Tweet Emotion

"I’m now connecting with people I haven’t talked to in 20 years. Well, I’m still not talking to them, but at least now I know what they had for breakfast." – Overheard, regarding Twitter

(N.B. I saw this flash by on one of the screens at OpenWorld, but unfortunately didn’t catch the name of who said it.  If it was you or someone you know, please drop me a note so I can cite it appropriately.  Thanks!)

1000 Miles To Go For The Enterprise And True Customer Relationships

As noted in my earlier post, spent the last two days up at Oracle OpenWorld, mainly focusing on how they were presenting their offerings that are being hung under the "Social CRM" banner.


First, the pragmatic bits.  Oracle still has a long way to go to truly embrace the notion that the customer can be in control, or at least be a mutually beneficial party, in the business relationship.  Exhibit A, the cringeworthy tag line and subhead on the page shown above.  What does it say?

"Oracle Social CRM Applications leverage Web 2.0 technologies to help sales people identify qualified leads, develop effective sales campaigns and presentations, and collaborate with colleagues to close more deals quickly."

I don’t even know where to start with that messaging and the general wrong-way-rubbing that it induces.  Perhaps the easiest thing to point out is that it’s still 100% focused on the sales team, and implicitly views the customer as the enemy, or at least simply the next transaction.  One of the demos that was shown at the event last night illustrated how one of their new tools could make it easier to identify that sales opportunity that was looking like it was slipping into the next quarter’s business, and how it aided the sales manager in identifying it and enabled him to encourage the rep to do anything possible to bring the business in before the quarter ended.  (N.B. Recall item #7 from the customer’s point of view: "I want to buy things on my schedule, not yours. I don’t care if it’s the end of your quarter.")

There were two bright spots, however.  Number one was the communication that Oracle SVP Anthony Lye shared this morning.  A few quotes and comments from this morning’s presentation, from the Twitter stream (listed newer-to-older):


  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "With Social CRM, the individual gets a benefit, the network gets a benefit, and the company gets a benefit."
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "Oracle is a beta customer for us."
    kitson: #oow08 #Lye "Marketing has a very serious role to play in Social CRM." [cited the Body Shop iPhone app:] "The always-on loyalty program."
    kitson: #oow08 #Lye …“Email?" They scoffed – "You still use that? That’s what we use to talk to old people.”
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye Told a story of talking to college kids, who scoffed at the contact info on his card…
  • ccarfi: "the way you work with suppliers today is very transactional.  there’s no clue about the conversation." #oow08 #lye
  • ccarfi: "…but the younger generation thinks the network is their power." #oow08 #lye
  • ccarfi: "people my age or above think that knowledge is power.  the more ‘important’ they are, the less they share." #oow08 #lye
  • ccarfi: "there’s
    no benefit to the end users in today’s CRM systems. today’s CRM systems
    are built for the managers, not the end users." #oow08 #lye

  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye
    "If you look at selling today, salespeople are only spending 22% of
    their time actually selling…. &they really don’t like CRM"

  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye [Damn. Battery’s dying, and there’s no outlet here. If I fall silent, that’s why.]

    kitson: #oow08 #Lye "I don’t like ‘CRM 2.0’ because someone’s going to come up with ‘3.0’ and ‘4.0’ Versioning a strategy is flawed."   

  • ccarfi: @kitson is also doing killer live tweet coverage of #oow08


  • acclimedia: @ccarfi Thanks for the great live tweets! Some valuable insights. #oow08
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "Maybe there are a few companies that live off their own successes–but that’s really a small percentage now."
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "I don’t expect to sell this [Social CRM] to everyone."

