I’m on the road with clients in the final stretches of the year, working on 2011 strategies and investments and technology selection. Another day, another city, another delay – but it is fantastic being in work environments observing how workers do their jobs and listening to how customers interact. And once in a while you hear a new thought. Here is one I just went through with a client: in the not-to-distant future, they may use the customer’s Social Graph to determine the customer strategy, more than they will use current and lifetime value or share of wallet.
Could ‘well connected’ be the new ‘rich?’ The client was modelling their findings that, if they were able to graph the customer’s set of connections, and then track the purchases of those connections, and the delta change of those connections, then they could determine customer ‘value’ as a function of the degree to which they impacted sales.
So: are you ready to shift your emphasis just a tiny bit, away from the high-roller who spends a lot but brings no one else in their wake, and over to the lower-spender who is attached to a bevy of buyers? This would take careful measurement, plotting, modelling, and business rules – and can it actually be done? Once the social graph is in place, would you be sure of the accuracy of the weightings of each ‘node’ or ‘customer’ to the extent that you would be sure that you knew who was influencing whom?
Regardless of how this plays out, it does demonstrate that we are on the cusp of a new way of thinking about business relationships and the design of customer processes.
This social network thing – you just never know where it is going next.