Lithium Technologies, the leading provider of Social CRM solutions to power the customer network, today announced the acquisition of Scout Labs, a rapidly growing social media monitoring company, widely recognized for the elegance and power of its analytical tools. The acquisition expands Lithium’s industry-leading customer engagement suite with the addition of Scout Labs’ powerful social media analytics engine to create the first Social CRM platform that empowers companies to listen, engage, and act on their social customers’ conversations across the web.
Lithium will fully integrate Scout Labs’ social media monitoring and analytics into the Lithium platform while continuing to offer Scout Labs’ solution as a stand-alone product. The integrated platform will provide wide and deep insights into customers’ behavior within customer communities and broadly on the social web.
The acquisition advances Lithium’s vision for Social CRM – the creation of a customer network across the social web that delivers value from customer conversations by helping companies:
- Promote authentic interest through word of mouth;
- Innovate on their products; and
- Support customers through peer-to-peer engagement.
Scout Labs’ broad coverage of customers’ conversations on the social web augments Lithium’s applications for fostering customer interactions and developing brand advocates within a community. Together they create a strategic platform for listening, engaging, and acting on customers’ conversations wherever they occur.
“Scout Labs brings an analytical approach that our customers have told us is crucial for Social CRM,” said Lyle Fong, Lithium’s CEO and Co-Founder. “They record social interactions anywhere on the web and develop a contextually rich analysis of customers’ behavior over time. When combined with our own deep customer engagement data, this will give our clients the most detailed picture available of their customers’ social behavior – giving them a competitive advantage as they plan and execute social media marketing and support programs.”
Lithium’s stellar customer roster, which includes brands ranging from Best Buy to Sony, AT&T, Univision, and Research In Motion Limited (RIM) will be augmented by Scout Labs’ customers such as Disney, Coca-Cola, and Motorola. Use cases vary from brand marketing to customer support to campaign measurement. All of these companies are aiming to maximize the value of their engagement in the social web in measurable ways.
Lithium customers lauded the acquisition. “Juniper works with Lithium because they have a deep understanding of how customer communities work,” said Brendan P. Lewis, Director of Corporate Social Media Relations at Juniper Networks. “Lithium helps us discover and develop brand advocates and create world class support in our community. But there are more advocates we can reach. These powerful new capabilities will be crucial as we continue to move forward on our strategic plans to engage with customers in all of the places they are active.”
Scout Labs’ clients were also pleased. “We’ve been using Scout Labs for social media analysis with clients like P&G and Citi for the past year, and the insights we’ve gained have become integral to the planning process here at Publicis,” said Ian Zelesko, VP and Strategist at Publicis New York. “We hear from our social media-savvy brands that they are looking for ways to engage more deeply with their customers, so the combined Lithium/Scout Labs platform is extremely compelling.”
A comprehensive picture of social customers drawn from customer community data and social web data will enable organizations to derive a detailed understanding of who their most influential advocates are and how their influences spread, a boon to social marketers.
“Many voices have espoused the benefits of a holistic view of the social customer, but in reality few viable solutions exist,” said Peter Kim, Managing Director, North America of Dachis Group. “Lithium’s acquisition of Scout Labs creates a strong Social CRM platform to help companies master customer data and make the customer-centric business a reality.”
“Companies have learned that branded customer communities help them gain a deep understanding of their customers’ feelings and emotions,” said Esteban Kolsky, Founder and Principal at ThinkJar, LLC, a consultancy specializing in CRM strategy. “The ability to analyze those sentiments and intentions across the social web has also proved to be a competitive advantage. The integration of broad social media analytics with deep customer community analytics will provide a richer picture of social customers than before, increasing organizations’ ability to attract and retain customers.”
Scout Labs Background
Recognizing the need for a social media monitoring tool that delivers insights to a large number of people quickly, Scout Labs began developing its product and recording data in 2006, and honed the application through a series of private beta cycles in 2008. Since its public release in February 2009, the company has added over 350 clients, with the growth rate averaging 35 percent quarter over quarter. Many Scout Labs clients have experience with other social media monitoring solutions, but turn to Scout Labs when multiple functional areas across the organization need actionable social media insight to make more customer-centric business decisions.
“Clients choose Scout Labs when they realize that social media is too important to relegate to a single person or department. When an entire company wants to get closer to its social customers, they turn to us,” said Scout Labs CEO, Jennifer Zeszut. “But our clients need visibility, insight, and a platform for action across their own communities and the wider social web. That’s why we’re so excited about joining with Lithium; together, we’re narrowing the gap between social insight and social action.”
Lithium performed a thorough analysis of the social media monitoring and analytics market before moving forward with Scout Labs. “We look at four things in an acquisition: Is it a strong team? Is the technology solid? Do they have a great product? And are their customers happy?” said Peter Fenton, a partner at Benchmark Capital and a member of Lithium’s Board of Directors. “Scout Labs has an outstanding team. They have great real-time analytics. Their product is gorgeous, and it’s a magnet for users. And their customers aren’t just happy, they’re fanatical.”