Is “Audience” a relevant term in the context of Social CRM?

In general by satya

I have not yet cross posted between the NextPrinciples blog and here but I feel strongly enough about this topic to start the cross pollination :)

Over the past few days, I have heard the word “audience” mentioned more than once in the context of Social CRM .. as in “audience marketing”, “audience profiles” etc.

This makes me squirm. Maybe it’s just me but this reminds me of the days of “traditional” CRM when it was assumed that the customers are a quiet, compliant lot waiting to hear brand/product messages being hurled at them by the vendors.

Isn’t social CRM supposed to describe a scenario where all of that has been turned on its head? Customers choose to begin conversations when they want, with whom they want. To take one part of Paul Greenberg’s definition of #scrm: “It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.”

To me, this definitely does not sound like a group of people waiting in delightful anticipation for the next tweet or post from the vendor. So, why do we continue to use the word “audience” in this context? Old habits refusing to die? The obstinate belief by marketers that they know better than those whose dollars they yearn?

I could continue to rant on this and nitpick the topic to death but I need to head to my TV and become part of the “audience” for the Euro 2012 England/Italy match. Until next time…