Thursday, September 10, 2009

Renewal Marketing and Social CRM

Much of our discussion to date on this blog has focused around the new purchase scenario. However, in today’s world, the focus on existing business is often equally or more important. I’m not even referring specifically to the economic climate, although that enhances the focus. I’m referring to the general shift towards both a market-controlled reputation through social media, and a shift towards recurring revenue models in many industries.

As social media gives everyone in the market a voice, brand reputation becomes more and more in the control of the market. This reputation guides future purchase decisions of your prospective buyers, as it is usually both more prevalent and more trusted than the messages that your own marketing department can communicate.

As I’ve worked with clients in many industries, there is an increasing emphasis placed on marketing communications that target existing customers. The motivators vary from industry to industry, but regardless of whether it is an information subscription in the publishing industry, or a software purchase from a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendor, the general reasons are as follows:

- Initial Engagement: Get the customer initially engaged in the product, and up the deployment/first use curve as quickly as possible in order to maintain the momentum of their initial purchase and ensure that successful usage of the service takes place.

- Success/Depth: Engage the customer in progressively deeper and more advanced capabilities or usage patterns in order to ensure they are receiving (and recognizing) maximum value from the service.

- Stickiness: Drive adoption patterns within an organization, or integration points within a set of corporate systems that both add value and increase “stickiness” on renewal by making the solution a more integral part of the business.

- Community: Introduce the customer to other customers in the community to share experiences, ideas, and best practices, both with each other, and also back to the vendor in order to enhance understanding of where the solution needs to evolve towards.

The marketing communications to drive customers through these phases of success are one element, but likewise, so is the Social CRM platforms that allow the customer community to interact with each other, and with you.

Next week (Tuesday, September 15th, 1 EST), I’m honored to be on a panel to discuss the evolution of Social CRM with none other than Geoffrey Moore from the Chasm Group. In a panel put together by Helpstream, I’ll discuss the evolution of Social CRM, and whether it has crossed the chasm to the mainstream with Treb Ryan, CEO of OpSource, and Brent Potts, Vice President of Hewlett-Packard:

I hope you can join me as it should prove to be a very interesting discussion.
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
Come talk with me or one of my colleagues at a live event, or join in on a webinar