  • ccarfi: "the brands that DON’T try to control the conversation will do better than those that try to control it" #lye #oow08
  • ccarfi: "if you have a bad product, it’s game over for a brand whether you like it or not" #lye #oow08
  • ccarfi: "the internet gave the control the customer.  web 2.0 gave the control to the community" #lye #oow08
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "Fear is always a good thing, I think. Businesses don’t do anything unless they’re afraid [of the alternative]."
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "Taking the best of the consumer Internet and enterprise data to leverage what’s already working with what Oracle can do."
  • ccarfi: "CRM doesn’t have  clue about conversation. Social Networks don’t have a clue about enterprise data." #lye #oow08
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "The nicest compliment everyone pays me is how ‘un-Oracle’ Social CRM is."
  • ccarfi: "conversation is very important.  customers want to have conversations, and expect vendors to provide infrastructure for it" #lye #oow08
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "Social networks can be public, they can be private, and they can be secret."
  • ccarfi: social CRM overview at #oow08
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "What we’re doing in our Social CRM is we’re bringing in ERP data + CRM data–data sets you’d NEVER put on the public Internet.
  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye
    "Customers are choosing not2stay in line w/those relationships.They
    want 2 converse & CRM systems have no idea what’s going on."

  • kitson: #oow08 #Lye "CRM for the first 10 years was about data capture."
  • kitson: #oow08 In a briefing with Anthony Lye of Oracle’s CRM…

So, it’s appears clear that Anthony Gets It with respect to what the right things to say are.  Now, just to turn the Sayonara around to embrace the customer as relationship partner is the task at hand and exhibit that understanding via product, positioning and action.

The other bright spot was a proof-of-concept demo that was shown for customer The Body Shop.  This was an iPhone application that started to inch down the path to giving more power to the customer, or at least include her in the relationship at some level.  Here are a few quick shots from the keynote.

Here’s an entry-screen to the application, which a customer could bring up on her iPhone when she walked into the store.  Behind the scenes, profile information on preferences and purchase history would be available.

Body Shop iPhone App

Oooh!  Product!  The sort of nifty thing here was access to ratings of this particular product both from the "at large" community, as well as the specific ratings from your "friends" and/or "people like you."

iPhone customer connection app

A hop over to a "loyalty card points" page, where points could be redeemed for discounts, etc.

iPhone customer app

Choose from one of a bunch of options for the "loyalty" bonus: Redeem Now, Email/SMS to get Rebate, Share with a Friend, or Donate to Charity.

iPhone customer app

Ok, we chose "Redeem Now."  Discount code is available, take the "coupon" to the register to save a few bucks at checkout.

Body Shop iPhone coupon

What I was NOT able to get were any details on how "real" the application is.  The demonstration that was shown was very, very scripted, and quite a bit of the demo required the suspension of disbelief once you started to delve into the details.  For example, the details around the explicit sharing of a lot of (really) personal data among "trusted" friends was assumed to "just work," with neither the social nor the technical nor the identity underpinnings given any level of discussion. 

Another big thing to note: the access to purchase history and preferences and the like is wonderful, but the information still is 100% in the hands of the vendor.  So, although some of the ideas feel a bit like VRM, the implementation still needs to take the big leap – let the customer control, edit, change, and manage her own data.  That part is still most definitely not there.  We still have the silo problem – if you had one of these apps for The Body Shop, and one for the movie theater, and one for the restaurant down the street, we’d still have the Tower of Babel problem we have today.  Of course, it would just be a shinier Tower of Babel, since it’s on the iPhone.

But…it’s a start.  Where we are now with the enterprise and how it will connect with customers feels a lot like where Big Media (and in particular the newspaper industry) was in about 2004-2005.  Technically, the tools are in place, or soon will be.  The real challenge is NOT a technical one.  It’s a social challenge.  It’s a humbling, or perhaps a realization, of the marketers and sales people in large companies that, no, they really are *not* in control of the "message," whatever that is.  Thoughts around this were written in 2004, and before that in 2000.  Those things still hold true, and it boils down to this:

The customer really is in going to be in control.  Deal with it.

In The Stream

Oow08 video wall

Was up at Oracle OpenWorld (#oow08) for the last couple of days.  They had HUGE video walls that were pulling comments from one of the social networking systems they had in place for the event.  Very reminiscent of what we saw at SXSW with Twitter a couple or three years ago.

