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What would you teach, what can we learn?

No matter how many years I have been out of school myself, mid-August always feels ‘academic’. Aside from the standard ‘ Oh, $h#T I slept through my final exam’ dream, it is a fun time of year. Often, I feel as though I need to run out and buy some back-to-school stuff. This year is a little different around my house. My oldest will embark on his college education, and my middle one is entering HS. As for me, I am lucky to be teaching again this fall, as I always learn more than the students. It has also been great to learn from the folks on #scrm, and while some friends jest and call me “prof” it is ‘tongue and cheek’, as we are all students, some simply admit it, and some do not.

Back to the simplistic question of the day: If you had to define SocialCRM to an incoming college freshman, what would you say? How about a high school student? What metaphor would you choose? I know that we have all seen the demographic profile of Twitter users, as well as the other social media channels – but what does it mean? Do you think that anything taught today (in the SocialCRM realm) will have any relevance in 5 years?

What I find really interesting is what we can learn. The way in which this demographic interacts with the world around them is certainly an early indication of what we will see in a few years. Example – texting, without a doubt lead by teenagers a few years back – and now we are all using it (come on, admit it). If you had a group of college students for a day, what would you want to know? Is it really the YouTube generation?

Don’t worry Glenn, I promise not to even mention technology until week 2!

Comments welcome, encouraged even!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Scott Lewis August 10, 2009, 7:34 PM

    Interesting turn at the end of the post. Flipped from “what would you teach to ___?” to “what would you want to learn from ____?”. Not sure if that was intentional but it fits.

    I think a key topic is what socialCRM and ever evolving social networking tools allow for and indeed require change to the foundation of customer relations, customer service, brand management, buyer experience, etc.

    Is mass communication dead and mass customized one to one and one to few the way forever more?

    Is socialCRM a means for finally actually managing (seems too strong, perhaps “participating in”) the relationship with the market, the prospects and the customers vs just managing demographics, contact and purchase history?

    When did we lose control of our own message and positioning and can we get it back? Should we even want to? Did we ever really have control or are we only now able to visualize what has always happened in the market’s own conversations about us?

    Not sure what we can assume that your audience already knows so a bit of baseline what is CRM, what is social media and what is socialCRM may be necessary before these bigger topics.

    For the high schoolers I might take a different approach to similar concepts with metaphor or examples from their world. They haven’t taken a marketing or communications course but they do use social media and they do care about reputation, the grapevine, being on top of the very latest and they experience marketing and CRM daily. They may not call these by name but they are very savvy and know when they’re being pitched. They also know that what’s hot last about a nano-second these days as once everyone has one or is talking about it, it is old. And that doesn’t take long at all.

    Teaching is learning and it is very satisfying. Have a great fall but don’t wish away the last of the summer to get there sooner.

  • Esteban Kolsky August 10, 2009, 9:44 PM

    Oh boy, are you going to be sorry you asked the question :)

    Here is my take, and you probably know what I am going to say. It is not about definitions, reinventions, or “new-new” things. Social CRM is about recognizing there is a massive paradigm shift in our society in the way consumers use and distribute knowledge and content. As an organization, you have to be aware of it and both listen for new knowledge and use it, as well as engage in the creation by joining the discussions. This newly created knowledge and content is going to be leveraged by consumers and organizations (potentially even your competitor) as members of a community. The model for the future of business is going to be an “ecosystem” (I hate the word though) of communities (users with users, organizations with organizations, hybrid mixes) interacting with each other and adding value to the creation of experiences, products, services, etc.

    The problem is that most organizations fail to understand is that this “new” model has no owners – you can sponsor a community by providing space and tools, but the results are not yours. They belong to the community. The value you create (knowledge and content) is both yours and the community. If you work well together, you can expect them to work with you as an organization and continue to create value. If you don’t work well together – might as well go back to creating your own personal KB and forget about the community-generated value.

    Bottom Line: Collaboration engenders value that you can use in your organization if you do a good job of nurturing and growing the community. that is what SCRM is all about.

    So,

  • mjayliebs August 10, 2009, 10:01 PM

    Scott and Esteban,

    Thank you both for your insights and comments!

    Scott, you hit a particularly interesting (sometimes sore) topic, which is that young students do not have much in the way of life experience to draw from, to really get it. I find myself going backwards as much as forwards (to try and find a life experience which they find relevant).

    Esteban, I would expect nothing less, my friend! Trying to explain how the future will revolve around ecosystems, due to a ‘paradigm shift’ (I have about as much love for that phrase as you do for ecosystem) – which correctly describes where we are going. My push is going to be focused on how working together they have a far greater chance of success than working as individuals.

    While we often accelerate students who show particular academic promise, the fact remains that the interpersonal skills take a hit. I am teaching a system design course and my hope is to introduce some of these topics, so that the process is personalized a bit.

    Thanks again, cheers!

    Mitch

  • Rokapchen August 10, 2009, 10:16 PM

    SocialCRM is a term that is relevant only among practitioners, not participants. They’re just having conversations. Let’s leave it at that.

  • Wim Rampen August 10, 2009, 10:36 PM

    Hi Mitch,

    Just one simple question was not possible I see? πŸ˜‰

    With regard to your first question (what would you tell them): Like Scott Lewis is saying: they know about Social Media, yet they might not know about the shift in empowerment (from a business perspective) it has brought, or will bring. If you want that to kick-in I think it is a good idea to start with a little historic perspective on CRM-thinking (yes NOT technology ;-). I personally would appreciate some background on Service Dominant Logic / Jobs & Outcomes too.. Broadens the perspective and will hopefully set-off thinking towards how Social Media and Social CRM can be used not only to collaborate, co-produce or co-develop, but also to co-create value.

    What I would want to learn: I’m very interested to learn how The Young Ones see Social CRM and Customer (Service) Experience Design fit together. Designing (or crafting as Esteban puts it) experiences is a hot topic. The thing with Social Media / Social CRM is that it will not allow companies to fully stage the Customer Experience (anymore). Businesses of tomorrow (and today) need to focus more on providing Personalized Experience (Design) platforms for their Customers. How do your students look at that? What are the great examples of Social CRM and Personalized Customer Experiences that they have embraced and why? How can other companies/industries benefit from that knowledge?

    I’m looking forward to the answers, or is there any chance I get an invite now to join the course for free πŸ˜‰ so I can get them first hand.

    Great questions and have fun teaching!