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Social CRM Transformation And The Path Ahead

Ramesh Ramakrishnan

Social CRM Transformation And The Path AheadThe early days of experimenting with social media programs are over; the focus now is not only about fans and followers but also about customers and advocates. Leading companies are now embracing Social CRM to leverage social media and not only gain customer insight but to also gain market insight, increase sales, improve cross-selling/up-selling, improve pre/post sale customer experience and carry out  strategy, operations course correction, build trust,  to name a few.

A starting point in the Social CRM journey is to get the social media basics right – the ‘Monitoring and Engagement platform’, but if a company is struggling to make this work, it might make very little progress across the points mentioned above.

Social CRM programs have more to do with the intent of the company; the openness of its employees to agree when there is a problem and leverage internal information, processes to engage with the customer instead of turning a blind eye or blaming different departments. To understand the impact of the monitoring and engagement platform as mentioned above, let’s go through an example.

Nestle – On March 17th 2010, Greenpeace posted a video on youtube showing an office worker finding a bloody finger of an orang-utan in his kit-kat (The background was, Nestle bought palm oil for the Kitkat candy bars and other products from a local vendor in Indonesia that had allegedly cleared rain forests to establish palm plantations, which affects oragutans.) On the same day, Nestle managed to remove the video citing copyright infringement.

On March 18th, Greenpeace hosted the video on Vimeo generating about 80,000 in the first hour, on the same day Nestle’s facebook received negative comments and the community manager engaged in a vicious argument. March 19th, Nestle’s facebook response goes into mainstream media as ‘anti-social’.

March 20th, Greenpeace uses Google ad words to drive traffic to their site and encourages people to share the orang-utan video on their social networks. March 21st, Nestle shares the original orang-utan video on youtube, 180,000 views! March 22nd, Nestle issues a press release about suspension of sourcing with the vendor in question.

Nestle then starts discussions with Greenpeace, joined a roundtable on Sustainable Palm oil and has a team that monitors social sentiments regularly. Nestle now has moved from Global RepTrakTM (a Global Reputation pulse score) of 20 in 2010 to 10 in 2013.

Marketing is going through a transformation and for Social CRM to work, the idea behind integrating social media deep into the company has to be understood by employees; customer service is no longer a front line issue only. Employees and departments need come together to serve the customers, as delays and poor engagement due to internal hurdles will only exasperate the problem externally.  It’s not only an organisational culture transformation but is also about revisiting goals and the ways in which relevant roles should be performed in future. Here are 5 steps:

1.) Instill a sense of urgency, importance, and empathy

Social networking being 24/7, customers have a sense of urgency or expectation for an immediate or real-time response. Also emotional and sentimental aspects of customers or influencers (ie Nestle example above) need to be taken into consideration, whilst setting up the ‘Working group’ for Social CRM.

Depending upon the organisations internal collaboration mechanisms, a rapid action team can initially support the social CRM team (till a Centre of Excellence takes shape), through internal co-ordination, when sensitive issues go viral. It is important for the social media team and other employees to also think about what their own expectations would be if they were in the position of a customer, prospect or influencer in touch with them.

2.) Select the right Social media product and partner for flexibility and integration with enterprise processes

This industry has grown at such a pace that today there are many sub-categories; some companies are trying to be end-to-end players by taking an organic, inorganic route or both, leading to important integration decisions and intense competition. Here are 5 major categories,

Social Monitoring (listening) – Lithium, Radian 6 etc

Social Engagement (conversation) – Sprinklr, Spredfast etc

Social media marketing (media management) – Buddymedia, Shoutlet etc

Social analytics (measuring) – Simply measured, Adobe/Omniture etc

Social Influencer (level of influence of participants) – Klout, Kred etc.

Here is a more detailed landscape of social media software which of course is evolving.

3.) Company culture that promotes better customer experience through continuous learning

Companies that tend to control communications need to realise that in social media it’s the customer who is controlling the conversation, so companies need to engage not manage, if handled badly it could go viral.

Solving issues require managerial support, corporate will to acknowledge that the elephant is in the room, and to find a solution together. Sharing both success and failures internally will promote an atmosphere of encouragement and collaboration to repeat successes and learn from failures.

The negatives and the positives from social media programs should be used to improve the performance and effectiveness of members within the company, not to use it to blame or show a department or team in poor light

4.) Governance to make it work

A critical step in enterprise wide corporate initiatives touching customer, influencer communities is to start with a clear communication on expectations, execution and measuring mechanisms. Best Buys, execution mechanism has a matrix model for Social CRM which is similar to the IT industry, where horizontal initiatives (such as various technologies, services) cut across verticals (industry functions).

In this model, Best Buy has formed a Centre of Excellence with members representing different departments or programs. The corporate guidelines are owned by the Community team, whereas each group manages its own initiative but works under a common strategy. Overtime this has improved internal knowledge sharing, networking and morale across the company.

