More On Where “Social” Fits Between Customer and Vendor

Interesting take on how social media have affected the early stages of a
relationship with a customer.  Slides 8 and 13, in particular, show an
interesting contrast between the "old" way of cramming things down a customer's
throat, vs. at least one view of how that interaction has changed as a result of the fact that we are all significantly better informed as customers before we ever even pick up the phone the first time.

(via Axel Schultze)

Link to presentation

Selling Out

Two things to read on the "how social media intersects with sales" front today.  

1)  "How Social Media Are Ruining Your Lead Qualification Strategy." Here's the salient bit, from Charles Green.

"CRM systems used to capture all the dialogue—between seller and customer.  Only now, they’ve realized that was only 5% of the real dialogue.  The other 95% of the real dialogue happens between customers."

 2)  From Transactions to Community, which looks at the phenomenon from a slightly different perspective, and arrives at a similar place.

#crm #vrm

An Awesome Way To Get People To Share Your Story

Sunset-chuck-revellEmotional, awe-inspiring stories are more likely to be shared online, says John
Tierney of the New York Times.  In his column Will You Be
E-mailing This Column? It's Awesome
, Tierney cites a study done at the
University of Pennsylvania that finds the following:

"More emotional stories were more likely to be e-mailed, the researchers
found, and positive articles were shared more than negative ones. Longer
articles generally did better than shorter articles, although Dr. Berger said
that might just be because the longer articles were about more engaging topics.
(The best way to test that, he said, would be for The Times to run shorter and
longer versions of the same article that would be seen by different

Surprising articles, like one about free-range chickens on the streets of
New York, were also more likely to be e-mailed — which was a hardly a surprising
discovery, of course. But the researchers also kept finding popular articles
with a quality that went beyond surprise.

“If I went into my classroom dressed up like a pirate, that would be
surprising, but it wouldn’t be awe-inspiring,” Dr. Berger said. “An article
about square watermelons is surprising, but it doesn’t inspire that awed feeling
that the world is a broad place and I’m so small.”

Building on prior research, the Penn researchers defined the quality as
an “emotion of self-transcendence, a feeling of admiration and elevation in the
face of something greater than the self.”

They used two criteria for an awe-inspiring story: Its scale is large,
and it requires “mental accommodation” by forcing the reader to view the
world in a different way.
" (emphasis added)

That last line was the one that really hooked me.  At an intuitive level, I
think we all get this, yet it's not immediately apparent why.

Doc Searls has written quite a bit over the years on the concept of
"authority," linking the meaning of the word to its root, author.  In
2007, he wrote:

"What we call
'authority' is the right we give others to author us, to enlarge us."

I think that's the link.  If we've read (or seen, or heard, or experienced)
something that has changed us, perhaps we feel a need to share that change with
others.  Furthermore, if we have allowed ourselves to be authored…again,
literally, we've allowed ourselves to be written to…that means we have
interacted with something that is, at some level, larger and
more powerful than ourselves.

And that's awesome.

photo: chuck

The Big List of Social Business Presentations from the Social Media Executive Summit

Last week, I participated in the outstanding Social Business Executive Summit.  In case you weren't able to attend in real-time, here are links to every slide and presentation from the three-day event.  Social media FTW!

Session 1: May 25, 8-9 a.m. PDT [slides]

The CEO's Challenge: Creating and Leading a Profitable
Social Business Strategy

The world has changed. Are you ready to deal with the Social Customer?
Our opening speakers will share insights and real-world examples to
inspire you to lead you organization to success!

John Todor, The Whetstone Edge

Social Strategies for Adapting to the New Normal

, Social Media Academy

Executing a Social Business Strategy

Christopher Carfi, Cerado

Trends to Watch in Mobile and Social Business

Session 2: May 25, 10-11 a.m. PDT
— Sponsored by Marketo

Transforming Marketing to Listen, Influence and Drive
Sales-Ready Leads

In case you were wondering, the days of 'spray and pray' marketing are
over. Learn how social marketing can help you engage, build your brand
and yes, still generate valuable leads for the sales force.


Understanding Stakeholder Brand Perceptions

, Marketo

Marketing Optimizations to Create More Sales-Ready Leads and Drive

Mitch Lieberman, Comity Technology Advisors

Building Trust to Engage B2B Prospects Online

Session 3: May 26, 8-9 a.m. PDT
— Sponsored by RightNow


Best Practices to Create Online Communities to Engage
Customers and Increase Loyalty

Creating successful online communities requires a whole lot more than
just a web site. Learn the different options and how to bring your
community come to life to create business value.

