A Visualization of the “Social” Landscape…

By Bob Troia

For those of us working on the front-lines of social marketing, we’re often faced with the challenge of clients telling us they are looking for one thing (i.e., “We want to identify and directly engaging 5,000 of our most passionate customers by developing a customer community”), but measuring the success/value of such initiatives against another set of metrics (i.e., “Why has our community only gotten us 5,000 email address for our email database?!”). You can’t set out to implement a loyalty/CRM initiative, then hold the results against media-centric metrics. Everything may be “social”, but it’s not all “media”!

(click the image for an easier-to-read version. Note that this a ‘living’ chart that I have been soliciting feedback/input on – if you have any suggestions/additions/changes, just post a comment below or at the SlideShare page!)

I’ve already noted how social media is not the same as Word of Mouth. And as the social landscape broadens, it’s simply causing more confusion as the term “social” gets slapped on just about anything to make it sound cool and relevant.

Above is a chart I’ve been working on that tries to illustrate the “social” landscape in terms of tactics and goals. You should be able to take any social touchpoint/tactic/business model (brand community, Twitter profile, blogger outreach, CGM sweepstakes) and plot them on this chart.

Essentially, this chart segments the social landscape into four quadrants… as a function of:

  • CRM (social CRM or sCRM)
  • Marketing (social MARKETING)
  • PR (social PR)
  • Media (social MEDIA)

The horizontal axis represents “owned” social channels (that you own/control) versus “leased” ones (i.e., paying a company for access to their network of consumers willing to try and/or talk about your product). The “partially owned” area represents social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook where yes, you can establish a brand presence but you don’t own any underlying data and are at the whim of the service provider in terms of metrics or even having your account suspended. The vertical axis represents the depth of engagement from very 1-to-1/personal to impersonal/3rd-person – i.e., “engagement” vs. “reach”:

Engagement Approach:

  • Organic
  • Builds over time / value over time increases
  • Owned conversations (genuine conversations by actual customers)
  • 1-to-1 relationship development
  • CRM/loyalty model
  • Examples: Customer communities, Consumer Panels
Reach Approach:

  • Amplified
  • Short-lived / reaches peak quickly then falls off
  • “Borrowed” conversations (leasing access to a network of consumers)
  • Viral / impersonal
  • Media model
  • Examples: Product trial giveaways, UGC Contests, Pay-per-post/conversation

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with leveraging the social web to facilitate high-impact, quick hit consumer promotions, but at the end of the day was your goal to “reach” 1,000,000 consumers with a message about your product, or simply “acquire” a 10,000 email addresses into your company’s email database? As the social landscape broadens, marketers need to ensure that their success metrics are in line with the tactics they are leveraging. And that unfortunately can’t happen until you have properly educated the folks holding the pursestrings.

  • http://www.brianvellmure.com Brian Vellmure


    The societal transformation happening is forcing a significant shift in the way that organizations are interacting with customers and prospects. The old concepts of direct marketing, while not obsolete, are less effective.

    One way monologues (virtual shouting) are giving way to a two way interactive dialogues where the customer has significant influence on the direction of the conversation.

    Social CRM encompasses all of the areas that you describe above and essentially is the strategy by which organizations need to adjust to their business model to adapt to the social customer.

    A few resources:

    (1) CRM at the Speed of Light, 4th edition by Paul Greenberg which is the bible on Social CRM

    (2) A three post series by me: The 5 Stages of Customer Acquisition for the Social Business

    Best regards,

  • vanessaschultz

    Good Social Networking Advice Article http://newsletters.loungelizard.com/june2009_libation/