Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Social Graph

The Social Graph could completely change analytical CRM in the future. Brad Fitzpatrick gives a good outline what the Social Graph is and why it adds value to users.

The OpenID project and Google's Social Graph API may be delivering the right tools to implement a working social graph across various web 2.0 platforms. If the critical mass is passed, no platform will be able to not open their APIs to connect to such a Social Graph.

As soon as this happens, companies will have to include this data in their business processes to make sure...
  • They address the right people with the right product offers
  • Customers are able to recommend the company or products
  • The buying experience is unique and exceptional
  • New and promising leads will be addressed
  • Customer support is leveraging the user community (save cost)
  • Feedback is possible and heard
Additionally it might be a good idea for businesses to play an active role in communities and the social graph to increase visibility and create a personal user experience. If I add a company or a brand to my list of friends, it shows my loyalty as a customer and makes this position public to my other contacts and friends. This is basically the same thing as if I am chatting with a friend and tell him how much I love my iPhone, but it's not only one person - it's a full community (across platforms) that can see my favorite mobile phone, including the vendor itself (-> cross-sell + up-sell opportunities).

As soon as the Social Graph gets usable (barriers are high in the web 2.0 world!) it will tear down the walls between the different platforms and web 2.0 communities and dramatically widen the horizon for each user. It will allow smaller niche platforms to operate with less user numbers - as long as the member can access friends in other platforms without registering twice...

Technically the Social Graph is ready to go (maybe the Semantic Web will get reality as well some day?). Google's initiative to create a standard API will probably help to make it usable also in a CRM 2.0 context to find new leads, help create a unique customer experience, initiate viral marketing (or however you want to call that) and build a community of users that help define, build and enhance new products.

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