The marketing predictions for 2012 of the research firm Gartner highlight in particular social CRM's further acceleration of software as a service (SaaS) and larger rationalization of integrated marketing management (IMM).

Marketing and IT leaders should use these predictions to drive their marketing strategies and prioritize technology investment decisions.


Key findings of Gartner's research:
  • Over 80% of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500 are present on Facebook; however, less than 20% are actively engaging with customers;
  • With some marketing organizations having 50 or more applications used globally, consolidation and integration of marketing applications is becoming a high priority;
  • By 2014, 70% of B2B companies with indirect sales channels, agents or brokers will have implemented SaaS or hosted CRM/partner relationship management (PRM) to support lead management, opportunity management and social CRM, up from 15% today.


  • Marketing departments must shift their efforts in Facebook marketing from "brochureware" and email sign-up widgets to a two-way interaction between company and customers;
  • A gradual approach to managing a marketing portfolio should be applied by consolidating systems of record, looking for commoditized functionality from your larger technology providers and using best-of-breed vendors for areas of true differentiation and innovation;
  • Companies with internally developed lead management applications should compare the cost of internal application support and on-going feature enhancements with the current field of SaaS CRM available on the market.

With Facebook's estimate of over 800 million active users and 500 million active each day, it is a significant source of traffic, with the potential for engagement to drive measurable business benefits, such as conversion rates for B2C and B2B organizations. However, a two-way engagement with active company participants is needed for marketers to successfully monitor, track and respond to prospects and customers, and to recognize key areas, such as intent to purchase for product and service recommendations, feedback for product development teams and qualified leads to sales teams.

Most marketing organizations in particular need to take a daily, active role on Facebook for facilitating CRM. Even beyond Fortune 500 companies, many Gartner clients have already set up a Facebook page, but do not engage with customers on a regular basis. With no real, established mutual purpose it will be nearly impossible for companies to determine their effectiveness on Facebook in such highly sought after quantifiable metrics, such as ROI, campaign conversion rates, lead-to-sales time, call deflection cost-savings, cross-sell, upsell, etc.

Strategic planning assumptions

  • By the end of 2012, over 60% of Fortune 500 companies will actively be engaging customers with Facebook marketing, up from 20% today;
  • By 2014, over 40% of large complex marketing organizations will have developed a pace layered application approach to integrated marketing;
  • By 2014, 40% of companies using licensed or internally developed PRM applications will have migrated to SaaS PRM;
  • By 2014, customer service, Web analytics, content management and social CRM vendors will take more than 40% of the market share for campaign management.

Marketing strategies, processes and technologies have been evolving at an increasingly accelerated pace. Customers, particularly the digital customer, have been the main driver, forcing these major changes onto marketing organizations. Thus, marketers will need to move quickly to adapt, differentiate and innovate if they are to be successful. (Source: Gartner)

By MediaBUZZ