IBM Global Business Services Customer Relationship ManagementExecutive ReportIBM Institute for Business ValueFrom social mediato Social CRMWhat customers wantThe rst in a two-part series
IBM Institute for Business ValueIBM Global Business Services, through the IBM Institute for Business Value, developsfact-based strategic insights for senior executives around critical public and privatesector issues. This executive report is based on an in-depth study by the Institute’sresearch team. It is part of an ongoing commitment by IBM Global Business Servicesto provide analysis and viewpoints that help companies realize business value.You may contact the authors or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.Additional studies from the IBM Institute for Business Value can be found atibm.com/iibv
IntroductionBy Carolyn Heller Baird and Gautam ParasnisGetting closer to customers is a top priority forCEOs, according to the IBM CEO Study. Today’s businesses are ferventlybuilding social media programs to do just this. But are customers as enthusiastic?Actually, most do not engage with companies via social media simply to feel connected.It turns out, customers are far more pragmatic. To successfully exploit the potential ofsocial media, companies need to design experiences that deliver tangible value in returnfor customers’ time, attention, endorsement and data.With the worldwide explosion of social media usage, businesses facilitate increased revenue, cost reduction and ef ciencies. Asare feeling extreme pressure to be where their customers are. might be expected, our ndings indicate social media initiativesToday, this hub of customer activity is increasingly virtual, are quickly springing up across organizations.located inside a social media or social networking site. But inan environment de ned by customer control and two-way However, using social media as a channel for customerdialogue, are customers and businesses in sync with each engagement raises interesting challenges for traditional CRMother’s expectations? approaches. CRM strategy, enabled by processes and technolo- gies, is architected to manage customer relationships as aConsider the speed at which social media is being adopted by means for extracting the greatest value from customers overconsumers and businesses alike. saw staggering numbers. the lifetime of the relationship. These strategies typicallyThere were more than million active users on Facebook, concentrate on the operational responses required to manage percent outside the United States. By March , more the customer. With social media, though, companies are nothan billion messages, or Tweets, had been sent through longer in control of the relationship. Instead, customers (andTwitter since its launch in . By July, that number had their highly in uential virtual networks) are now driving thedoubled to billion. And in the Asia-Paci c region, conversation, which can trump a company’s marketing, salespercent of the total online population visited a social and service efforts with unprecedented immediacy and reach.networking site in February , reaching a total of .million visitors. Companies need to embrace this shift with a new strategy – Social CRM, which recognizes that instead of managingClearly, this is where customers are congregating and busi- customers, the role of the business is to facilitate collaborativenesses want to be. Social media holds enormous potential for experiences and dialogue that customers value.companies to get closer to customers and, by doing so,
2 From social media to Social CRM – What customers wantUnderstanding what customers value, especially when they are It’s about friends and family – not brands. More than half ofin the unique environment of a social platform, is a critical rst consumers don’t even consider engaging with businesses viastep toward building a Social CRM strategy. What triggers a social sites. For them, social media and social networking arecustomer to seek out a company or brand via social media? about personal connections with friends and family.What would make a customer reluctant to interact? And does Perception versus reality – what consumers really want. Wesocial engagement in uence customers’ feelings of loyalty discovered signi cant gaps between what businesses thinktoward a company as businesses hope it does? consumers care about and what consumers say they want from their social media interactions with companies. In exchangeTo nd out, the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed for their time, endorsement and personal data, consumersmore than , consumers worldwide to understand who is expect something tangible. But businesses rank gettingusing social media, what sites they frequent and what drives discounts and purchasing as the least likely reasons consumersthem to engage with companies. We also asked executives interact with them.to tell us why they think customers are interacting with their The advocacy paradox – Is it the chicken or the egg? Mostorganizations (see sidebar: Study methodology). What we businesses believe social media will increase advocacy, but onlydiscovered may come as a surprise to those companies that percent of consumers agree, and more than percentassume consumers are seeking them out to feel connected to believe passion for a business or brand is a prerequisite fortheir brand. In fact, consumers are far more interested in social media engagement. Companies need to nd creativeobtaining tangible value, suggesting businesses may be ways to tap the power of the trusted social community.confusing their own desire for customer intimacy withconsumers’ motivations for engaging. What are the implications for companies? We believe they have their work cut out for them. Even for customer-focusedOur research shows that consumers have strong opinions about organizations, the introduction of social media presents one oftheir social media interactions and, despite their embrace of the most disruptive forces facing businesses today. Our ndingssocial media, their willingness to engage with companies indicate companies are establishing the foundations of Socialshould not be assumed or taken for granted: CRM but, as could be expected, they are experiencing the growing pains of change and uncertainty. In their rush to join Consumers all over the world, across all generations, are swarming the fray, businesses need to stay laser focused on customer to social media, but most interact only occasionally. Despite the value to avoid falling into the perception gaps we’ve uncovered. astounding escalation of social media adoption, only a very small percentage of consumers engages regularly by responding to posts and authoring their own content. Obtaining tangible value is the top reason most consumers seek out businesses via social sites.
