The enter­prise social media solu­tion space just got a whole lot mud­dier. Ear­lier this month I shared the news around our new social mar­ket­ing prod­uct, Adobe Social, to over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive response. But if you’re a mar­keter, be it specif­i­cally social, dig­i­tal, B2B/B2C, or oth­er­wise, you’re going to want to pay close atten­tion over the next few weeks to indus­try con­fer­ence chat­ter from CRM providers who have recently invested in social. Why? You’ll real­ize they’re not the solu­tions for you, Mr./Ms. Mar­keter. Let me explain.

As a mar­keter, you are charged with build­ing brand aware­ness, engag­ing your cus­tomers in mean­ing­ful and rel­e­vant ways, dri­ving cus­tomer demand and demon­strat­ing busi­ness impact from your mar­ket­ing efforts. Real­iz­ing suc­cess in these goals requires engag­ing all cus­tomer touch points and mar­ket­ing chan­nels and lever­ag­ing a mix of those options to reach and con­vert peo­ple across dif­fer­ent parts of the cus­tomer jour­ney. It also means being able to con­nect data and insights from chan­nel to chan­nel to cre­ate a seam­less, and increas­ingly per­son­al­ized, cus­tomer expe­ri­ence that opti­mizes con­ver­sion from the first click to the con­ver­sion point.

When is the last time you invested in a chan­nel that couldn’t demon­strate its return on these goals? When is the last time you looked at only one mar­ket­ing chan­nel to drive those busi­ness results? I hope you answered, never.

Get­ting back to social, I think social media as a chan­nel is not only great for gen­er­at­ing aware­ness and cre­at­ing inter­est at the top of the fun­nel, but it’s also a great enabler for inter­ac­tions in chan­nels fur­ther down. While many mar­keters believe social stinks at direct sales, we really can’t dis­count its effect on other chan­nels that drive con­ver­sion. In fact, we found that retail­ers, for exam­ple, are under­valu­ing 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. And this is what I want to high­light today.

What will CRM providers announce?

In the next few weeks you’re going to hear a lot about Social CRM and arm­ing your sales­peo­ple and cus­tomer sup­port folks with social data so they can bet­ter engage with cus­tomers. If CRM is cen­tral to your busi­ness model, that’s great value.

You’ll also prob­a­bly hear about next-gen mar­ket­ing solu­tions and how social lis­ten­ing and engage­ment tools can help you iden­tify trends, oppor­tu­ni­ties and threats in real-time, which can enable sales, mar­ket­ing and sup­port to take imme­di­ate action on it. So true, but that’s old news.

So rid­dle me this. Pre­tend you’re a fic­ti­tious motor­cy­cle man­u­fac­turer named Mar­ley Richard­son. For that brand advo­cate who has spent his days tout­ing your brand to friends and col­leagues, who proudly wears your t-shirts, but has yet to actu­ally buy your motor­cy­cle, what value does he have to your business?

  • Do you know who he is?
  • Do you know how he has influ­enced oth­ers to walk into your show­room and buy the lat­est model?
  • Do you know what tan­gi­ble impact he has on your business?

Social CRM can’t tell you that. CRM only reveals what has hap­pened after the cus­tomer has raised their hand, after he’s engaged with you, and after he’s trans­acted with you. You have no idea what his behav­ior is before that point and can’t lever­age those insights to go after other peo­ple like him.

Here’s where Social CRM solu­tions fall short:

  1. Con­nect­ing social media to your bot­tom line
    Why are you and so many other com­pa­nies choos­ing to invest in places like Face­book and Twit­ter? For more Likes and retweets? Nope. You’re lever­ag­ing social media to drive per­for­mance in key busi­ness objec­tives like brand aware­ness, cus­tomer demand and loy­alty, cost-reduction and rev­enue. With­out a con­nec­tion to these bottom-line busi­ness results, you can’t demon­strate why your invest­ments in social media are pay­ing off. Ask your Social CRM ven­dor to explain where their ana­lyt­ics come from and show you exactly how much busi­ness impact your social media posts drove.
  2. Con­nect­ing social media to the rest of your cus­tomer expe­ri­ence
    Social CRM gives you social tools to enhance cus­tomer pro­files. That’s great. But, how do you act on that data proac­tively? You can take action with it, but only in a reac­tionary sense. Social CRM can help you respond to cus­tomer ser­vice inquiries, or give some addi­tional color to a sales­per­son try­ing to close a B2B deal. But, how do you use social data to make social a proac­tive busi­ness dri­ver? Ask your Social CRM ven­dor to show you not only how to sup­port cus­tomer ser­vice, but cre­ate defined seg­ments and tar­get con­sumers using: per­son­al­ized dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences assem­bled on the fly based on social pro­files, tar­geted adver­tise­ments based on engage­ment in social or social pro­files, and the com­bi­na­tion of cus­tomer behav­ioral and social data together to more effec­tively man­age invest­ments across all channels.

If the CRM use case is cen­tral to your busi­ness, then yes, social CRM makes a lot of sense. But for those of you out there where mar­ket­ing plays a crit­i­cal role in cre­at­ing brand aware­ness, increas­ing brand loy­alty, and dri­ving new cus­tomer demand, what’s the point if your social mar­ket­ing solu­tion is dis­con­nected from tan­gi­ble busi­ness met­rics and the rest of the cus­tomer journey?

Pro­file data vs. behav­ioral data

At the end of the mar­ket­ing day, there is a dif­fer­ence between the data you get from a data­base and the insights you can draw from actual cus­tomer behav­ior. What I say in my Face­book and Twit­ter pro­files only reveals a frac­tion of what I actu­ally do through­out the pur­chase cycle or con­ver­sion fun­nel. And I believe behav­ioral data is much more indica­tive of true busi­ness impact and influ­ence than pro­file data.

Look, I’m not say­ing CRM is not valu­able to a busi­ness; Adobe val­ues this, too. But when it comes to mar­ket­ing, you need vis­i­bil­ity across all mar­ket­ing chan­nels, and to effec­tively lever­age social as a busi­ness dri­ver, you need both social data and cus­tomer behav­ioral data work­ing in tan­dem, not in silos.

Do more than just touch social cus­tomers; Con­vert them

Adobe’s approach to social mar­ket­ing goes beyond social CRM, enabling you to directly con­nect your social media efforts to tan­gi­ble busi­ness results and then con­nect that activ­ity and insight to other touch points of the cus­tomer jour­ney to drive conversion.

Only Adobe can give you access to both social data and behav­ioral data across web­sites, adver­tis­ing, mobile, even offline. And for the mar­keter who is charged with the art and sci­ence of grow­ing the busi­ness and prov­ing you’re not a cost cen­ter, Adobe’s rich her­itage in cre­ative and multi-channel mea­sure­ment is just the ticket for deliv­er­ing and demon­strat­ing social ROI.

Ask your Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing rep to explain how. Check us out at www​.adobe​.com/​p​r​o​d​u​c​t​s​/​s​o​c​i​a​l​.​h​tml and tweet us up on @adobesocial.


Lawrence Mak Photo Lawrence Mak is a prod­uct mar­ket­ing man­ager for Adobe Social and Adobe’s social mar­ket­ing solu­tions. Lawrence has spent sev­eral years dri­ving mar­ket­ing strat­egy for social media plat­forms and has been fea­tured on Mash­able and All Facebook.