5.)  Design KPI’s by looking into the holistic customer experience

The pace and transparency of social media networking will expose broken or inefficient processes due to KPI gaps between departments.

Imagine you are discussing about alternative cable tv providers with a friend on facebook, then you get a cable TV advert and using their site you locate a sales stall in a nearby mall. When you visit the stall, the sales person whose KPI is to secure signed service order forms talks to you and gets you to sign the form with some basic details. Because the sales person is typically measured based on number of signings and not on the installation customer experience, he is not incentivised to correctly record all relevant information from the customer that would help the technical team. Installation problems due to technical teams lack of customer information which was already discussed with the sales person leads to re-scheduling, delays and a bad customer experience.

KPI’s should be built based on the overall customer experience standpoint, the impact of each role on Customer experience and seamless handover across roles instead of a fragmented one.

Follow @Ramesh_Ramki on Twitter, on Linkedin or Google+, website www.futuristCMO.com

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About Ramesh Ramakrishnan

Ramesh Ramakrishnan, a marketing and organisation culture enthusiast, is the Founder of RR Marketing Advisory and author of www.futuristCMO.com. He has held various leadership positions across EMEA marketing, 3rd party advisory and analyst relations in the enterprise Information technology products and services sector. Follow @Ramesh_Ramki on Twitter

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Why 3D Printed Food Just Transformed Your Supply Chain

Hans Thalbauer

Numerous sectors are experimenting with 3D printing, which has the potential to disrupt many markets. One that’s already making progress is the food industry.

The U.S. Army hopes to use 3D printers to customize food for each soldier. NASA is exploring 3D printing of food in space. The technology could eventually even end hunger around the world.

What does that have to do with your supply chain? Quite a bit — because 3D printing does more than just revolutionize the production process. It also requires a complete realignment of the supply chain.

And the way 3D printing transforms the supply chain holds lessons for how organizations must reinvent themselves in the new era of the extended supply chain.

Supply chain spaghetti junction

The extended supply chain replaces the old linear chain with not just a network, but a network of networks. The need for this network of networks is being driven by four key factors: individualized products, the sharing economy, resource scarcity, and customer-centricity.

To understand these forces, imagine you operate a large restaurant chain, and you’re struggling to differentiate yourself against tough competition. You’ve decided you can stand out by delivering customized entrees. In fact, you’re going to leverage 3D printing to offer personalized pasta.

With 3D printing technology, you can make one-off pasta dishes on the fly. You can give customers a choice of ingredients (gluten-free!), flavors (salted caramel!), and shapes (Leaning Towers of Pisa!). You can offer the personalized pasta in your restaurants, in supermarkets, and on your ecommerce website.

You may think this initiative simply requires you to transform production. But that’s just the beginning. You also need to re-architect research and development, demand signals, asset management, logistics, partner management, and more.

First, you need to develop the matrix of ingredients, flavors, and shapes you’ll offer. As part of that effort, you’ll have to consider health and safety regulations.

Then, you need to shift some of your manufacturing directly into your kitchens. That will also affect packaging requirements. Logistics will change as well, because instead of full truckloads, you’ll be delivering more frequently, with more variety, and in smaller quantities.

Next, you need to perfect demand signals to anticipate which pasta variations in which quantities will come through which channels. You need to manage supply signals source more kinds of raw materials in closer to real time.

Last, the source of your signals will change. Some will continue to come from point of sale. But others, such as supplies replenishment and asset maintenance, can come direct from your 3D printers.

Four key ingredients of the extended supply chain

As with our pasta scenario, the drivers of the extended supply chain require transformation across business models and business processes. First, growing demand for individualized products calls for the same shifts in R&D, asset management, logistics, and more that 3D printed pasta requires.

Second, as with the personalized entrees, the sharing economy integrates a network of partners, from suppliers to equipment makers to outsourced manufacturing, all electronically and transparently interconnected, in real time and all the time.

Third, resource scarcity involves pressures not just on raw materials but also on full-time and contingent labor, with the necessary skills and flexibility to support new business models and processes.

And finally, for personalized pasta sellers and for your own business, it all comes down to customer-centricity. To compete in today’s business environment and to meet current and future customer expectations, all your operations must increasingly revolve around rapidly comprehending and responding to customer demand.

Want to learn more? Check out my recent video on digitalizing the extended supply chain.

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Hans Thalbauer

About Hans Thalbauer

Hans Thalbauer is the Senior Vice President, Extended Supply Chain, at SAP. He is responsible for the strategic direction and the Go-To-Market of solutions for Supply Chain, Logistics, Engineering/R&D, Manufacturing, Asset Management and Sustainability at SAP.