IBM Global Business Services 3 Social media surgeStudy methodology Nearly percent of the online consumers we surveyed have at least one account on a social networking site where they can quickly andIn October 2010, we conducted two online surveys: easily connect with people. Almost half have accounts on media- sharing sites where they can access or upload photos, videos and other types of media. But only a fraction of consumers, a mere percent, consistently take the time and effort to regularly respond to others’ comments or post original content. Social media is ultimately about interacting with others with an expectation of getting something in return. Even if that “something” is intangible, such as a feeling of connectedness or affection, participants are actively, purposefully seeking value. For businesses, the challenge is unlocking what their customers care about and creating social media experiences that deliver that value. But rst, companies need to understand the dynamics of consumer growth and activity on social sites and take stock of consumer attitudes and the triggers that compel them to seek out a company in the rst place.other interested individuals. So, who is embracing social media and which sites are they using? As expected, Generation Y still accounts for the lion’s share of activity, but Generation X isn’t far behind and Baby Boomers are quickly catching up, particularly in the use of social networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut, and QQ. Baby Boomers have demonstrated the most growth in terms of numbers using such sites. In , percent of Baby Boomers were using social networking sites. Based on our survey, that number had swelled to percent by . However, Baby Boomers’ use of other types of social sites is far less aggressive, and percent do not have accounts on any social site, a much higher level of inactivity than Generation X or Y (see Figure ).
4 From social media to Social CRM – What customers wantPercentage of consumers with accounts on social sites 89% Social networking sites 79% 72% 57% Media sharing sites 42% 33% 42% Microblogging sites 37% 24% 30% Blogging sites 24% 12% 27% Wikis 22% 14% 20% Social review sites 16% 10% 19% Social bookmarking sites 12% 7% Gen Y 5% Gen X No accounts 13% 20% Baby BoomersNotes: 1) Sample size N=1056. 2) Generation Y: People born between 1975 and 1992 (18 to 35 year olds); Generation X: People born between 1965 and 1974 (36 to 45 yearolds); Baby Boomers: People born in or before 1964 (46 years olds and older).Source: IBM Institute for Business Value analysis. CRM Study 2011.Figure 1:Baby Boomers are not alone in their love of social networking. People are ocking to sites where their circles of in uenceThese sites are by far the most popular for Generations X and reside. They are joining networking sites such as FacebookY as well. Media sharing sites (e.g., YouTube, Flickr and because this is where the conversations are taking place. InSlideShare) rank second in popularity, but the number of contrast, consumers are much less inclined to have accounts onaccounts drops signi cantly. Generation Y still leads the pack more niche sites, such as those dedicated to authoring blogs orat percent, but fewer than half of Generation X has an writing restaurants reviews. However, the picture is somewhataccount on these sites, and only a third of Baby Boomers do. different in emerging markets, where blogging and micoblog- ging tend to be more popular (see sidebar: Trends in emergingMicroblogging, e.g., “tweeting,” comes in third and is used markets).mostly by Generation X and Y, with far less activity by BabyBoomers. People have even fewer accounts on the remainingtypes of social sites, such as blogs, wikis, social reviews andsocial bookmarking sites.
