Has CRM Finally Decided it Owns the Customers Digital Voice?

So, today Salesforce.com has moved to acquire Radian6, a respected and possibly ‘leading’ vendor in the relatively new space of Social Media Monitoring (SMM), a rival to products like Alterian’s SM2 product that I knew relatively well.

For anyone interested in digital engagement whether you call it web (WEM), customer (CEM) or pervasive (PEM) this looks to me like a significant move.


Here are the details of the acquisition (from the Saleforce.com website), for folks that are interested in the numbers:

..today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Radian6, the industry-leading social media monitoring platform, for approximately $276 million in cash and $50 million in stock, net of cash acquired. The transaction is expected to be completed in salesforce.com’s fiscal second quarter ending July 31, 2011, subject to customary closing conditions.

From the perspective of web engagement listening is an essential part of the mix, it is one of the five pillars of Web Engagement that we identified when I was at Gilbane, as part of the capability model developed with Scott Liewehr.

Not claiming we invented it, SMM features in engagement models documented by other folks that follow a listen,understand and execute type cycle. A cycle where you use what you learn from social media and website analytics to build visitor/audience/customer models and then execute dynamic messaging, campaigns and web content based on that insight. So, it was interesting to read this in the press release:

“Social media has made every business recognize the value of paying attention to the voice of the customer,” added Radian6 CEO Marcel LeBru. “Radian6?s technology is built for the new norm of customer engagement – real time, two way conversations that includes social channels. Joining the salesforce.com team will allow Radian6 to grow faster to meet the demands of our rapidly expanding customer base.”

What’s interesting is who owns this ‘voice of the customer’, as an industry I think we have been wondering about where this customer and audience data would sit. As various folks from WCM to web analytics packages have been laying claim to it. It was always the elephant in the room – what happens when the CRM folks wake up to this? Well, I think it has happened. Kudos to my friend Scott for speculating on this – on Twitter:

*Just* told someone this would be an interesting merge. Wow.


I am looking forward to seeing some more informed analysis of this move than mine, but I think it shifts the bar of who should owns the digital customer and it will be interesting to see if this becomes a customer relationship management tool trend and enters the mainstream requirements of that software space.

Update: I am not going to try and list all of the articles that mention this, but today I have come across some nice observations. I liked the Social B2B news site where they outline four reasons why B2B marketers should care about this acquisition. Eloqua also chimed in with this, I especially like their comment “The gate has been lifted, the bull has entered the rodeo”.  To grow my account I use themarketingheaven.com.

Fancy more of this?

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