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Profitable Combination: Leveraging Customer Managed Relationships with Integrated Marketing

Leveraging customer managed relationships with integrated marketing can be a profitable combination, as strategies like target marketing and market segmentation are utilized. Marketers are finding that they are using data in their CRMs (customer relationship management databases) to help them market to selected customer segments. Yet the CRM (customer relationship management) has morphed into a CMR (customer managed relationships), giving customers increasing control, which in turn has led to a trend of customers collaborating through social media in these relationships.
Customer Managed Relationships
Driven to the web by print, direct mail, radio, TV or outdoor media consumers are using mobile, computer and even interactive TV screens to communicate their thoughts and needs to the world. It’s apparent that integrated media has made this close collaboration with customers and prospects possible and interactive.

Social media has made a huge impact on how companies and brands are interacting with their customers and giving their marketing campaigns flexibility and spontaneity. While social media allows the spontaneity, it often lacks the quantifiable aspect that a controlled campaign supplies through feedback and back-end tracking. Twitter is one known channel that customers have effectively used to give immediate feedback on a campaign, brand experience or share new ideas.

But what if you are just looking for ideas and willing to take a risk?

50/50 Chance For Ford Motor Company – Could this be a Social Media Experiment Gone Bad?

Ford Motor Company decided to go head-to-head with their customers and prospects by giving away 100 Ford Fiestas in return for customer feedback via social media ~ good or bad ~ for 6 months! Talk about taking a risk? This could have easily been a social media experience gone bad.

Ford Social

The provisions included customers blogging for 6 months about their experiences. Through this feedback, Ford hopes to learn how to best approach prospects for the new Ford Fiestas, in addition to possible product modifications. As risky of a proposition this may seem, it will supply Ford with exactly what is working and what’s not, what is important to Ford owners and potential owners and what is not.

Priceless feedback like this is amazing market research. With the blogs being open for the world to see, it could come at a hefty price for Ford if this social media experiment backfires. It’s definitely a 50/50 chance. If the customers give good feedback then it could be invaluable word of mouth; if bad feedback, it could turn into a viral spiral of bad publicity for a new product launch, causing real damage to Ford’s brand.

But Scott Monty must feel pretty confident about their brand and the Fiesta product to give it a go, making this a completely transparent social media experience. If good feedback then it could be invaluable word of mouth, if bad news it could go viral in a heartbeat and do real damage to Ford’s brand.

Scott Monty on Twitter

And, given the fact Ford just had a record breaking 2011, reporting their best annual earnings since 1998, making it the 2nd most profitable year in the company’s 109-year history, this definitely seems like a safe bet.

[Not to mention, Scott Monty's no amateur at Social Media ~ he just came in at #89 on Top 100 Influencers on Social Media - Congratulations Scott!]

Top 100 Influencers in Social MediaScott Monty - Top 100 Influencers on Social Media

Ford has started a conversation through integrated marketing that could begin to change the way we think of advertising and brand management. By leveraging its customer managed relationships, Ford is able to gain valuable insight on market research and future product initiatives.

Integrated marketing, risk taking and having that conversation with customers, and most of all but most of all listening to our customers seems to be the way of the future. Looks targeted marketing and customer managed relationships are here to stay and integrated marketing might just be the way to profit from them.

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