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Moving On from the 1.0 version of Web 2.0

Advisor

I just flew back from a quick trip to NYC after presenting at the Web 2.0 conference.  It seemed to be  a great show with a lot of discussion about practical business implications of the social media phenomenon.  My presentation was entitled, “Innovative Analytics: Quantifying the Business Value of Analytics”.  

 

At first, I thought I would just be doing my best Dr. Michael Wu (Lithium’s principal scientist) impression – and, then I thought better of it, recognizing that I didn’t have anywhere near the analytical chops and lexicon to not make an ass of myself.  So, instead, I told stories about our customers while describing Michael and team’s work analyzing Social CRM and customer communities.

 

Our Customers Rock

The audience was great – in particular, it was great to see Lithium customers like Pitney Bowes and HP in the audience.  Even better was that I had already placed their stories in my presentation.  I had no idea they would be there – so that was cool (if I did know, that would have just been pandering…not that I’m above that). 

 

I remember going to a show earlier this year and listening to audience members as questions about ROI and how to measure…and then hearing crickets.  I was standing in the back like that kid from Mr. Kotter’s class thinking “oohh, oohh, call on me” because I knew Lithium customers were driving tremendous results (now that TV reference is really dating me…if you recognize the reference, please leave a comment so that I know that I’m not the only one that old).  It was amazing to be able to tell the audience about real-world, hard-dollar, bottom-line results being achieved by customers like HP, Barnes & Noble, FICO, Pitney Bowes, Future Shop, iRobot, Sage, Intel, AT&T, and Linksys. Based on feedback afterwards, people at Web 2.0 not only loved the stories, but they were amazed at what these companies had done.  Our customers truly rock.

 

ROI Matters

Just the fact that a presentation about quantifying the business value and ROI of social media and Social CRM was on the agenda signaled a maturing of the marketplace.  Companies appeared to recognize in a much more practical way how important ROI was to being successful with their social efforts. 


At that same show earlier this year, when asked about the ROI of his social efforts, a very smart marketing executive from a Fortune 1000 company answered, “Well, what’s the ROI of putting your pants on in the morning?  I don’t know exactly the value of it, but I know that it will make a difference to your day if you don’t put them on.”  It got a laugh – but, an uncomfortable one – because, you got the distinct feeling that everyone in the audience thought to themselves, “if I tried to give my boss that answer, I’d be out the door.”  That’s why it was so great to be able to talk at this show about the 120,000 calls deflected every month at Linksys, and the 66% increase in sales at FICO and the 20 point increase in NPS score at Sage. 


At this conference, people were asking questions like, “I see the ROI.  Now, how do I get the rest of the organization on board?”  And, practical questions like, “We see the ROI – we’ve already implemented customer community.  But, how do we handle the 1 or 2 vocal, negative people in our community?”  All signals that social media and Social CRM is growing up.

 

Reputation and Advocates Matter

I remember when I first joined Lithium, we talked a lot the importance of “superusers” in customer communities.  We knew that these rare breeds were critical to helping communities thrive – and we knew that reputation management was critical to identifying them and helping them thrive.  And, though we had seen it in practice for years, we seemed to be the only ones talking about these advocates and what they could do for a business in terms of marketing and customer service.  That’s why I was THRILLED to see the presentation that followed mine, entitled: “Marketing via Fan Boys/Fan Girls: Your Customers As Your Brad Evangelists.” 

 

The presentation was co-delivered by Avner Ronen from Boxee (a TV-to-computer service) and Lisa Conquergood of Picnik (an online photo-editing service).  Avner told a story of how they literally sourced fans to staff their physical booth at a trade-show – and Lisa told a story about one fan who was so influential that they actually hired the person.  While they stopped short of quantifying the dollar-value to their businesses, the gestalt was clear – it means real money to a business if you are able to identify and cultivate fans who will espouse, support, and improve your brand and your products.  Great to hear others talk about this very important tenet of Social CRM and social media.

 

Despite the wear and tear of a cross-country trip for a day and half, I came back really energized thinking that the market is maturing slightly and businesses are waking up to not only to the imperative of social media – but, the gigantic ROI opportunity.  It felt like people – or at least some – had moved on from what I called the “1.0 version of 2.0” which is “how do I get involved in the conversation?” to “how do I drive and measure ROI of my social media efforts?”  That’s good news for everyone.

 

As a PS to the trip, I was able to see Kevin Ryan, VP of Social Media at Barnes & Noble.  Always illuminating to hear about the progressive things they are doing.  Check out their big news about Nook!

 

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Welcome Back Kotter image source (wikipedia): Copyright Warner Bros

 

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About the Author
As Chief Marketing Officer, Sanjay is responsible for driving Lithium's vision, go-to-market strategy, and customer acquisition programs.