IBM Global Business Services 5 Companies, keenly aware of this global social media phenom- enon, are feeling intense pressure to get in on the action.Trends in emerging markets Nearly percent of executives say their companies will be perceived as “out of touch” if they don’t engage, and over half believe their competition is successfully reaching customers through social media. Not surprisingly, their rush to embrace social networking sites has mirrored consumers’ adoption, with percent claiming a pro le or presence on a social networking site, and over half use media sharing and microb- logging sites (see Figure ). 9 Although the consumer stampede to social media is indeed impressive, companies also need to be aware the numbers can be deceiving. To get a better picture of actual social media interaction, we grouped consumers based on their social media engagement levels by asking them how they interact on social sites – whether they typically just read, occasionally interact or almost always engage. Our ndings reinforce what other similar studies have also uncovered. Only a small proportion of consumers – the Engaged Authors at percent – nearly always respond to others’ comments or author their own posts. The next and by far largest group, which we dubbed the Casual Participants ( percent), occasionally will respond or post their own content. Only a small percentage of consumers on social sites can be counted on to interact regularly.
6 From social media to Social CRM – What customers want N=349 Social networking sites 79% 18% 3% N=347 Media sharing sites 55% 37% 8% N=343 Microblogging sites 52% 41% 7% N=343 Wikis 48% 45% 7% N=342 Blogging sites 45% 45% 10% N=338 Social review sites 36% 52% 12% N=339 Social bookmarking sites 31% 55% 14%Note: Numbers rounded to equal 100 percent.Source: IBM Institute for Business Value analysis. CRM Study 2011.Figure 2:The last group, the Silent Observers at percent, sits quietly These participant categories have multiple implications foron the sidelines. Although they have accounts, they read but do businesses hoping to use social media to get closer tonot participate and have never contributed to a conversation or customers. Innovative companies are identifying their Engagedposted their own content. Authors, collaborating with them and leveraging their in uence as brand evangelists. The Casual Participants and, to some degree, the Silent Observers also constitute a rich reserve with the potential to engage. Businesses should view this as an opportunity to reach out to new and existing customers.Targeted campaigns with incentives to However, it will likely take a targeted, multichannel campaigninteract can entice the Casual Participant that rewards customers for using a social option with furtherto engage. incentives to motivate them to actually interact.
IBM Global Business Services 7 It’s personal Privacy concerns ( percent) and spam ( percent) topped For most consumers, social media is about engaging with friends and the reasons why they are reluctant. Additionally, over a third family and accessing news and entertainment – not interacting with ( percent) cite simple disinterest in the brand as their reason brands. for not engaging. When asked why they go to social media or social networking Of the percent who do interact with brands, the majority ( sites, percent of consumers chose “Connecting with percent) say they need to feel a company is communicating network of friends and family,” while only percent noted honestly before they will interact. Sixty-seven percent of “Interacting with brands” (see Figure ). companies say they have a culture that endorses transparent communications with customers; however, a third were either As a group, Engaged Authors are more likely to interact with lukewarm about this or felt their company culture was not companies ( percent), but even they rank this reason well supportive. Companies that struggle with transparency risk behind others on their list, with “Connecting with friends and being perceived by customers as insincere or manipulative. family” receiving a whopping percent. These types of organizations may nd it dif cult to interact with the authenticity that has become a must for business- In fact, just over half of consumers surveyed say they do customer interactions in social media. not engage with brands via social media at all ( percent).Reasons consumers go to social media or social networking sitesConnect with friends and family 70% Access news 49% Access entertainment 46% Share opinion 42% Access reviews 39% Meet people 38% Share media 36% Research for work 28% Get deals 26% Interact with brands 23% Network for work 22% Write blog 22% Access education 22% Search jobs 20% Other .04% Note: Sample size N=1056. Source: IBM Institute for Business Value analysis. CRM Study 2011. Figure 3:
