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Simon Beardow - Deputy Director, British Council, Vietnam

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Spinning, Spinning, Spinning - The Social Evolution of Customer Relationship Management

The world is spinning, or should that be the world is full of spin?

Traditional CRM has morphed into a far more interesting, and in many ways challenging, activity.

From a PR perspective, the brave new world of CRM looks like this:

This means that 77% of customers search on social media sites for coupons and incentives and 60% of users have regular interaction with companies through social media.

There is however one basic flaw in the above; it is the customer who initiates the conversation not the PR company. The above infographic is a very PR-centric perspective of the world -  a world that has rapidly moved on.

And as Mike Boysen explains:

"This is what PR people don’t seem to understand. Our CRM customers still have to do their jobs. CRM is not about PR – it will never be about PR. But, they do need to understand why customers may be making new demands of them. This social customer infographic clearly explains it. It needs no further explanation as far as I’m concerned. It’s simply time to move on. Some will be consulting, others will be flipping burgers."

Source: Mark Tamis

It is the collaborative action of customers that is the most important dynamic.  Company buzz is built by customers and PR attempts to influence this conversation can only go so far.

Often the best ideas for innovation come for the customer and not from within an enterprise. Similarly customers needs and support can be gauged by what is shared in social media conversations.

To put it bluntly, a company that does not engage through social media, is not nimble enough to quickly innovate and respond to the needs of the customer, or fails to monitor the Buzz,  is dead in the water.


11 Search Trends for 2011
Social Media Marketing Trends for 2011 – Part 1   Part 2
Bing Social
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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

We Consume, We Collaborate

The Harvard Business School describes the Collaborative Consumption movement as:

“A socioeconomic groundswell that will transform the way companies think about their value propositions.”

Ted describes the presenter, Rachel Botsman,  as:

"... a social innovator who writes, consults, and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing through network technologies, and on how it will transform business, consumerism and the way we live."

P2P file sharing and online technologies are transforming the way we share and trade, and on a scale that was never before dreamed of.

from rachel botsman on Vimeo

When all is said and done, the Collaborative Consumption model is a logical extension of the social media revolution.

This infographic shows the rise of collaborative consumption, including figures from LendingClub, a US p2p lender.

There are four fundamental forces that are reshaping global consumption behavior: the global recession, the re-emphasis on community, broader environmental awareness, and online networking technologies.

Online sharing can contribute to profit making.  Businesses such as EBay and new Zealand's premier site, TradeMe, have already harnessed the power of collaborative consumption or to put it in simple terms "sharing".
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Sunday, 19 December 2010

Find The Turkey - Search Developments For The Festive Season

There is a raft of new search options that have just been released.  Finding that Xmas Turkey and sharing the best place to go for a festive dinner just go a whole lot easier.

The first announcement involves some tweaks to Google's realtime search.  The trend graph and date options have been relocated and a new feature, Top updates, has been added.

Matt McGee of Search Engine Land is of the opinion that these are the URLs and tweets that are most popular among Twitter users (which appears to be the only source populating Google Realtime).

Meanwhile over the Bing stable the developers have also been busy.  The most interesting feature tweak just announced are results that will show which of your Facebook friends have liked search results as they appear in your searches.  

As the Bing development team have put it:

"Over the last several weeks, we introduced the new “Liked” results feature that uses the basis of your query to surmise your intent and surface relevant stories or websites  that your friends on Facebook have liked with a nice answer, called out somewhere on the page".

" Starting today, if your search results include a specific link that has also been “liked” by someone in your Facebook network the link will be highlighted as “Liked” within Bing.  This gets especially interesting for a query like "Xbox" where my friend “Liked” the "Kinect" site and while our algorithms didn't feel it was relevant enough to make it the 'answer' we reference above, we are still able to indicate that my friend liked that link that happened to show up within the results"

With this development Bing has got the jump on Google for regular web search. After all in today's social media it is Facebook data that matters most.

Chris Crum of WebProNews says:

"With people constantly "liking" content all over the web, this can be a great indicator of relevance on a personalized level. It's going to catch your attention when you notice your friend appear in the search results."

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Other new Bing features include a partnership with Fansnap so If you’re searching for sports tickets, soon you will be able to compare tickets from over fifty  tickets sites.

Image search is made easier with a feature called Instant Search that delivers a montage of images on main results page. Bing has also populated the tabs with the most common search queries associated with a given image.

Bing's maps have also been given a makeover.  There is a new style which shows:
  • Increased city density while preserving a clean, visually appealing map
  • Clearer differentiation between major and minor city streets
  • Greater color contrast at the city-level so streets “pop” out more
  • Altered font sizes and contrast for crisper, less cluttered map labels
  • Improved highway shields for US and added new shields for 7 countries
Add to these the following:
  • Interior Views: Providing users with immersive 360-degree panoramas of local businesses
  • OpenTable Integration: Users can interact with OpenTable and GrubHub directly from restaurant pages
  • Real Time Transit on Mobile: Gives users real time info if a bus is on-time or delayed
  • Streetside for Mobile: Brings users street-level imagery + some mobile-exclusive enhancements
Search development has always had a tight focus on the User Experience and this is evident in what both Google and Bing have announced this Dececember.

Impressive as these developments are, Bing's challenge remains;  Can they grab market share from the consumers current engine of choice - Google?
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