An interesting take from Adobe on its Digital Marketing blog. The company anticipates a flurry of social customer relationship management (CRM) product announcements from industry in the coming weeks, but Adobe's Lawrence Mak advises asking, outright, "What’s the point?" None whatsoever, if CRM is disconnected from tangible business metrics and the rest of the customer journey, and Mak tasks vendors to explain precisely how their solutions do connect.
Regarding the bottom line, Mak advises that the objectives for social media must not be "Likes," which are a number, not a success metric. Instead, the objectives must be to drive performance in key business objectives like brand awareness, customer loyalty, cost reduction and revenue. A social CRM vendor will promise improvements in metrics like those, but you must ask them outright how social media drove those improvements.
Regarding the customer journey, Mak advises that social CRM is for more than enhancing customer profiles; it can be used as a proactive business driver. Certainly, ask the vendor how social CRM supports customer service, but, ask too how it can:
- Create defined segments
- Target consumers with personalized digital experiences
- Be used to manage investments across channels, using a combination of behavioral and social data.
Adobe And Econsultancy in the just-released "6th Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing" found that 73% of companies with annual revenues of less than $150 million agree that social media is integral to their marketing mix, while two-thirds of companies with revenues of more than $150 million agree. But they saw social media as a brand/awareness channel, with 64% of client-side respondents and 61% of agencies agreeing. Among clients, social media as a marketing channel was second (44%), followed by social media as a content marketing strategy (37%). For agencies, social media's role as a content marketing channel (38%) and as a marketing campaign channel (37%) were more on par. Agencies were more inclined to see an important role for social media as a customer service channel than clients (30% vs. 25%), while lead generation and sales were top-2 choices for fewer overall.
Little impact upon the bottom line, directly, but hardly disconnected from the customer journey. Perhaps the most prescient solid-number metric is leads, and generally, smaller companies are more likely to see an important role for social media in lead generation than larger companies (19% vs. 6%), found Adobe and Econsultancy. But as a metric, companies are far more likely to measure volume of traffic from social media channels (79%), engagement (71%) and number of brand mentions (50%) than to measure sales and leads (38%).
"While many marketers believe social stinks at direct sales…[we] can’t discount its effect on other channels that drive conversion," said Mak. Adobe found that retailers undervalue social's impact on conversion by up to 94%. "Clearly, people connect with you in more places than just social media. You can’t decide to invest in social thinking it alone will solely drive growth and profit…nor can you ignore its impact" on the rest of your marketing mix.