Electric Cars are Cars

CRM vs. Social CRM – The reason why we need “Social CRM” terminology

This post captures my response to a question posted by Jeremiah Owyang in the Social CRM Pioneer Discussion Group.

His question was: What is the upside and downside of SCRM branding?

My answer follows.

Social CRM is CRM (I think that has already been settled). The differentiated terminology reflects the significant changes in the business environment and CRM evolution in response to them. Until that evolution consolidates, “Social CRM” is the future of CRM.

It is natural that incumbents stick to “CRM” and new entrants highlight the differences by calling themselves “Social”.

For how long we will continue to discuss terminology will depend on how successful the new entrants are carving a position in the CRM market. Will the “SCRM vendors” be able to maintain  momentum through the inevitable disillusionment that follows the Social-anything hype?

If those vendors can capture a significant portion of the market in the next couple of years, the CRM/SCRM differentiation will survive for a long time. If they don’t, then SCRM blends back into CRM.

Electric cars are cars. If Tesla survives and grows independently, they will continue to represent the “electric car” (even if GM sells more electrics than them). If the big car makers swallow the small ones, electric cars will just be “cars” very soon.

So for new entrants, the advantage of associating themselves to ”Social CRM” is to highlight the differences.I don’t think that
creates the expectation by business users of delivery of a revolution (that demand only exist among  us, searching for a formal definition of the difference).

At Coffee Bean Technology we have had that discussion and, as it is obvious, we decided to position as something different from Classical CRM. So Social CRM we are. There are benefits and risks in that choice.

Evolution happen when we focus on what is new and to draw that focus new terminology is needed. That doesn’t mean the status quo is not important. It is just not interesting.

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