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Our Holy Grail? Knowledge, Intelligence & Engagement

Recently, Eloqua published a blog post which looked into how marketers are aware of Social CRM, but aren’t actually using it. Social CRM adoption is low. Very low, considering the amount of chatter that has been going on for the last three years surrounding SCRM and how it is going to ‘revolutionise’ the CRM space.

However, as with all B2B technologies, there is a lengthy period of chatter that precedes widespread uptake. We may be on that tipping point, and it’s late, late, late in the day. That report showed that 46% aren’t using it, 21% are planning on it, and only 16% of marketers are using SCRM. There’s no iPad moment here – there’s no “here it is and everyone’s got one” – CRM is a slow-burn, long-sale with implementation times that stretch back further dependent on scale of implementation.

For me, the holy grail for marketers is Social CRM, and it’s not necessarily because it allows us to communicate better, and in a more integrated fashion. It’s because it gives us significantly greater marketing intelligence in terms of customer engagement – and modelling that engagement into something that we can act upon.

Microsoft Dynamics buys MarketingPilot

If you don’t know what MarketingPilot is, or what they do, then the clue’s in the name: automated marketing. This may be a relatively small purchase, and was carried out in reportedly record time, but what’s important about this is that it demonstrates a major CRM provider moving into Salesforce territory.

The acquisition of MarketingPilot gives Microsoft an added dimension: that of integrated digital, social and traditional marketing channels. It will not revolutionise Dynamics, but it will provide an evolution towards greater social integration, providing marketers with enhanced intelligence on customer engagement.

Microsoft has been moving in this direction for a while, and its white paper, The Connected Enterprise, was published just after it acquired the social media site, Yammer. However, Microsoft aren’t the only ones purchasing in order to boost their Social CRM offering…

Salesforce and Oracle keep on buying

Salesforce purchased Buddy Media earlier this year, spending approximately $700m in the process. That came hot on the heels of the acquisition of Radian6 for just under half that amount. Oracle unveiled their own Social Relationship Management platform this month, having acquired Collective Intellect, Involver and Vitrue – all in 2012.

This is merely proof that we’ve moved on from the talking and the CRM providers are actively pushing SCRM as part of their core offering. While Salesforce were already in this area, it’s clear that this is a significant investment in bolstering their proposition.

So what does this really mean for us, the marketers?

Perhaps the real reason social CRM has seen such slow uptake, up to now, is that CRM software renewals come up so infrequently, and the business case for social integration has, until now, been insufficiently spelled out.

Therefore, it is our responsibility to express clearly how social CRM can develop our understanding of the customer and ultimately deliver value for the business. And by value, we mean “adding to the bottom line”. How does it fit in with revenue, and how does it ‘assist’ other conversions (because it does, you just have to prove it!)

The CRM providers have seen the bottom line impact of investing in marketing automation and social media, but it’s now up to us to express exactly how SCRM is not just a marketing investment, but a business growth investment.