, Leader Networks

A Strategic Framework for Success

Tatyana Kanzaveli, Social CRM World

Types of Communities in the Digital Ecosystem

Jason Mittelstaedt, RightNow Technologies

RightNow and the Social Customer Experience

Session 4: May 26, 10-11 a.m. PDT
— Sponsored by InsideView

Transforming Sales to Align with Social Buyers and Close
More Deals

Can sales be social? Sure, but not just by using social media with
yesterday's sales tactics. Learn new social sales models to increase
sales performance with social buyers.

, Smart Selling

Creating a New Social Sales Model

Umberto Milletti, InsideView

Customer 2.0: Finding New Buyers in the Era of Social Media

, Social Media Academy

Pioneers Using Social Selling Techniques

Session 5: May 27, 8-9 a.m. PDT
— Sponsored by Jive

Best Practices to Create a High-Performance Organization
with Employee Collaboration

Join this session to explore new tools and strategies for using social
media with your employees. Learn how internal collaboration can
dramatically improves overall business performance.

, Chess Media Group

Integrated Approach to Tools, Culture and Adoption

Nathan Rawlins, Jive

How Employee Communities Increase Collaboration And Productivity

Adrienne Corn, VENTUS

Maximizing Social Media Use in Human Resources

Session 6: May 27, 10-11 a.m. PDT
— Sponsored by Genesys

Transforming Customer Service/Support to Profit from the
Wisdom of Crowds

Social support communities can help you engage with customers to solve
problems and co-create solutions. Put your customers to work to help
each other, while improving your bottom line.

John Moore, Swimfish

Engaging Customers with Support Communities

Eric Tamblyn, Genesys

Transforming Tribal Communities and Knowledge into Customer

Bob Thompson, CustomerThink

Getting the ROI from "CrowdService"

If You Continue To Send Emails To The CEO, A Cease And Desist Letter May Be Sent To You

Wow.  AT&T customer Giorgio G. sent two inquiries to AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson, and received a threat of a Cease and Desist letter for his effort.  The back story:

Giorgio writes:

"Today I decided to voice my displeasure with the AT&T Wireless
new and “improved” data plans directly to the CEO.  This was the 2nd
email in as many weeks (I wanted to see if they’d bump up my phone
upgrade eligibility date given that I spend $110/month with them and
their normal customer service reps are powerless in this regard.)  

To my surprise, I received this voicemail (click on the “click to
play” link above to hear it) from AT&T’s executive response staff.
 The gist is:

Thanks for the feedback, and if you bother our CEO again, we’re
going to send you a cease and desist letter. 

Wow.  I was expecting a “hey thanks and so long” at best.  So what
did I send that was so offensive?  Here it is:

Thanks for making the switch to a Sprint HTC
Evo an even easier decision.  I don’t think even Steve Jobs can spin 2GB
for $25/month as a good thing for the consumer.  I may not use 
2GB/month today, but the point of these devices (iPad 3g, iPhone 4G,
etc.) is that we’ll be able to do more and your network either can’t
handle it, or you’re just trying to squeeze more money out of your
customers.  The $15/month 200MB plan is just a crappy anchor price that
makes the $25 plan look like a better deal than it really is, given that
the $30/”unlimited” plan goes away.

 Please don’t have one of your
$12/hour “Executive Relations” college students call me – I’ve found
them to be generally poorly informed ( readers know more
than they do about AT&T) and they have little  authority to do
anything sensible. 

This is simply a soon-to-be former customer


Giorgio G.

So in the end, I’m definitely switching to the HTC Evo, and
cancelling my iPhone & iPad 3G AT&T services – I don’t want to
give my money to a company that is bothered by its customers, and
threatens them legally to prove it."

Listen to the voicemail that Giorgio received here.

AT&T has since apologized, but holy cow, guys.  C'mon.

hat tip:  susan steade at GMSV

I’m Joining the Edelman Digital Team

Picture 1I'm joining the Edelman Digital team.

Yes, really.

All stories have multiple acts.  My first act was in the land of large firms, and I spent nearly a decade at Andersen Consulting back in the late 1980s and 1990s, working on everything from artificial intelligence to Indy cars.  After catching the startup bug in 1999, I spent a few years at startup called Extricity that grew to be acquired in the early 2000s.  And most of you know the work that has been done under the Cerado banner over the past eight-plus years.