8 From social media to Social CRM – What customers wantWhat does all this mean for business? Organizations need to In contrast, when asked why they thought customers werebe aware that less than half their customer base is likely to following their companies on social sites, executives citeinteract with them in a social media environment. This can getting discounts and purchasing products or services as the uctuate, of course, depending on the targeted market for a two things customers were least interested in doing – the directparticular industry or type of business. However, regardless of opposite of the consumers’ rankings (see Figure ).the customer pro le, as businesses build their social mediastrategies, it is important they ask a fundamental question: The same question reveals another related perception gap.“Why would people choose to follow us in social media instead Businesses are three times more likely to think consumers areof reaching out via traditional channels?” The answer may be interested in interacting with them to feel part of a community.as simple as: “Because our customers congregate on social sites, Businesses also overestimate consumers’ desire to engage withand it’s how they want to communicate.” For the Engaged them to feel connected to their brand. In fact, these twoAuthors and, now and again, the Casual Participants, that may activities are among the least interesting from a consumer’sbe enough of a reason. However, the real opportunity lies in an perspective.organization’s ability to attract others who aren’t so inclined toparticipate. Companies need to make a concerted effort to Consumers are willing to interact with businesses if theycommunicate openly and authentically with these customers, believe it is to their bene t, feel they can trust the companylearn what they value and offer bene ts that entice them to act. and decide social media is the right channel to use to get the value they seek. That value could be in the form of a coupon orPerception versus reality speci c information. Engaging with a company via socialSixty- ve percent of businesses view social media as a new source for media may result in a feeling of connectedness for consumersrevenue but, at the same time, many believe receiving discounts or – an emotional, intangible gain – but the wish for intimacy iscoupons and purchasing products or services are among the least likely not what drives most of them.reasons a customer would seek them out on social sites. Ironically,though, consumers say getting tangible value is the top reason they Businesses hoping to foster closer customer connectionsinteract with a company, which is good news for those organizations through social media conversations may be mistakenlyhoping to monetize social media. projecting their own desires for intimacy onto customers’ motivations for interacting. Interactions with businesses areWhen asked what they do when they interact with businesses not the same as interactions with friends. Most consumers areor brands via social media, consumers list “getting discounts or not motivated brand advocates who connect with a companycoupons” and “purchasing products and services” as the top primarily to feel associated with a brand community.two activities, respectively. They rank “reading reviews andproduct rankings” third, which is also often part of the Despite this perception gap, the fact that customers desire topurchasing process as customers research product information use social sites to transact with businesses should come asbefore deciding to transact. welcome news to companies that want to monetize social media. Social commerce is quickly becoming a major force in
IBM Global Business Services 9 Consumers’ ranking: Perception Businesses’ ranking: The reasons they interact with companies gap Why they think consumers follow them via social sites via social sites (61%) Discount Learn about new products (73%) (55%) Purchase General information (71%) (53%) Reviews and product rankings Submit opinion on current products/services (69%) (53%) General information Exclusive information (68%) (52%) Exclusive information Reviews and product rankings (67%) (51%) Learn about new products Feel connected (64%) (49%) Submit opinion on current products/services Customer service (63%) (37%) Customer service Submit ideas for new products/services (63%) (34%) Event participation Be part of a community (61%) (33%) Feel connected Event participation (61%) (30%) Submit ideas for new products/services Purchase (60%) (22%) Be part of a community Discount (60%)Note: Consumer: N=1056; Business: Learn N=333, General info N=336, Submit opinion N=334, Exclusive info N=333, Reviews/rankings N=333, Feel connected N=331,Customer service N=331, Submit ideas N=332, Community N=329, Event N=332, Purchase N=334, Discounts N=331.Source: IBM Institute for Business Value analysis. CRM Study 2011.Figure 4:social media, and we believe expediency, cost savings, and rst to enable customers on Facebook to select products andexclusive offers and sales will outweigh privacy fears. purchase directly from a Facebook page. In , DeltaConsumers are increasingly using social media to gain recom- Airlines launched a “social media ticket window” on Facebook,mendations, reviews and opinions from friends, family, experts allowing customers to book a ight without having to go toand the collective social community. Once they access this Delta’s Web site. Delta indicated Facebook is used by morecontent, the impulse to purchase immediately can be strong. customers while in ight than any other Web site, making it aHaving to switch channels to transact will increasingly feel like “natural launching point” for its initiative.an inconvenience, if not burdensome. Social commerce adoption levels will vary based on industry,More companies are offering commerce opportunities consumer concern over privacy (which is highest in China atdelivered through third-party social platforms such as percent and Germany at percent) and regulatory or legalFacebook (see sidebar: Cold Stone Creamery – Real value for restrictions. However, for most, the convenience and satisfac-real friends). In , - FLOWERS.COM was among the tion of “one-stop shopping” will be hard to resist.
