Social channels are still used largely for marketing and public relations. A recent Digital Brand Expressions survey found those two areas were, by far, the most likely to be included in social media communications plans (for the companies that had them). Sales is a distant third. While some social media campaigns are hailed as successful marketing efforts, few attempt to move beyond that to full-fledged social CRM.
When I interviewed CRM analyst and advisor Brent Leary last summer, one of the points he made was that social CRM, while it relies heavily on communicating with customers via social channels like Facebook and Twitter, works best with a solid foundation of traditional CRM. He told me:
At some point, you do have to enter the formal sales and customer-service processes. You need to integrate social media into those formal processes.
I think CRM expert Wim Rampen would agree, based on a post on Win Rampen's Blog. Rampen says the recent wildly successful Old Spice campaign, in which hunky spokesperson Isaiah Mustafa responded to fan communications on social channels like Twitter via a series of clever YouTube videos, is not social CRM.
Rampen believes the Old Spice campaign lacked four key elements of social CRM, most of which take their cues from traditional CRM.
While traditional CRM calls for targeting approaches to specific customer segments, the Old Spice campaign cast a wide net, writes Rampen.
Old Spice also didn't make an effort to focus on its most valuable customers, another key tenet of traditional CRM. Instead, it reached out to celebrities. Granted, this earned the brand a lot of media attention, but it didn't promote a closer connection with customers.
Providing value for the customer is another area in which the Old Spice campaign fell short, opines Rampen. While it provided fleeting entertainment value, it made no effort to find out what its customers or potential customers actually want from a body wash. (Body wash is the product Mustafa plugs, though I question whether many folks even know this.)
Lastly, while the campaign generated considerable buzz, Rampen thinks it could have been even more effective if it let its customers take the lead in promoting Old Spice. He writes:
For all we (and they) know, none of the people engaging in the campaign actually used, will use, recommended or will recommend the product itself.
Several folks commenting on Rampen's post contribute what I think are some great additional thoughts. @LawrenceOfAvaya says the campaign lacked "deliberate structure, plan, customer information gathering and use, campaign alignment and impact on later service moments." Laurence Buchanan writes customers weren't engaged in a two-way dialogue or given any real sense that they were controlling the conversation. Brian Vellmure would have welcomed "an onramp for ongoing engagement." Maria Ogneva says social CRM isn't a campaign, but "a long-term commitment, cultural shift and the ability and *willingness* to walk a mile in your customers' (consumers) shoes."
A common thread running through most of the comments: Procter & Gamble (which owns the Old Spice brand) had the opportunity to use the campaign as part of a more cohesive social CRM initiative, but failed to do so.