So, it's now time for the next act.  I was offered a stellar opportunity to join folks like Scott Wilder, David Armano, Michael Brito, Steve Rubel and the rest of the industry-leading Edelman Digital team, working directly with clients to help them not only figure out their social and mobile strategies, but to also help them execute those strategies to connect with and build better relationships with their customers.  I accepted.

In some ways, it's going to be a bit of a change.  I've spent the last eight years as a pure, one-hundred-percent entrepreneur, and now I'm joining an organization that has thousands of other professionals.  On the other hand, with the conversations I've had with Scott and David and Michael and others, I truly get the feeling that the entrepreneurial spirit is a core part of the Edelman DNA.  The digital team, in particular, is growing rapidly, and a lot of the things I've learned over the last eight years in growing Cerado are going to be directly applicable in helping Edelman Digital to continue to grow and evolve.

I can't think of a better time to be joining Edelman.  A lot of the ideas that grew out of conversations here on the Social Customer blog that started back in 2004 (especially in the area of what's now being called "Social CRM") are reaching a mass audience.  Edelman is helping its clients understand these concepts and, more importantly, put them into practice.  I'm looking forward to digging in and helping them do so.

The Social Customer will continue, as well as my Twitter stream.

Seeya out there…

Heading out to the USS Abraham Lincoln

“This e-mail/letter confirms your participation for the Distinguished
Visitor embark aboard USS Lincoln, from Sunday, April 25 to Monday, April


Whoa.  It’s happening.

Back in January, I was invited to to go on an embark aboard the USS
, on a trip similar
to this one taken by Guy Kawasaki and others
.  (Thank you, again, USNavy for the invitation,
and Andy Sernovitz for
facilitating.)  However, the storms hammering the West Coast changed the
plans, and that embark was canceled.

The trip is now back on, and a number of bloggers and other social media/community types are gearing up.  Our class consists of:

 Kevin Thornton (Walmart)

 Mark Yolton (SAP)

Screen shot 2010-04-23 at 4.45.59 PM Rob DeRobertis (Analog)

 Phil Nieman (Gaspedal)

  Scott Gulbransen (Intuit)

 Jake McKee (Ant’s Eye View)

  Len Devanna (EMC)

 Amanda Congdon (Sometimes Daily)

 Robert Coombs (CALCASA)

 Will Mayall (AllTop)

  Christopher Carfi (Cerado)

Am I stoked?  Yes.

A little intimidated?  Definitely.  (The thought of going 0-120mph in two seconds on the catapult launch on the deck on Monday has me both thrilled and adrenaline-addled at the same time.)

More soon.  Packing and rest tonight.  Tomorrow afternoon to San Diego.  Then out to the ship on Sunday and back on Monday.

Thanks again to Andy Sernovitz, Guy Kawasaki, and Dennis Hall for paving the way on this embark, and most significantly thanks to the US Navy for making it possible.

Here we go…

The Connection Between Social CRM (SCRM) and Vendor Relationship Management (VRM)

Some great thinking by Paul Greenberg.  The lede:

Ownership: Relationship? Conversation?
Simply Put. SCRM is not VRM. Simple Being the Operative Principle

is meant to be a simple post.  Flat out, I want to say that
there is a difference between “ the customer’s control of the
conversation” and “customer’s owning the relationship.”  Because there
is a discussion that I see looming on the “ownership of the
relationship” I’d like to clarify my thinking at the get go, if you’ll
be willing to listen.  Before I do that, so that there is no
misunderstanding on where I stand –

customer is
in control of the conversation. SCRM is the company’s response to the
customer’s control of the conversation. There is no joint ownership of
the conversation. But there is no control by one or the other of the
relationship between them. Though the “power balance” can lean toward
one or the other. Right now it leans to the customer.

He goes on to say…

why there is a difference between SCRM and VRM.  Vendor
Relationship Management is what the customer does to command their side
of the relationship.  SCRM is what the company does in response to the
customer’s control of the conversation – and all the other things
associated with that.  But the company still owns itself – meaning its
operational practices and its objectives and its records and its legal
status as a company. Speaking for myself, and maybe someone else
or some others, I’ve never said the customer owns the relationship. I
think that the customer is at the hub of business ecosystem – to the
point that you can call it a customer ecosystem. Meaning the customer
drives demand and the company is now forced to respond to that.

Rest of Paul's post is here: