Sprinklr’s Get Satisfaction Acquisition (Almost) Points To The Next Generation Marketing Platform

I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the marketing platform of the future. Today’s marketing platforms, such as marketing automation, web content management and social media, have become table stakes infrastructure for modern marketing organizations. Unfortunately, they don’t yet give marketers the ability to holistically manage the customer experience in a way that is most beneficial to those customers.

That’s why this morning I was curious to read that Sprinklr, a social technology company that just last week raised $46 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion, acquired online customer community platform Get Satisfaction. I use the term ‘curious’ because, in reality, this acquisition isn’t that surprising.  The social web, advocacy and community are in fact one integrated market, representing the vanguard of marketing practice.  Sprinklr’s acquisition hints at what this integrated platform could look like.

Vector flat customer experience conceptsInfluitive was founded on this vision. In order to provide customers with the experience they desire, companies need to see communities, social engagement and advocacy as a unified strategy. This strategy must be powered by a vertically-integrated platform that helps marketers engage and respond to a wide range of audiences that include customers, employees and partners. Our approach has been to develop this suite organically, because deep integration between these technologies is so important.  Buyers want to connect with their peers in authentic conversations that help them succeed personally and professionally, not just receive warmed-over marketing content or technical support. That’s exactly what integrated advocacy, community and social provides.

We’re already delivering on this vision for more than 200 leading B2B companies of every size, such as Acquia, DocuSign, Hootsuite, InsightSquared, Marketo, Monetate and Optimizely. For example, cloud-based retail business management software Brightpearl is today engaging with customers in new and innovative ways in its Commerce Acceleration Zone program, which seamlessly integrates passionate advocates with a broader community of retail management professionals on the social web. “Today, hundreds of Brightpearl customers interact in their community to connect with peers and learn how to grow their retail businesses,” said James Scott, President, Brightpearl Inc. “That’s the kind of experience our customers want us to deliver and Influitive’s unique integration of advocacy, social and community helps us get there.”

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Whether Sprinklr’s approach of rolling up disparate technologies to develop this platform will work remains to be seen. The company has raised a lot of attention recently for a spree of acquisitions, which now includes Get Satisfaction. Now comes the hard part of integrating them to meet the needs of customers.  In Sprinklr’s announcement today, they refer to the Get Satisfaction acquisition as filling a much-needed gap with support communities.

But as CMOs build out the ideal customer experience, are support forums what they are seeking in a community?  I strongly believe that the answer is no. B2B CMOs tell me they are not excited by support portals. What really gets them fired up is turning customers into advocates and amplifying the voices of those advocates across the social web. They want to create a delightful, consistent customer experience — especially if that experience involves connecting their advocates with buyers on the path to purchase, providing much-needed social proof.

That’s why so many marketers have been disappointed over and over again when their communities devolve into technical support portals or fail entirely. New research by Demand Metric, scheduled to be released later this month, found that while 63% of organizations have communities, only one third of B2B marketers report that their communities are meeting most or all of their expectations. The result is that 70% of communities are destined to fail, according to Gartner.

If that’s the case, why are non-vendor communities like Quora, StackOverflow or Spiceworks so successful? Their community members are passionate about the ideas, people and opportunities they can find there. They aren’t just frustrated customers seeking technical support solutions. They are advocates — passionate individuals yearning to connect with peers in order to network, learn, collaborate and exchange ideas. They want to be rewarded and recognized for participation. They seek career opportunities, enhanced reputation and greater knowledge. Most importantly, these communities are woven organically into the fabric of the social web.

Similarly, the marketing platform of tomorrow must allow marketers to harness the power of a vocal majority who are willing to do whatever it takes to support brands they love across the social web with just a simple ask. Get Satisfaction created a solid tech support product that has allowed companies to start thinking about the holistic customer experience they really want to provide in the future. Now it’s time to deliver on that experience with an integrated platform that weaves the social web, advocacy and community together seamlessly, providing the best possible experience for customers everywhere.

eBook_Manifesto_Cover (1)Join the community marketing revolution

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