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I suggest to extend vtiger with Social Network Analysis (SNA) capacities. If classic marketing is based on item based sociology defining e.g groups of potential customers by certain criterias – like e.g. age, income or ZIP-Code – SNA refers to a slightly different concept. And vtiger could easily make use of it. (Update 2011-10-07: My module “Relations” has been released! Click here for a detailed description and download.)
SNA emphasizes the importance of ties between people determining their overall behavior. SNA shows the relevance of ties concerning e.g. personal recommendations or the diffusion of knowlegde about technologies, products, services and so on. In short: SNA shows among other things a way to expand the coverage of campaigns by adressing multipliers that interact in several relevant groups due to their overlapping membership.
To address multipliers or to make use of personal relations e.g. by viral marketing or „network marketing“, we have to be aware of information that identifies potential multipliers or personal networks of certain relevance for our issues. I guess here we need support by CRM.
The most simple approach to extend vtiger in this manner will be the ability to match contacts to multiple accounts. Here is an example: John Doe may be vice president in case of account 1 and a board member in case of his membership of account 2. If we would like to adress companies like account 2 only, we will not be aware of the fact that our contact John Doe will take us there if we don’t make use of according information that we gather during our communication with John Doe related to account 1.
Therefore, I believe that vtiger could be rather simply extended with more capacities to take note of ties of our contacts which will be of high value for marketing and sales activities. The ability to match contacts to multiple accounts would just be a first step. Working with SNA-extended vtiger, it should be possible to counter check the influence of certain multipliers by a secondary communication with their audience. In effect, we could evaluate our knowledge about specific stakeholders and their influence and we could design multi channel communication strategies using multiple multipliers covering one and the same audience. And there is even more to come. With simple sociometric tools, we will be able to rate multipliers or to identify structural holes in our markets.
Posted first at http://forums.vtiger.com/viewtopic.php?p=71148
PS: If you know any software that offers already the intended functionality mentioned above, please drop me a line.