10 From social media to Social CRM – What customers want The advocacy paradoxCold Stone Creamery – Real value for real friends Is it the chicken or the egg? Businesses are betting that social media interactions will engender increased customer loyalty. However, manyCold Stone Creamery’s eGift program on Facebook is an consumers say they need to be passionate before they’ll engage, andexcellent example of social commerce that optimizes the they are split regarding how much in uence they think theseunique community aspect of social networking by enablingfollowers to send tangible gifts to friends. interactions will have. In the IBM Global CEO Study, percent of CEOs said “getting closer to customers” was the top priority for their business over the next ve years. This same driver is re ected in responses from executives surveyed for this study. Almost three fourths ( percent) believe reaching out to customers via social media will help them increase customer advocacy. However, consumers are divided on this issue. Only percent feel social media interactions with a business will have a favorable in uence on their loyalty to that company, percent are neutral and as many as a third ( percent) say their social media interactions will not make them feel more loyal to that business. In addition, they are split as to whether social interaction with a company would in uence their spending with that business. Just under half of consumers ( percent) believe their engage- ment would likely lead to future purchases with that company.franchisees.14 Twenty-seven percent don’t think social media interactions will in uence their spending, and percent are neutral. Further- more, for nearly two thirds of consumers ( percent), passion for a brand or business is a prerequisite for engaging with that company via social media. This means the majority of consumers are inclined to interact only with brands they already know and love.
IBM Global Business Services 11In other words, consumers who engage already have an af nityfor that brand or company, and mere participation via social American Express Small Business Saturday –media may not necessarily result in increased loyalty or Crossing the emotional dividespending. But a recommendation from a friend or familymember could make a difference. In a IBM study on theretail industry, we found percent of consumers ask friendsfor advice before purchasing, and more than a third turn toexternal sources – either fellow consumers or independentexperts – to get information about a product. Only percentrely on retailers and manufacturers. The power of the socialcommunity’s endorsement and in uence can be felt each timesomeone “likes” a company on Facebook or re-tweets acompany’s message on Twitter.Companies can take advantage of this dynamic by designingsocial media programs with the explicit goal of touchingcustomers emotionally and motivating them to share theirexperiences with others. The American Express Small BusinessSaturday program on Facebook is great example of a companyusing social media to connect with customers based on ashared sense of values, while also providing tangible value toboth the consumer and the company (see sidebar: AmericanExpress Small Business Saturday – Crossing the emotionaldivide).Most consumers interact with brands or 17businesses with which they already have astrong connection.