Connect / Reflect

(N.B. This post originally appeared on March 12, 2007.  But it completely recaptures where things are today, with all sorts of thoughts from Mobilize, BlogWorldExpo and Oracle OpenWorld mashing and spiraling wonderfully in my brain.)

Tara gets asked: "How do you guys get any work done with all of the things you are involved in?"

Stowe writes: "In a world of flow, information will find us. And we will find ourselves more connected, in a richer world, with a different form of attention."

I totally agree with both of them.  And I also think that we need to nudge the thinking along just a step further.  "Flow" is needed, and for individuals in an organization to be part of what’s going on, they need to be in it.  Agreed.


Back in the early and mid 90’s, I did a lot of whitewater rafting, primarily on the Gauley River in West Virginia.  Once you were in the flow, you were in the flow.  No turning back.  However (and this is a big however), if you were in the wrong part of the flow, things got very dicey, very quickly…sometimes with significant consequences.


Before jumping into the flow, you need to know the direction you’re going.  Just as importantly, after you come out of a particularly turbulent part of the flow, you need to look back, and think about what worked, what didn’t, and what you’re going to do next time.

At SXSW this weekend, was thinking about this a lot, and realized there are really two parts of it:

  • Part of the time you’re in the midst of the flow, and connecting with people and ideas
  • Part of  the time you’re taking a breather, and reflecting on what just happened and what’s going to happen next…


(Gauley photo credits: The fine folks at Ace Whitewater, from whom I learned as much as I ever did in any classroom.  Jack & Tug…thanks again!)


Off to Mobilize today.  Seeya there.


GigaOm’s next-generation mobile conference, Mobilize is a one-day conference 
designed to bring to you the future of the broadband mobile web. Using
the existing industry as a platform, we will examine emerging ideas and
emerging markets.

tags: #mobilize #mobilizeconf

Study Results: Online Communities and Business


Francois Gossieaux from Beeline Labs, along with Deloitte and the Society for New Communications
has done some great research on how organizations are using online communities in both the business-to-business (b2b) and business-to-consumer (b2c) contexts (some nonprofits were included in the mix as well).  Over 140 organizations were included in the study, which covered online business communities with only a few dozen members, all the way up to communities with over 10,000 members.

Here’s a link to the Tribalization of Business study results.

Some key quotes from Francois about the findings, by way of an interview with Shel Israel:

On organizational structure: "Most community efforts ended up reporting in to the CMO, even though
that is not where they all originated. In the recent past, most
community activities started somewhere as a skunkworks project – only
to be rolled into the CMO’s turf after the program gained recognition."

On technology versus strategy: "Another surprise was how many companies started their community
initiatives as a technology platform decision – only to realize that if
you build it, they may not come. Some very successful community
executives suggested that if your community cannot survive in a Yahoo!
Group-like discussion environment, it will probably not survive
anywhere. One of the more important factors for the success of
community initiatives is the content strategy for the community – not
the technology strategy.
(emphasis added)

On bringing marketing back to the customer perspective: "We believe that CMOs have an opportunity to transform their role
into that of Chief Customer Officer – and represent the Voice of the
Customer at the executive table…Leveraging the power of communities and the customer insights that
they provide could put CMOs back in the strategic seats where they

The last word: "Please, don’t start your community project as a technology platform selection."

Click here to read the whole interview.

Click here to see the results of the study.

BlogWorldExpo and Mobilize Pocket Guides

Two pocket guides for events this week.  Get ’em!  Click on the icons to get the guides.  They’re tuned for iPhone and
mobile, and you can also get a widget for your blog, if you’re so



The first and only industry-wide tradeshow, conference, and media event
dedicated to promoting the dynamic industry of blogging and new media.
In addition to the only industry-wide exhibition, BlogWorld features
the largest blogging conference in the world including more than 50
seminars, panel discussions and keynotes from iconic personalities on
the leading-edge of online technology and internet-savvy business.



GigaOm’s next-generation mobile conference, Mobilize is a one-day conference 
designed to bring to you the future of the broadband mobile web. Using
the existing industry as a platform, we will examine emerging ideas and
emerging markets.