Social CRM: When Registration Pages Go Extinct

This post is a bit dense, I’m not writing for my general business audience, but for those that really are advanced social technology thinkers. If you’re seeking starter info, read my FAQs.

I’m working on a report called the “Future of the Social Web” and I interviewed quite a few companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Lotus, RWW, Federated Media, Plaxo, Dell, Cisco EOS, Flock, Meebo, Gigya, Intel, Razorfish, Six Apart, and a bunch more to find out the trends in this industry. There’s probably less than 10 people in the world that have access to all these teams, executives and thought leaders, and I’m taking advantage of it. I just met with Appirio, which is a San Mateo company that birthed out of the SalesForce incubation process and I think they’re one of the first generation vendors that’s connecting social networks to CRM systems. They’re not alone, see the other apps in SalesForce AppXchange that connect with Facebook. Update: Rapleaf is in this space, I need to meet with them soon.

[Marketers Use Registration Forms For Only Two Reasons: 1) To Be Able To Bug People 2) To Be Able Bug Them More Effectively]

Most marketers don’t know why they want prospects to fill out registration pages, they’ve been doing it for so long, they’ve forgotten why. I’ll remind you, there’s only two reasons: 1) To get their contact information so they can bug them. 2) To get demographic and other data so they can bug them more effectively (target marketing). That’s it.

One of the calls I’m making in my report is that registration pages go away. Why? CRM systems and Social Networks will start to connect, and share information in a two way manner. Of course, the trick is to make it all opt in so the user community can control what part of their information can be shared and with who. Appirio does just that, they have built a Facebook application that can be rebranded for a marketing campaign, it can then be used to share information, recommend information to peers, and used for other purposes such as recruiting, word of mouth, and other typical social network activities. As information gets shared, it can be passed to a landing page where users can submit information in a web form –then passed over to SalesForce.

[The Future Of The Social Web Makes Registration Pages Extinct]

While they haven’t built out a system that can remove registration pages all together, I know the second generation Social CRM systems will be able to do this. How? A technology will emerge that will allow users to pass only as much of their social networking profile information as they want over to a CRM system, how much? It’s up to the user. A new social contract will appear that will encourage users to give as much information as t hey want, and in return the brand will reciprocate. The more information the user gets gives, the more the brand will give back in return, I call this a “Social web contract”. Since the data will come from the profile information within a social network, there won’t be a need to have a collection web form, instead information will be passed through connective tissues.

Obviously this flips a marketers world upside down as they are ultimately measured in most cases on generating leads and conversions, there’s a pretty radical mental shift that will need to take place, I’ll have to talk about this later. Oh, and I’ll have to tell you what this means to email marketing –that’s going to change too.

That’s all I can explain right now, as I’m still putting together dozens of interviews and over 20 pages of notes, I gotta get a draft to Josh Bernoff, my rather tough editor. Just remember, the power has shifted to the community, so the tools, approach, and ideology has to meet the needs of the users.

If you’re involved with connecting social networks and CRM systems, I want to talk. Also, Appirio needs marketing agencies to be truly successful, you may want to contact them, or just email me and I’ll connect you.

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  • I’m certainly not going to claim to be anything close to a social media expert – but I am a marketer. The concept of give and take has always been the strongest one for engaging a customer. Marketers that collect information to “bug”, if that is really their motivation, are simply lazy or failed marketers.

    The question or challenge as a marketer is always about value. About “gives” and “gets”. My philosophy has always been to offer value to the person that fills out that registration form, or sends in that email question. And the “value” that I offer should also be lined up with the actual target audience that I reach.

    There may be gobs of folks that I simply don’t care to have contact me or to fill out a registration form…but I’d better not miss the ones I DO want.

    In my view the registration form, in whatever form, is part of your path towards relationship building with a potential customer. And if you can start off by offering them value that exceeds the demands or “risk” of them providing you with some personal information then that is a good place to start.

    It is then always your responsibility to nurture that relationship and earn the trust of the person who put some of their trust in you. It’s also your responsibility to let them know if, perhaps, there is nothing more for them in investing further in you by being very clear about what you can offer, solve and provide. I tell you, there is a lot of power in letting the prospect decided to continue the relationship.

    In any event, the concept of “gives” and “gets” won’t go away and ultimately your ability as a marketing to manager your leads relates quite closely to the value you bring and the way you manage the relationship. The format or form of the “registration page” is really less releveant in the entire equation as “value” has to exist as a primiary placeholder. But certainly this post brings up some good thinking in how we can be innovative in our thinking around them.

    – Mitch

  • Hey Jeremiah,

    Very interesting insights here. I’ve been currently tased with amalgamating our social media channels with our CRM. As you iterated in your post, scalability is a major tenet for marketers. I was wondering if you’ve come across any B2B organization that has been successful deriving business from social media. If you have a product, let’s say you have a SaaS solution that will help companies do market research on the fly, how would you get that across these engagement platforms in a meangingful way?

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