12 From social media to Social CRM – What customers wantRecommendations and next steps If you aren’t sure what customers value, ask them. Dialogue andOrganizations need to carefully consider how they can create a social participation is what social media is all about. Devise creativemedia experience that is unique to their brand, offers customer value ways to capture the customer insight you need with polls, ideaand exploits the power of the social community. jams and challenges. Let customers participate by voting on their favorite ideas or innovations. In fact, getting customersCompanies should consider the following to lay the foundation invested in the outcome will help build the advocacy andfor a successful social media program that will help them brand af nity you seek.reinvent their customer relationships: Monetize social media, if that’s what customers want. Make it quick and easy for customers to transact directly within a Recognize social media is a game changer. We believe that for social media experience. Develop social commerce campaigns many companies, social media will become the gateway, if not that target a speci c customer need with time-sensitive offers the primary, communications channel to connect with or discounts that motivate customers to act. For people to customers. As companies design their social media programs, engage and keep coming back, content should be fresh and they need to think of their customers holistically and consider relevant. Provide incentives for people to share content with their social media interactions in the context of other friends to capitalize on the viral bene ts a community customer touch points with the company. platform offers. Be clear on the differences between social media and other channels. Social CRM is about enabling engagement with the customer for the mutual bene t of the customer and the business. The traditional model of managing the customer relationship needs to adapt to the reality that the customer is now in control. Make the customer experience seamless – across social media and other channels. If you know your customer in one channel, you A successful Social CRM strategy facilitates need to know him or her in other channels as well. This collaborative experiences and dialogue that means the social solution should not be devised as an isolated standalone program, but needs to be thoughtfully integrated customers value. with other customer-facing initiatives. Start thinking like a customer. Instead of asking why your company should engage in social media, ask why a customer would choose to interact with your company in a social platform. Recast social interaction strategies to focus on giving customers the value they seek and the customer intimacy will come.
IBM Global Business Services 13Conclusion To learn more about this IBM Institute for Business ValueIt is understandable why companies want to use social media to study, please contact us at email@example.com. For a full cataloginteract with customers. The bene ts are real and deep. First, of our research, visit:there is the social interaction itself, which can provide direct ibm.com/iibvvalue to the business through revenue from social commerceand cost savings when used for customer care or research, for Be among the rst to receive the latest insights from the IBMexample. Plus, social networking enables rapid, viral distribu- Institute for Business Value. Subscribe to IdeaWatch, ourtion of offers and content that may reach beyond what could monthly e-newsletter featuring executive reports that offerbe done in traditional channels – all with endorsement from strategic insights and recommendations based on IBV research:connections people trust. But that is just the beginning. ibm.com/gbs/ideawatch/subscribeCompanies also can use social platforms to mine data for brandmonitoring and valuable customer insights, which can sparkinnovations for improved services, products and customerexperiences. In a constant cycle of listen-analyze-engage-evolve, organizations can optimize their social media programsto continually enhance their business.With so much to gain, companies need to invest the effort tounderstand how to break through the noise and offer currentand potential customers a reason to reach out to them viasocial media. Businesses, eager to get closer to customers, arebuilding pages on social networking sites, posting videos andmircoblogging; however, if they don’t focus on what themajority of their customers value in social media, they may bemissing the boat. In fact, offering tangible value to consumersmay be the strongest incentive to attract the percent ofCasual Participants who need a good reason to interact.For companies that have been taking a “build it and they willcome” approach to social media, these consumer ndings are awake-up call that much more needs to be done if they want toattract more than the most devoted brand advocates.
14 From social media to Social CRM – What customers wantAuthors ContributorsCarolyn Heller Baird is the Global CRM Research Leader Saul Berman, Partner & Vice President, Global Strategywith the IBM Institute for Business Value, IBM Global Consulting Leader and Innovation & Growth Services Leader,Services. Her seasoned experience spans nearly years with a IBM Global Business Servicesfocus on customer experience and CRM strategies, digitalmedia development, corporate communications, marketing and Geoffrey Hamelin, Market & Solutions Development Leader/branding. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. CRM, IBM Global Business ServicesGautam Parasnis is a Partner and Vice President for IBM Denise Arnette, Market & Solutions Development Leader/Global Business Services and the Global CRM Leader. He has Innovation & Growth, Strategy & Transformation, IBMmore than years of experience developing customer Global Business Servicesexperience and CRM strategies, driving enterprise CRM d’Artagnan Catellier, Innovation & Growth Leader, Strategy &transformations and delivering enabling technologies. He can Transformation, Central and Eastern Europe, IBM Globalbe reached at email@example.com. Business Services Rawn Shah, Social Business Transformation Consultant, IBM Software Eric Lesser, Institute for Business Value Practice Leader, IBM Global Business Services
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