Word of mouth advertising has always been important to business but today, a small group of people who others trust could be responsible for making or breaking a product or company. This concept is not new as in the past; a small group of journalists could also be responsible for assigning tremendous credibility to a company or product. And in response, companies often treated the media like a sort of royalty – doing their best to influence the influencers.
But today, anyone can be an influencer – from so-called “mommy-bloggers” to people who have a wide Twitter or Facebook following. YouTube too can also be an avenue to tremendous influence and as an example of just how import the video site has become, the recent Songify This video about Charlie Sheen has now had over 17M viewers in a few months.
And yet so many companies either ignore the legions of people who help their potential customers form opinions or they haven't a clue as to how to get involved to achieve the best online reputation possible.
And so social CRM is the simple answer to the question about why Salesforce.com purchased Radian6 as the company is a leader in online listening, sentiment and influence analysis. Chris DiMarco broke the news of the acquisition on TMCnet earlier today and in his article mentioned that Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff believes this acquisition will make his company a leader in social media monitoring.
Recently at the Cloudforce 2011 event in New York, Benioff couldn’t stop gushing about social media and tablets. He even took the time to thank people tweeting the event in real-time at the conference. He further went on to show how his company’s product Chatter allowed him to monitor tweets on a configurable dashboard which he showed the audience live – from his iPad.
I have been a huge proponent of the social CRM space because I see it as a natural evolution of customer relationships. A phrase often used in the contact center space is if you can’t measure it you can’t monitor it, and it becomes obvious that in order to see how brands are doing in the socialsphere you need to be able to measure them, take action and measure again to see if you can improve your results.
So as long as social networking continues to be an important market – and analysts think it will be for many years to come, Salesforce.com has done a brilliant job of positioning itself as the go to provider of social tools for businesses – from social networking within companies to effectively engaging customers and influencers through social listening.
Cisco’s Quad was supposed to be a Chatter-killer and this chess move gives Salesforce.com a large advantage as they now own world-class listening tools. Networked Insights competes somewhat with Radian6 and Paul Dunay, who has been mentioned often in this space has become its newest CMO. Expect my recent interview with Paul to appear in a future issue of Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine and no doubt his new company will be in the crosshairs of Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, Google and Facebook now.