The divide between public relations and customer relationship management (CRM) is shrinking. I have literally been in meetings with multidisciplinary teams (brand advertising + public relations + CRM) where PR and CRM will face off about whether managing the conversation in a Facebook wall is more about communications (PR's other name) or more about customer relationship management. This is the annoying beauty of social media. It forces integration or at least discussion within established marketing and communications organizations.
Postive Effect of the Disciplines
Looking at CRM and PR alone for a moment, each is in the process of teaching the other a thing or two about managing profitable relationships. The CRM discipline is used to managing data to understand the profitability of customers. As a very data-heavy discipline, CRM generally has a more rigorous performance measurement model than most public relations professionals. It's hard to diagnose where the lack of measurement discipline in some PR circles comes from. Conversely, some of the smartest measurement people I know are in PR, there just aren't as many of them amidst all of the other sub-specialties like media relations, event marketing, public affairs, etc...CRM ninjas are bringing more data-driven measurement practices to the PR folks as each play a role in social media-based relationship marketing.
The PR discipline knows about the value of advocacy. Getting people - customers and influencers - talking positively about products and services is probably the most powerful sales-related communication goal one can have. The CRM folks are only used to 'optimizing the spend' of customers. Often that leads to annoying "stimulation" tactics like email blasts intended to drive purchase or re-purchase. The PR pros are teaching the CRM folks of the value of advocacy and just how to earn that action.
If humility can prevail within the ranks of both groups, this should be a win-win situation - more disciplined metrics within PR and a greater proficiency at 'earning' people's attention, advocacy and spend among CRM experts. It is likely that through the influence of CRM marketers, social media marketers will get closer to ROI marketing modeling sooner.
Authors can now, address personal messages to readers via the channel established with ebooks. Kindlegraph now lets authors do just that. This is another form of addressable channel where authors (literary brands?) can interact with their customer directly and can use data to try and get the most relevant message to the right person.
Add this to all of the other addressable channels we are all working with on behalf of ourselves and other brands:
- Facebook fans
- Twitter followers
- LinkedIn group members
- Instagram followers
- Google+ Circles
- Vkontakte fans (Russia)
- Orkut followers (Brazil)
- Email lists (yes, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water)
Each allows us to maintain a direct, ongoing relationship with customers, prospects and influencers. Each has different ways to use data to better target our message or deliver value and earn people's attention, advocacy and 'spend.'
Addressable Customers, Prospects and Influencers
With so many channels or platforms where we can now talk directly to groups of (or individuals) customers, prospects and influencers (our 'publics?'), it would seem that brands must start to structure their realtionship-building activities around segments of their stakeholder groups that transcend specific platforms. Rather than have a view of different levels of fan types on Facebook* and a different model for their email subscriber base, can a brand create one framework of their customers, prospects and influencers who choose to have a relationship with a brand by one or more of these channels?
*fan segmentation models