It is only Tuesday, therefore I am going to avoid the lesson in Etymology (‘weekly lesson in Etymology‘). Today, I decided I would push the conversation back to the core for a bit. I am currently in the Big Apple, working with a client, more details in a minute on that front. I decided to drive from the lair in Vermont down to New York, a five hour drive, but a worthwhile venture.

Why? Because, I cannot read email, text, iPad, Surf, RSS Feed, Tweet, Facebook, Linkin, Skype or YouTube – But I can PodCast! Before I left, I pulled down Paul Greenberg’s latest Experience on the Edge, threw it on my HTC phone, and off I went. For the first hour of my journey, through the spine of the Green Mountains, where fall color is just starting to peek threw (10% color for you leaf peepers) I was able to listen to Paul regale on topics ranging from analyst relations to Bill Band’s (of Forrester fame) Benchmarks for CRM selection and deployment – 2010. The segment on what type of emails NOT to send to Paul, or any other person you would like to influence is worth the listen, but there is more.

Lists and Misconceptions

Paul outlined the following as the top five (bottom five?) misconceptions of Social CRM:

  1. SCRM is a substitute for CRM
    2. The Social Media crowd and the CRM crowd are feuding
    3. It’s the same as social media.
    4. Its fluffy, a crock, not really anything.
    5. There’s no way to measure a return.

I am not going to address each of the topics as Paul did, sorry. For one, he did a good job and pushing an agenda is not my objective. I simply wanted to support Paul here and help him to spread the word. Number 1, to me is the most fundamental, important, do not forget it statement on the list. I will go further to suggest that if anyone really stares at that item, agrees even in the least that a sound Social CRM strategy extends CRM (some part of it at least, maybe not the all parts), then the rest of the list is just noise.

Why do I say that? Well, If we get past that, then the Social Media crowd and CRM crowd will begin to see things in the same light, that Social CRM is not the same thing as Social Media; nor Social Networks, Social Marketing, Social Bookmarking or any other topic starting with ‘Social’. If we can get past the fact that Social CRM is a necessary extension of CRM, driven by customers, partners and the need to communicate on a whole lot more channels, then we will not consider it a ‘crock’ and then we can get to the point of measuring a return.


One of those fun anecdotes which gets thrown around a lot is “When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”. It is for this reason that I have not really talked specifically about ‘Social CRM’ as much lately, as the skewed opinion is that I see everything as a Social CRM problem. I readily admit that companies are not saying “I have a Social CRM problem”.

The symptoms being described by many companies I speak with could be called lots of things, I am not overly concerned with the acronym, nor the label. I am not too concerned with what we call the extension of CRM that rises to challenge of solving the problem. Social CRM seems like a good name, though a little bit overhyped, that issue can be addressed very simply be putting conversations you are having into proper context, and what problem you are trying to solve.

Oh, one last thing. Before you go down the path of ROI and the high level of concern here, consider the following. According to Kantar Media: “Total advertising is up a healthy 5.7 percent to $63.57 billion at the halfway point [2010]” That is $63B spent and I challenge anyone (I could use the data) to forward me any metrics that directly links advertising spend on TV, Newspaper, Magazines to purchases made.

ROI is important, do not get me wrong, but let’s hold everyone to the same bar. Social CRM does have ROI, and as we deploy more socially aware systems, the returns will show themselves, I can assure you. As long as you make it about your customers, then we are good.