A bunch of startups are working to gamify business applications-not only to increase usage but to achieve business goals such as deeper customer engagement, faster problem solving, better collaboration and healthy competition. It's early days for these technologies, but watch out for what it can mean for the effectiveness of marketing and sales.
3. Reputation is Everything
Since repeat business makes for a shorter sales cycle than new customer acquisition, and since sales and marketing is the single biggest discretionary cost in many companies, the most profitable sales are destined to come from the most loyal customers. That alone is a reason to measure and optimize your reputation with customers.
However, social media metrics let you go further, helping you understand the buzz about your company among non-customers. The most powerful use cases involve integrating the external measurement system with your website, survey engine, marketing automation and CRM system, to provide you new understandings of the customer's decision and purchase processes.
Case Study: Integrating Social Media Is Hard to Do
This stuff is hard, requiring some serious analytics and taking time to develop and tune your model of customer behavior, but the impact on profitability and customer retention makes for serious ROI.
4. I Can See Clearly Now.
Simplistic CRM allows a business to correlate information that employees typed into UI pages, letting sales activity become more coordinated and measurable. That's fine, as far as it goes, but we're breathing our own fumes. Since customer typically put no information into first-generation CRM systems, we can't really know much about them or what they are thinking.
Social media give us a whole new range of information-for profiling and for novel behavioral indicators-that comes "free" because we're not asking prospects or customers to do anything new. (Of course, "free" in actuality is anything but free, since actionable data requires a significant investment in integration and data analytics.)
How-to: Social CRM for the Enterprise: How Analytics Can Move You to Greater Success
Social networks can also provide us with information about who influences whom, allowing much more efficient targeting of marketing and communications efforts.
5. Scoring and Automation.