By Mike Stiles on Jul 19, 2013
With the migration nearly complete from legacy Involver apps to the Oracle Social Relationship Management platform, we thought this would be a good time to hear from Mr. Involver himself, Rahim Fazal, to both commemorate Involver’s incredible accomplishments and to celebrate the powerful modern marketing capabilities now possible with Oracle’s integrated marketing.
Oracle has nearly finalized the sun-setting of the legacy Involver free applications package. Why? Most notably, because in the last five years, the market has matured and so have the needs of our customers.
Pre-Engagement Era (the Gold Rush of 2009)
Early 2009 was an explosive time for the social marketing world and, in turn, my company Involver. People all over the world were signing up for Facebook at a rate that tripled the size of the user-base in just twelve months. Brands naturally followed suit by launching company fan pages because as any good brand knows, you want to be where the people are.
Involver, which at the time was a ten-person startup in San Francisco, recognized a glaring gap in the arsenal of social marketers. Sure it was easy enough to set up a fan page, but once activated, there really wasn’t a lot for users to do there. To us, these pages looked like blank canvases. So we decided to build a suite of applications for marketers to add richer content to their pages, like YouTube, Twitter and blog posts, or interactive widgets like polls or surveys.
Borrowing from one of our friends and advisers, Ian Schafer, we too believed brands shouldn’t “advertise” to their customers, they should give their fans engaging tools that could help them tell friends about the brand. Brands agreed, and in large numbers. When Involver was acquired by Oracle in 2012, there were over 1 million pages using these applications with more than 2 billion fan connections!
Engagement Era (present day)
In the last few years, as companies have accumulated thousands and thousands of fans, marketers have been working feverishly to figure out what to do with all these people – a great problem to have by the way. And as the expectations of those fans have changed and grown more sophisticated, so have the needs of social marketers.
Simply providing a tool to publish the occasional YouTube clip or launching a contest just isn’t enough.
Marketers want more active engagement with their social media efforts:
- They want to listen and respond to conversations
- They want to schedule publishing across many sites and pages
- They want systems and workflows to be integrated so the right people in the organization can interact with fans and followers using the best tools
- They want to anticipate the needs of the individual, so they can deliver a more personalized customer experience
- And much more (much, much more. You should see our road map!)
Given the expanded and every-expanding needs of our customers, we joined forces with Oracle last summer along with our friends Vitrue and a social monitoring company (love you both). Together, and in close collaboration with our peers across the various Oracle applications teams, we have launched Social Relationship Management. SRM is a fully integrated social marketing system designed for modern marketing and is an order of magnitude more advanced than our individual legacy products (the old “the sum is greater than its parts” analogy).
Social Relationship Management provides:
- Listening, Engagement and Analytics (SE&M)
- Publishing/Moderation/Content and Apps (SM)
- Workflow & Automation and Enterprise Integration (SE&M/SM + integrations with known enterprise platforms such as Eloqua, Rightnow, ATG, Siebel, and Fusion.)
We’ve come along way as an industry and as a company since launching the first fan page five years ago. Today, we’re lucky to be part of a much bigger team, a much bigger vision, and a product set that has allowed us to progress from providing tools for fan pages to providing an integrated enterprise marketing system that not only meets the needs of marketers today, but that can scale to meet the needs of marketers tomorrow.
That’s the kind of innovation and forward motion that’s incredibly exciting for all of us, and we welcome anyone migrating from the Involver products to the Oracle SRM platform with us!