doing in the B2B space.

James Colgan

It’s a shame that Forrester’s full report comes with a relatively high price tag. Nonprofit organizations are struggling with harnessing the power of social media mostly because they cannot demonstrate the value to management and board members.

Having a report such as this available to them would really help establish how valuable it is to invest time and money in social media.

Crystal Thies

The Fail Whale of Social Media Marketing
I’m always disturbed by the label “social media marketing” because right away it’s associated with the terms that consultant Charlene Li wants us all to avoid: campaigns, one-way messaging, and tactics designed to feed into the sales machine (“The 4 Fail Whales of Social Media Marketing,” April 2, 2009, http://sn.im/dcrm040209a).

Li makes some great points and, as co-author of Groundswell, definitely is a valuable resource. And yet I find it interesting that she and others associate social media with marketing and then can’t figure out why all these people who don’t “get it” are applying old-school approaches and terms.

Suzi Craig

Letters may be edited for length or clarity.

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