We now have a better name for VRM than VRM: customertech.
We wouldn’t have it without adtech (3+million results), martech (1.85m) , fintech (22+m) and regtech (.6m), all of which became hot stuff in the years since we started ProjectVRM in 2006. Thanks to their popularity, customertech makes full sense of what VRM has always been about.
The term came to us from Iain Henderson, a fellow board member of Customer Commons, in response to my request for help prepping for a talk I was about to give at the Martech conference in San Francisco last Thursday. Among other hunks of good advice, Iain wrote “martech needs customertech.”
That nailed it.
So I vetted customertech in my talk, and it took. The audience in the huge ballroom was attentive and responsive.
The talk wasn’t recorded, but @xBarryLevine in Martech Today wrote up a very nice report on it, titled MarTech Conference: Doc Searls previews ‘customer tech’:The marketing writer/researcher has helped set up a ‘Customer Commons’ to provide some of the automated ‘contracts’ between customers and brands.
One problem we’ve had with VRM as a label is an aversion by VRM developers to using it, even as they participate in VRM gatherings and participate in our mailing list (of about 600 members). It doesn’t matter why.
It does matter that martech likes customertech, and understands it instantly. In conversations afterwards, martech folk spoke about it knowingly, without ever having encountered it before. It was like, “Of course, customertech: tech the customer has.”
I highly recommend to VRM developers that they take to it as well. I can’t think of anything that will help the cause more.
The word alone should also suggest a symbol or an illustration better than VRM ever did.
This doesn’t mean, by the way, that we are retiring VRM, since Vendor Relationship Management earned its Wikipedia entry (at that link), and is one of the most important things customertech can do.
Look at it this way: VRM is one of the many things customertech can do.
Meanwhile, a hat tip to Hugh MacLeod of Gapingvoid for the image above. He drew it for a project we both worked on, way back in ’04.