There’s no way I know of to say this without sounding curmudgeonly, but I will say it with a smile, at least. I think social CRM has jumped the shark.
I did a couple of Google searches today just to see what would come up and I was astounded. One search for “social CRM” came back with over nine million hits and another had seven million (different browser). Then I figured, what the heck, search on “social CRM expert” and that came back with over 1.5 million hits. Is this a cottage industry or what?
Now, there are many things wrong with my methodology. For instance, it does nothing to filter out duplicates so, for example, there could be 1.5 million experts each of whom has one of those hits or one expert (probably Paul Greenberg who writes a ton, but who has never anointed himself with the title of expert) could have the million-five hits. Of course the number is somewhere in the middle but that’s little comfort.
Last week while on the road with a goodly segment of the social CRM brain trust including Paul Greenberg, Estaben Kolsky, Brent Leary, Marshal Larger, David Myron, Jesus Hoyos, Dr. Natalie and several others, some of us were joking about the seeming plethora of experts cropping up in the field, many of whom we’d never heard of. Some analyst suggested that there was a direct relationship between the number of social CRM experts and the number of laid off marketing and PR people from the tech sector. We laughed it off but maybe someone was on to something.
It’s a free market, so anyone is entitled to hang out a shingle but that’s not what’s driving this piece. The issue I see is shark jumping. If social CRM is such a well-covered phenomenon, is it in danger of over exposure? Maybe you can’t over expose the idea but you can over cover it.
I’d say, with so much coverage, the idea is not new and analysis may be irrelevant — at least the analysis that sets out to identify the trend and explain it. At this point, we may be in need of some clarification of core ideas and some determination of what is and is not part of the social CRM movement.
Regardless, the popularity certainly shows that social CRM has hit a hot button, possibly because we are all at times customers and have distinct ideas of how we want to be handled. But regardless of our personal opinions, we should be looking for universal truths that apply broadly and instruct vendors and customers alike. It seems difficult to see how so many voices can drive anything coherent though. Hence my contention that social CRM has jumped Moby Shark.