Here is the “Executive Summary” from Forrester:
“Today’s social experience is disjointed because consumers have separate identities in each social network they visit. A simple set of technologies that enable a portable identity will soon empower consumers to bring their identities with them — transforming marketing, eCommerce, CRM, and advertising. IDs are just the beginning of this transformation, in which the Web will evolve step by step from separate social sites into a shared social experience. Consumers will rely on their peers as they make online decisions, whether or not brands choose to participate. Socially connected consumers will strengthen communities and shift power away from brands and CRM systems; eventually this will result in empowered communities defining the next generation of products. “
The Way They Roll
Solis begins … “[They] published a report that attempted to bring the future of the Social Web into focus.” The report uses the familiar biological lexicon and works to describe how the world ‘evolved’ to this point, though misses a mark or two for not tracking the real early adoptors, the user groups and global university networks that may have been more instrumental than any amount of AOL users.
Solis’s most interesting take is on the topic of “SRM recognizes that whether someone recommended a product, purchased a product, or simply recognized it publicly, in the end, each makes an impact on behavior at varying levels. ” He suggests, “I see it, starts to embrace a corporate philosophy and supporting infrastructure that migrates away from CRM and even sCRM to one of Social Relationship Management or SRM. This will usher in the fifth era as observed by Forrester.”
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Typically, when we see some corporate reports you find the justification for those things on the list for getting funded, somewhere in the puzzle. I guess you could always follow the lessons we learned during Watergate, from Woodward and Bernstein. They taught us, follow the grease. Omniture’s acquisition, players like Eloqua and Tea Leaf are organizations to look at to understand how the Internet is really evolving. Anyone who would like to contribute on those topics is invited.
Follow The Grease
Young companies paving Social networking lanes around the Internet continue to fight for a path towards profitability and some are more obvious bets to get on the IPO track than others. Still others, pursue an existence that is circuitous but sometimes just as successful. It really is amazing that so many are able to offer so much with no revenue streams at all. We applaud all the upstarts.
No longer startin’ up, LinkedIn has a leg up, for tech marketers, and we know because we already buy eyeballs from them for our technology leaders. Showing up on the home page of all the CTO’s and CIO’s who like LI is good, and it seems to provide just enough information on business folk- as is necessary- to make a decision about a connection. The group function is interesting but users still grapple for new conventions and ways to find their niche. Technology doesn’t wait for culture.
I would bet that most companies will own a page or two on LI just for the connections and intranet benefits. Lots of jobs have been created just noodling around it, and we think those opportunities will increase.
Facebook is hard to see from a business-to-business pov, but consumers seem to love it? Then again, egosurfing is on the rise and though it may take a while to generate the kinds of relationships that trigger business transactions. Far as making connections, LinkedIn is a martini at the country club introduction, Facebook is a Pacifica at the softball game introduction and Twitter is the jam-packed bar car on a slow train. Rat-a-tat-tat. A David Mamet play, inside a Woody Allen movie. But rather than the “Fire hose” as the metaphor Rohit Bhargava chooses on his web blog, we see it as the cranky 125 -year-old fire hydrant, that might not give you much more than a dribble, and, then at times, you might not be able to close it down. Rohit provides a good list of activities and ways to use Twitter lists and ways to segment your efforts and control the flow.
Twitter may have more moves than Michael Jordan, but how to use it to develop business relationships, and how to evolve it for your own best practices use, seems to change routinely. We are hooked on it, and we think it has enormous powers of flexibility for delivering a targeted message with force. It’s very implicit. If you consider how much has evolved just with the #hashtag convention, you begin to understand the complexities of the technology. It challenges the imagination as to why others aren’t so intuitive. If you accept that our technologies are way ahead of all cultures, perhaps the 140 character limit was the singular nugget that didn’t intimidate the way blogs and email in general have caused some to exercise caution diving in with things they might not want public. It’s the essence of support for short term memory loss and point-of-purchase modeling and instant gratification in pure 1′s and 0′s.
Over on Mitch Lieberman’s blog the #scrm group is asking about the customer service capabilities of Twitter and whether or not the climate is right for the customer service applicability to fit Twitter? Actually, I think you already see instances where it has been successful, and where it has failed. Sometimes the same company exhibits both sides which happens on the Internet if you watch long enough.
We like the way Prem Kumar’s company states it succinctly:
“Unless ‘social’ technologies by themselves are able to change the culture of the company to achieve shifts in how business is conducted, we need to drive the culture change by other means. The culture change might be to become a listening organization, customer centric organization, helping/influencing buying decisions rather than selling organization or co-creating end-to-end value rather than at point of sale.”
Social networking is what happened along the way to the Internet. Social networking is what happened when technology had to wait for people to catch on. Like any good virus it sought oxygen, or chemistry, and found it in the underbelly of the Internet and nurtured it until the bottom feeders evolved into sophisticated top-of-the-food-chain predators. Oxygen or grease, or anything to combust that will fuel this run.
Social Networking Approval (#sna) is what intelligent buyers will demand on future purchases. All the oxygen goes out the room when you realize that, if it works, it will gain in fitness rapidly and remain adopted until we find another wheel to grease.