Ad Maiora

Facebook is (almost) dead. Social media marketing is dead. Social CRM is dead. Social Business has failed.

All of this while half of the organizations never heard about Enterprise 2.0 / Social CRM / Social Business and the other half is still wondering how to realize any business gain from it:

  • Enterprise 2.0 failed to meet expectations. Altimeter recently discovered that the impact ESNs have on the organization is stil limited (between 1.63 and 2.91 on a scale from 1 to 4), 2/3 of budgets don’t exceed $100K, 61% of organizations have not reached maturity and 69% are not good at measuring results
  • Social CRM is missing the point. According to Awareness, only 16% of respondents are currently using Social CRM, less than 20% of the companies are handling at least 1/4 of customer service issues on social media and listening to IBM there is an immense perception gap between what customers want and what brands think they want
  • Social Media Marketing is going nowhere. Again from Awareness, the majority is not measuring social media initiatives (53%), measuring ROI is challenge number one (57%), increasing the number of fans (66%) and the amount of content posted (56%) is where money is spent
  • Social Business remains just an idea. How many efforts do know of able to strategically integrate internal and external communities while fundamentally transforming the DNA of the organization? Yep, I guessed so. Want another proof? Even in front of a $1300B potential, McKinsey says that no more than the 3% already achieved substantial benefits across all the stakeholders (employees, customers, partners) and according to MIT / Deloitte only 18% considers Social Business important for the organization.

Can’t you see anything wrong with the statements above? Is the wheel spinning too fast or are we looking at it with broken lens?

The fascinating thing is that we moved to the Through of Disillusionment without ever fully experiencing the Peak of Inflated Expectations given that most executives have yet to understand the meaning of this social revolution while pundits are ringing the bell of a next new thing.

As Sameer Patel said, the first inning of Social is over. To me it’s clear why:

  • Social has never been meaningful. Preaching collaboration, fraternizing through online communities, sharing horizontally and without a purpose is not the priority of any executive. There is no ROI until we make the case of how collaboration can improve what organizations are already designed to do. A case made in business language not community manager’s one.
  • Social has never been connected to business processes. No context, no adoption and measurability, no value
  • Social has never been embedded into the flow. Adding wikis and blogs on top of what people do means wasting time and money in an already gloomy economic climate. Until social won’t just become plain business, employees won’t flock to social.
  • Social is but a piece. Quite always a minor one. Customers are already expecting a consistent, integrated, exceptional cross-channel online and offline experience. Social is adding further complexity and fragmentation
  • Organizations are not compatible with social. Command & control, competitive culture, lack of transparency, risk aversion, no meritocracy are the end of any collaborative effort. If you cannot address culture, no cannot deliver value
  • Social is a mean, not an end. Social whatever is not and won’t ever be a goal in itself. Organizations won’t be interested in social until we can prove how social will fit into their priorities. I have never seen this step accomplished.
  • Social is meant for scalable learning not scalable interaction. There’s nothing you can learn by limiting yourself at handling every customer interaction separately. On the contrary an exponential amount of interactions means an immense opportunity to constantly refine your products, services and internal processes at scale
  • Existing actors are not equipped for transforming organizations. Agencies only get campaigns. Software vendors only get licenses. Most consulting companies only get top-down deployments. Smaller actors are not able to scale. What we need instead is winning soul and mind of employees, customers and partners at the enterprise level. It is a new transformational battle aimed not only to improve the business but also the lives of those inside it. You cannot engage people without empowering them and making them the owners of the game. You cannot engage the business without speaking its language.

Is this the end of social? Nope. Social is a paradigm shift and any meaningful change takes time. Consolidation is finally here to wash away the hype of the first inning. Execution, scalability, integration, business value will take its place becoming the new norm.

We can call it Social Media Marketing, Social CRM, Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business. Nonetheless we’ll be still missing the point until the broader picture will come together by connecting social to the digital landscape and embedding digital into the real business realm.

After 5 years, November 23th will be my last day in Open Knowledge. It’s to bring this vision to reality that I’ll start a new adventure.

Stay tuned!

Emanuele Quintarelli

Social media enthusiast and Social Business Leader in EY. Research, reports and reflections about the introduction of web 2.0 inside the enterprise.

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  • jonhusband

    I think this is a very clear and strong post, and I agree with the points you make. Some of the key reasons why I’ve stayed on the sidelines for much of the past several years.

    • Jon, thanks for the nice comment. Both sides are understandable but I’ve always preferred fighting the fight 🙂

  • jonhusband

    most executives have yet to understand the meaning of this social revolution while pundits are ringing the bell of a next new thing.</i? Truer words would be difficult to find.

  • Thanks for this, Emanuele. Jon and I spent a considerable amount of time yesterday discussing these very issues. I find it interesting that Sameer suggests (back in February – I forgot I read that post back then) the first inning of “social in the enterprise” is over. Given Euan’s long-held assertion that a real transformation will take around 50 years, and with eight innings to go, the timing seems to track rather nicely.

    Though I didn’t respond on the CMYTBC page, I want to wish you the best in whatever direction you end up taking. I look forward to hearing about, learning from, and maybe even participating in whatever it might be.

    Buona fortuna!

    • Thank you for the comment and for the wishes, Rick. Unfortunately I have to agree with Euan but this doesn’t mean we have to wait for it to happen :).

      I will share here again both what will happen next and why I consider it a new answer to the challenges we are all facing.


  • Emanuele, top post sir. I think you are right on the money with many of your points here.

    We’re starting to see the real challenges ahead of us, the low-hanging fruit has been harvested, now comes the real work of rewiring organisations to enable them to thrive in the social, connected economy.

    I’ve been musing over this a fair bit of late, somehow I must try and get some of that thinking down on paper!

    Good luck with whatever you have ahead of you, looking forward to hearing all about it.