In my two previous posts, I briefly examined Social MDM – the integration of social media data into master data management (MDM) – including its three biggest challenges (Identity, Relevancy, and Privacy) and its perceived customer value proposition. In this post, I highlight a few of the excellent points made in the comments my previous posts received.
B2B versus B2C
Henrik Liliendahl Sørensen commented that although”B2C gets most of the talk these days, my feeling is that B2B and the relevant social networks for that will produce the most business cases for Social MDM in the near future, since traditional external sources for business contacts usually applied to business directories have had major data quality issues with completeness, timeliness and other data quality dimensions. LinkedIn (as well as Xing and Viadeo) offers best of breed information about contacts within business entities, making the information you find on LinkedIn much better aligned with the real world.”
I agree with Henrik that B2B will produce the most business cases for Social MDM. B2C is where, according to Gartner Research, ‚”much social media analysis will be at the aggregate trend level,” especially for sentiment analysis, which is an example of where Social MDM is rendered moot from my perspective, because no identity is established between the aggregate sentiment data and the customer master data, and its link to the product master data doesn’t really seem, to me at least, to need to be called Social Product MDM or even managed within the context of a MDM program (i.e., marketing has always performed marketplace analysis, so even though word of mouth has become word of data, why do we need to include this within the scope of MDM initiatives?).
I think that most of the B2C business cases (where individual customers are identified) for Social MDM are actually going to cause data privacy to become an even more important, and hotly debated, issue than it already is.
Sacrificing Privacy for Personalization
Jean-Michel Franco commented that “the web is moving towards conversations and personalization, and this makes the case for identity management as a core element of digital marketing. For example, when I connect to Amazon.com, the first thing I see is ‘Hello, Mr. Franco,’ and the fact that I’m recognized provides some benefits, both for the customer and the retailer. This opens a lot of use cases that mix interactions and transactions, including for customer service. Using social sign-ons as a way to manage personalized online interactions is a good solution, but this can be a double-edged sword depending on the use case. For example, I’m somewhat happy that Amazon makes recommendations when I need to find a gift for my daughter. But I’m annoyed when I receive emails suggesting I buy the books that correspond to the keywords she used while searching the web on my iPad. In the latter case, this makes me nervous because not only is this unsolicited, like spam, but also very intrusive and irrespective of privacy. By doing such things, I feel that Amazon is hurting itself because it is diminishing the trust I have with them as a customer.”
I agree with Jean-Michel, but a distinction I noted was that unlike Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, Amazon actually has customers and not just users. For the most part, companies like Google don’t care about customers in the MDM sense (I call this the Master Data Management Magic Trick), which makes identity management less important to them, because their primary revenue model is based on selling advertising by anonymizing and aggregating their users’ demographic data. Personalization to Google is making sure that you as a user (not a customer) are assigned to the right demographic buckets (combined with, as in Jean-Michel’s Amazon example, keyword matching while using a Google service such as Gmail), so that you are targeted with relevant ads paid for by Google’s real customers – the companies buying advertising.
A personalized customer experience (i.e., the “market of one” buzz-phrase of digital marketing) often comes at the expense of sacrificing privacy, since in order to be truly personalized, you have to be comfortable with sharing a lot of your personal data.
Accentuating the Positives of Social MDM
Shelly Lucas of Dun & Bradstreet commented that “social data privacy is a valid and very real concern, and your suggestion of requiring customers to opt in when sharing social information sounds like a viable solution. When would I share my social profile with a brand? If I expect to receive relevant content or VIP access to something that matters to me. What makes social media data gold to sales, marketing, and customer service professionals is the ability to enrich CRM profiles so that they have a good idea what customers/prospects/influencers care about. Ideally, this data wouldn’t be used to blast product-centric promotions, but to personalize content according to the preferences of the person receiving it. This includes customer service; I can testify to the fact that more and more customers use social media to obtain assistance or receive answers from vendors, and their expectations for social customer service are climbing. I’d be willing to bet that some customers would share their social data if it would grant them VIP customer service.”
Shelly also listed a few other motivations for sharing social profiles with businesses:
- Affiliation – Connecting with a company whose values mirror your own
- Helping others – Sharing expertise, solving problems
- Product involvement – Shaping product development
- Online community participation – Discussion forums, customer peer support
Is this the social shape of things to come?
Via Twitter, Axel Troike shared a link to the Anne Kadet SmartMoney article Mortgage Rates Reliant on Facebook Pals?, which examines a possible future where the social media influence of customers factors into their mortgage rates by assuming that social-media-savvy customers are a better lending risk because thousands of followers trust their judgment, which also makes them valuable customers because if they are happy with a service, they tweet about it.
What Say You?
What are your opinions about the challenges and opportunities associated with Social MDM? Are there other aspects of Social MDM that haven’t been mentioned in this series of posts and comments? Please join the discussion by posting a comment below.