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A Personal Case of Social CRM: It's About Time

Michael Thomas

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a "watchaholic" especially watches with a lot of cool features; It ‘s really bad but not bad enough for me to crash my S2000 (My Escalade) into a tree and fire hydrant while claiming to back out my driveway nor do I need to check into a clinic in Mississippi to help me overcome this addiction.

My latest escapade drew several lines to what is constantly being discussed in the definitions of Social CRM. This is not about defining it but more of my personal experience and how it depicts how the Social Audience (prospects, leads, customers, partners suppliers) interact with brands. Actually, I will put the Social Audience in this context; anyone along the lines of a "stakeholder" that a company depends on for its success.

For the Social Audience my actions are a true depiction of what 2006 Time Magazine’s Person of the Year: You or in this particular case me and my experience relates to "Social CRM." The point to remember is just because the audience has a perceived ownership of the conversation does not mean companies cannot be a part of it. They have to constantly listen and know when to engage. There still has to be a solid foundation of traditional CRM as Paul Greenberg’s post a few weeks back expressed in Blocking and Tackling: Not Football, CRM.

So here is my experience and process of Social CRM shared with you in the CRM foundational manner based on a Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch ( Black with Red Stripe) I received this week.

My intent it to follow along the traditional CRM approach with a "Social CRM" point of view to explain ways companies can leverage multiple channels and integrate into their own People, Process and Technology Strategy.

Follow me ok?


1. I saw the watch in an ad in Runner’s World magazine several weeks ago on the latest Garmin GPS running watch and there was a link given for more information.
2. I went to site where I learned about the features and images of the watch; the only hitch for me was it would not be released for purchase until the end of this month.
3. I set up a Google Alert to track all that was being discussed about the watch pre, during and post launch in anxious anticipation of owning one.
4. I received a number of daily alerts that I had to sift through on articles, blogs, and comparisons to their current line and competitor watches.


1. Through the alerts I went through the process of determining my own "Sentiment" which came out to be a positive one.
2. The opportunity to view multiple images and the ability to read blog posts from writers who were given early access to the watch and forum chatter further enticed my intent to purchase.
3. There were also several videos explaining the use, set up and functionality which steadily added to my confidence in the choice to purchase. I was also able to download a pdf of the user manual.
4. My next step was to find who would carry it, how reputable the dealer would be and what was the best price on it I could find.
5. I went through all of the due diligence and purchased it through a site RoadRunner Sports that I had been a sporadic customer of for a number of years which also gave me a nice VIP discount.


1. Initial support that I needed was more of how to set up the watch and synch it with a My Garmin Connect website that allowed me to upload via USB all of my workouts for a visual map and graph of my route and time, pace, distance as well as heart rate.
2. At the site Garmin also pointed me to a Plug-in that would allow me to use the online tracking.
3. I signed up, and synchronized without any problems and I reviewed the FAQ about the device and set-up.

I took my first run with the watch and I must say that it exceeded all of my expectations. It had unbelievable accuracy and ease of use.

I have described my experience but wanted to also share with you some ideas or lessons learned that companies can instill in their strategies to extend their traditional CRM strategy in the Social Realm.

Too many companies look at Social Media as being a separate entity but as I always say you cannot have a conversation or strategy pertaining to traditional CRM that does not have a Social angle.

If you look closer you will also see that the Marketing, Sales and Support lanes are all intertwined and lean on each other in sort of a full circle process. There is a large amount of crossover in those lanes can point and speak to the Social Audience.

While I had a very good experience I wanted to add some feedback to help companies further extend as well as connect their Social Strategy.

Lessons that can further enhance the experience:

• Garmin could benefit by adding a specific lead source code, or Mobile Text component to further connect, engage and segment their audience because the Social Audience is also a Mobile Audience. I see so many magazine ads that only give a website, usually in small print. Audiences have the ability, desire and tools to engage instantly.
• By adding the above it the effectiveness and ROI of the ad as well as instantly engagement for current and subsequent campaigns and communications.
Do not force your audience to drink all of the online data through a fire hose of information; provide them a straw through precise Social Media Monitoring tools and practices.
• As you can see I have become an advocate and potential influencer, will Garmin find me? How do you find your brand influencers? Because of my satisfaction I will want to share my thoughts and ideas with others.
• I tweeted about ordering my watch and used the wording Garmin Forerunner 110 looking for an early engagement and did not receive any response. Companies need to leverage the power of Twitter, if someone has a problem which could be instant frustration or questions most will express it via Twitter. Are you monitoring this chatter? Can you engage?
• Integrate your marketing, sales and support channels through Twitter to engage your audience and invoke an early alert process to Marketing, Sales and Support inquiries.

If you are not looking at your current strategy and drawing Social CRM lines to all people, processes and technology you are not being effective in the conversations and engagements required to grow and maintain your Social Audience.

It is now time for me to run and feed my addiction.

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