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Markets Struggle to Marry Social Media and CRM

Every marketer loves the idea of using social networking sites such as Facebook as one giant database of consumer information but they still haven’t figured out how to use it effectively.

The major issue is privacy; a lot of consumers don’t want their private information released on social networking sites. About 50-70% of Facebook users agree to sharing their information when clicking a “Connect with Facebook” button. The other major issue is that within a lot of companies the CRM, social network, and marketing teams are separate departments–how can that even begin to work?

The good news is that the technology exists. For example, Google Connect, which allows companies to ask consumers for their information. Levi’s asks customers to connect through their website to Facebook, this allows the company to know more about their customers interests and target clothing items to them.

Twitter is a challenging situation because usually users don’t even use their real names. It is a good way to monitor conversations about a brand but hard to know exactly who is saying it.

Two questions to ask marketers: If there is a database with all the right consumer information, how do you use it? And how do you break through the separation between CRM, social network, and marketing departments? And if you get the information, how do you utilize it to build a better marketing program?

The answer? “CRM platforms and processes are going to have to be able to support interactions across interactive channels” to further enhance CRM, said Scott Olrich, CMO at Responsys, a digital direct-marketing agency.

Girl Scouts has set a good example of how to effectively combine social media marketing and CRM. The biggest challenge for their cookie sales is not finding customers; it’s having the customers find them. The Girl Scout Cookie Locator app tracks their location and shows the nearest cookies.

This app is a part of a new initiative to emphasize data collection and use it effectively in each program. Online selling, mobile paying options, customer appreciation programs, and retaining customers year after year are some methods in the works. A social media tool called The Cookie Club connects girls with existing and potential buyers. It can also send mass emails to the client list and stores buying habits.