How to Design a Flexible, Connected Workspace 

John Hack, Sam Yen, and Elana Varon

SAP_Digital_Workplace_BRIEF_image2400x1600_2The process of designing a new product starts with a question: what problem is the product supposed to solve? To get the right answer, designers prototype more than one solution and refine their ideas based on feedback.

Similarly, the spaces where people work and the tools they use are shaped by the tasks they have to accomplish to execute the business strategy. But when the business strategy and employees’ jobs change, the traditional workspace, with fixed walls and furniture, isn’t so easy to adapt. Companies today, under pressure to innovate quickly and create digital business models, need to develop a more flexible work environment, one in which office employees have the ability to choose how they work.

SAP_Digital_Emotion_BRIEF_image175pxWithin an office building, flexibility may constitute a variety of public and private spaces, geared for collaboration or concentration, explains Amanda Schneider, a consultant and workplace trends blogger. Or, she adds, companies may opt for customizable spaces, with moveable furniture, walls, and lighting that can be adjusted to suit the person using an unassigned desk for the day.

Flexibility may also encompass the amount of physical space the company maintains. Business leaders want to be able to set up operations quickly in new markets or in places where they can attract top talent, without investing heavily in real estate, says Sande Golgart, senior vice president of corporate accounts with Regus.

Thinking about the workspace like a designer elevates decisions about the office environment to a strategic level, Golgart says. “Real estate is beginning to be an integral part of the strategy, whether that strategy is for collaborating and innovating, driving efficiencies, attracting talent, maintaining higher levels of productivity, or just giving people more amenities to create a better, cohesive workplace,” he says. “You will see companies start to distance themselves from their competition because they figured out the role that real estate needs to play within the business strategy.”

The SAP Center for Business Insight program supports the discovery and development of  new research-­based thinking to address the challenges of business and technology executives.

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Sam Yen

About Sam Yen

Sam Yen is the Chief Design Officer for SAP and the Managing Director of SAP Labs Silicon Valley. He is focused on driving a renewed commitment to design and user experience at SAP. Under his leadership, SAP further strengthens its mission of listening to customers´ needs leading to tangible results, including SAP Fiori, SAP Screen Personas and SAP´s UX design services.

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Amazing Digital Marketing Trends And Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015

Sunny Popali

Amazing Digital Marketing Trends & Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015The fast-paced world of digital marketing is changing too quickly for most companies to adapt. But staying up to date with the latest industry trends is imperative for anyone involved with expanding a business.

Here are five trends that have shaped the industry this year and that will become more important as we move forward:

  1. Email marketing will need to become smarter

Whether you like it or not, email is the most ubiquitous tool online. Everyone has it, and utilizing it properly can push your marketing ahead of your rivals. Because business use of email is still very widespread, you need to get smarter about email marketing in order to fully realize your business’s marketing strategy. Luckily, there are a number of tools that can help you market more effectively, such as Mailchimp.

  1. Content marketing will become integrated and more valuable

Content is king, and it seems to be getting more important every day. Google and other search engines are focusing more on the content you create as the potential of the online world as marketing tool becomes apparent. Now there seems to be a push for current, relevant content that you can use for your services and promote your business.

Staying fresh with the content you provide is almost as important as ensuring high-quality content. Customers will pay more attention if your content is relevant and timely.

  1. Mobile assets and paid social media are more important than ever

It’s no secret that mobile is key to your marketing efforts. More mobile devices are sold and more people are reading content on mobile screens than ever before, so it is crucial to your overall strategy to have mobile marketing expertise on your team. London-based Abacus Marketing agrees that mobile marketing could overtake desktop website marketing in just a few years.

  1. Big Data for personalization plays a key role

Marketers are increasingly using Big Data to get their brand message out to the public in a more personalized format. One obvious example is Google Trend analysis, a highly useful tool that marketing experts use to obtain the latest on what is trending around the world. You can — and should — use it in your business marketing efforts. Big Data will also let you offer specific content to buyers who are more likely to look for certain items, for example, and offer personalized deals to specific groups of within your customer base. Other tools, which until recently were the stuff of science fiction, are also available that let you do things like use predictive analysis to score leads.

  1. Visual media matters

A picture really is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, and nobody can deny the effectiveness of a well-designed infographic. In fact, some studies suggest that Millennials are particularly attracted to content with great visuals. Animated gifs and colorful bar graphs have even found their way into heavy-duty financial reports, so why not give them a try in your business marketing efforts?

A few more tips:

  • Always keep your content relevant and current to attract the attention of your target audience.
  • Always keep all your social media and public accounts fresh. Don’t use old content or outdated pictures in any public forum.
  • Your reviews are a proxy for your online reputation, so pay careful attention to them.
  • Much online content is being consumed on mobile now, so focus specifically on the design and usability of your mobile apps.
  • Online marketing is essentially geared towards getting more traffic onto your site. The more people visit, the better your chances of increasing sales.

