Facebook Deals and eCRM

Facebook Deals could be revolutionary, although the idea is an old one. In fact, it’s more or less exactly what the Tom Cruise film Minority Report imagined – proximity recognition. In the film, our hero’s eyes get scanned and every poster he passes makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Facebook Deals is slightly more elective that that, and I believe there’s a huge opportunity for brands who already do eCRM well.

When you log into Facebook on your mobile, and “check in” to your current location, the account shows you a list of local places, some of which will have offers. For exmple, you can check in to your local high street and see an offer from the local Starbucks offering you a free muffin if you buy a big coffee. Simple and neat.

Redeeming the offer by clicking on it (and showing the cashier) automatically updates your status with an ad to say you’ve done so. As a marketer you get someone who self-identifies as a customer telling likeminded friends about your brand.

One of the issues that marketers will have to grapple with is that of acceptability: will our customer’s friends feel irritated by the fact that what’s effectively an ad (“I’ve just checked into Starbucks for a free muffin”) appears in their friend feed? This will require testing to get to the bottom of it, but given the trend towards privacy-agnosticism I suspect it will turn out to be a non-problem.

In the immediate future, combining Facebook Deals with newly-possible Social CRM attribution techniques (see www.scrm.co.uk) you will be able to track customers in your email marketing database through to purchase and back, which means you can assign influence scores to specific segments. In turn this means you can target specific location-based offers based on what you already know about your customers. It’s potentially hugely powerful. Handled with sensitivity and intelligence, it will be game changing.