All customers are not created equal. Nor are visitors to your website, followers of your Twitter feed, or ‘Like’rs of your Facebook page.
While companies often give lip service to providing all customers and prospects equal allocations of resources and attention, the truth is that resources are limited – people, money, time. These limitations force organizations to tier their efforts, and to apply more resources to the more valuable relationships in order to provide the greatest economic return – ROI – on their investments.
Understanding who our most valuable, profitable customers are – and supporting processes to channel more resources and attention on them – is the entire foundation of investments in CRM applications, loyalty programs and other traditional customer-facing systems and processes.
In this new era of Social engagement, do we need to employ similar methods and tools to understand relative value? Absolutely! If anything, measurement becomes far more important, although the methods through which such measurements are attained changes dramatically.
This is exactly why, despite the protestations of many, Influence Scoring systems and tools such as Klout and our own Inbox Influencer continue to rise in importance. As NetBase CMO Lisa Rosner recently blogged:
As marketers, we’re always measuring things. It used to be butts in seats, then clicks, now followers and re-tweets. In 2012, we will be measured and rewarded by metrics like Klout scores—both our personal and our company’s scores. Last I checked, my Klout score is higher than my age—whew! But that was not the case a few months ago. So as you drive followers to your various social media outlets, make sure you have all the necessary elements going: influence, comments, mentions, unique likers and yes, still re-tweeters, to keep that score growing. Your boss is watching and measuring.
It is indeed about measurement – and the social data that we need to measure to understand Influence, and react accordingly, is expanding massively and rapidly. We cannot manage what we cannot measure, so tools to measure – and make recommendations on – this data are in increasingly high demand. As I discussed during my presentation at the recent Social CRM event in NYC, IBM estimates that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last 2 years alone.
As Cision USA President & COO Peter Granat wrote in his excellent post titled “Taming ‘big data’ for influencer marketing” yesterday in B2B Magazine, we are still in the very early innings:
Social media is only the first foray into big data in influencer marketing. The next advance will connect social profiles and content to customer profiles and transactions, accurately and in real time to bring message targeting to a new level of relevance and impact.
In other words, the coming challenge is to connect the results of the new science of Influence with the existing science of Customer Relationship Management – which is what the term ‘Social CRM’ should ultimately be about.
Like it or not (and many self-proclaimed ‘influencers’ don’t) Influence Measurement is here to stay – and grow in significance – in both marketers’ and executive toolkits. As Doc Searls suggests in the most recent Harvard Business Review, this shift will be wholesale, turning the practice of ‘marketing’ in a completely different direction:
This shift will be scary to many. It will strip the gears of marketing as we know it. But it will also improve marketing by fostering the design of new and better means of customer engagement—means that satisfy real demand directly, inform product development, and build true loyalty that goes both ways.