Want more insight on how digital marketing is evolving? See Shutterstock Report: The Face Of Marketing Is Changing — And It Doesn’t Include Vince Vaughn.

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About Sunny Popali

Sunny Popali is SEO Director at www.tempocreative.com. Tempo Creative is a Phoenix inbound marketing company that has served over 700 clients since 2001. Tempos team specializes in digital and internet marketing services including web design, SEO, social media and strategy.

Social Media Matters: 6 Content And Social Media Trend Predictions For 2016 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Julie Ellis

As 2015 winds down, it’s time to look forward to 2016 and explore the social media and content marketing trends that will impact marketing strategies over the next 15 months or so.

Some of the upcoming trends simply indicate an intensification of current trends, however others indicate that there are new things that will have a big impact in 2016.

Take a look at a few trends that should definitely factor in your planning for 2016.

1. SEO will focus more on social media platforms and less on search engines

Clearly Google is going nowhere. In fact, in 2016 Google’s word will still essentially be law when it comes to search engine optimization.

However, in 2016 there will be some changes in SEO. Many of these changes will be due to the fact that users are increasingly searching for products and services directly from websites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

There are two reasons for this shift in customer habits:

  • Customers are relying more and more on customer comments, feedback, and reviews before making purchasing decisions. This means that they are most likely to search directly on platforms where they can find that information.
  • Customers who are seeking information about products and services feel that video- and image-based content is more trustworthy.

2. The need to optimize for mobile and touchscreens will intensify

Consumers are using their mobile devices and tablets for the following tasks at a sharply increasing rate:

  • Sending and receiving emails and messages
  • Making purchases
  • Researching products and services
  • Watching videos
  • Reading or writing reviews and comments
  • Obtaining driving directions and using navigation apps
  • Visiting news and entertainment websites
  • Using social media

Most marketers would be hard-pressed to look at this list and see any case for continuing to avoid mobile and touchscreen optimization. Yet, for some reason many companies still see mobile optimization as something that is nice to do, but not urgent.

This lack of a sense of urgency seemingly ignores the fact that more than 80% of the highest growing group of consumers indicate that it is highly important that retailers provide mobile apps that work well. According to the same study, nearly 90% of Millennials believe that there are a large number of websites that have not done a very good job of optimizing for mobile.

3. Content marketing will move to edgier social media platforms

Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat weren’t considered to be valid targets for mainstream content marketing efforts until now.

This is because they were considered to be too unproven and too “on the fringe” to warrant the time and marketing budget investments, when platforms such as Facebook and YouTube were so popular and had proven track records when it came to content marketing opportunity and success.

However, now that Instagram is enjoying such tremendous growth, and is opening up advertising opportunities to businesses beyond its brand partners, it (along with other platforms) will be seen as more and more viable in 2016.

4. Facebook will remain a strong player, but the demographic of the average user will age

In 2016, Facebook will likely remain the flagship social media website when it comes to sharing and promoting content, engaging with customers, and increasing Internet recognition.

However, it will become less and less possible to ignore the fact that younger consumers are moving away from the platform as their primary source of online social interaction and content consumption. Some companies may be able to maintain status quo for 2016 without feeling any negative impacts.

However, others may need to rethink their content marketing strategies for 2016 to take these shifts into account. Depending on their branding and the products or services that they offer, some companies may be able to profit from these changes by customizing the content that they promote on Facebook for an older demographic.

5. Content production must reflect quality and variety

  • Both B2B and B2C buyers value video based content over text based content.
  • While some curated content is a good thing, consumers believe that custom content is an indication that a company wishes to create a relationship with them.
  • The great majority of these same consumers report that customized content is useful for them.
  • B2B customers prefer learning about products and services through content as opposed to paid advertising.
  • Consumers believe that videos are more trustworthy forms of content than text.

Here is a great infographic depicting the importance of video in content marketing efforts:
Small Business Video infographic

A final, very important thing to note when considering content trends for 2016 is the decreasing value of the keyword as a way of optimizing content. In fact, in an effort to crack down on keyword stuffing, Google’s optimization rules have been updated to to kick offending sites out of prime SERP positions.

6. Oculus Rift will create significant changes in customer engagement

Oculus Rift is not likely to offer much to marketers in 2016. After all, it isn’t expected to ship to consumers until the first quarter. However, what Oculus Rift will do is influence the decisions that marketers make when it comes to creating customer interaction.

For example, companies that have not yet embraced storytelling may want to make 2016 the year that they do just that, because later in 2016 Oculus Rift may be the platform that their competitors will be using to tell stories while giving consumers a 360-degree vantage point.

For a deeper dive on engaging with customers through storytelling, see Brand Storytelling: Where Humanity Takes Center Stage.

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About Julie Ellis

Julie Ellis – marketer and professional blogger, writes about social media, education, self-improvement, marketing and psychology. To contact Julie follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.