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Come Join Me on the Journey to Implement Four Social Media Pilots

ISM - Customer Centric Business Strategies

Come Join Me on the Journey to Implement Four Social Media Pilots

By: Barton Goldenberg

April 2009

For a number of years I’ve been sharing with you how many ISM customers have utilized people, process and technology tools and techniques to drive successful CRM implementations.  No bother if you missed these columns; most have been compiled in my latest book, CRM in Real Time, published by Information Today (the parent of this magazine).

For my next three columns, I’d like to try something new, namely invite you to join me in a journey to implement a large social media initiative – CRM’s newest front – at one of our long-term customers.  This customer, who I’ll be referring to as Front Runner, is a well know brand that provides services to consumers on a global basis.  During our journey we’ll be planning, designing and implementing social medial pilots at four Front Runner subsidiaries.  I’ll also be sharing with you all of the lessons that we learn along the way.

Social media is a set of highly interactive technology tools that leverage the fundamental human desire to interact with others.  This includes technology like blogs, wikis, video, RSS, widgets and podcasts.  It also includes social networking technology currently utilized by familiar sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and LinkedIn.  Front Runner sees social media tools as a new way to communicate with and relate to employees, consumers, partners and other stakeholders.  Using social media tools, Front Runner will be creating on-line communities that allow its customers and prospects to get information, opinions, solutions and ratings directly from each other rather than from other organizations.

Social media is blossoming in large part because it provides the preferred channel for communications among the world’s 750 million Digital Clients of which 75 million reside in the USA.  The growth of social media is mind-boggling: 1.3 billion people on-line, community members spend 54% more than non-members, live support costs $12 per call versus $.25 for self-service, 56% of on-line members log on once a day or more, members visit a company’s social media site nine times as often and view four times the pages as non-members, etc.

We’ll start our journey with the building of Front Runner’s social media plan.  Front Runner has decided to utilize the following four-step approach:

Step #1: Constituency Selection.  Front Runner has chosen the constituency that they want to work with during their four-month pilots.  They considered internal employees, customers, partners that they work with, prospects, and even prospective employees.  After much consideration, Front Runner subsidiaries selected customers and prospects as their constituency of choice.

Step #2: Technographic Profiling.  Front Runner is now in the process of determining this constituency’s technographic profile.  Technographic profiling is the latest way to segment your customer base.  It is similar to demographic or psychographic segmentation but focuses on technology behaviors.  Forrester Research has created a technographic ladder; at the one end of the ladder you have the ‘creators’ of blogs, videos, etc., in the middle you have the ‘joiners’ who tag web pages, use RSS feeds, etc., and at the other end of the ladder you have the ‘inactives’ who are sitting on the sideline and not participating in the social media boom.  Front Runner is performing technographic profiles to determine which customer and prospect constituents are most likely to participate in their social media pilots and how best to approach and engage them in the pilots.

Step #3: Business Goal Identification.  Front Runner has three goals.  The first is to increase customer satisfaction/loyalty which will be measured by better access to information, more responsiveness from Front Runner subsidiaries, and community building.  The second is to increase sales through strengthening the Front Runner brand, promoting work of mouth, and developing customer evangelists.  The third goal is to decrease costs including lowering customer support costs through self-service and community support as well as decreasing new customer acquisition costs.  As Front Runner implements their pilots, we’ll be sharing with you how well these goals are achieved.

Step #4: Strategy Selection.  Each Front Runner subsidiary will soon lock on an appropriate social media strategy for their pilot.  This ranges from customer listening (researching), talking (marketing), energizing (sales), supporting (support) and embracing (product development) – see Groundswell for more detail on these strategy options.

While guiding Front Runner subsidiaries in the design and implementation of their social media pilots, we’re also in the process of assessing social media platform vendors who Front Runner will use to implement their pilots.  On the next step of our journey (my July 2009 column), I’ll be describing each of the four pilots in greater detail.  I’ll also review how Front Runner will be utilizing social media tools offered by their vendors of choice to deliver a world-class social media experience for their customers and prospects.

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