I have been revisiting the idea of customer intent and its implications. Social media has exploded given customers and prospects the ability to express intent. Buyers signal. Customers signal. Competitors signal. These signals are important data points for the Sales, Marketing and Service — the 3 big users of CRM systems.

A great recent example of this phenomenon is the Netflix price increase. Customers revolted and the company found itself in reactionary mode. Reid Hastings’ blog post will be remembered and studied for years. Is it a coincidence that Amazon’s (Disclosure: The wife works at Amazon, but does not read my blog) Kindle Fire announcement states the following?

There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less.

The real interesting thing about these two companies is one forget their competitive advantage and the other did not. Kindle Fire and the new Kindles look like winners, Netflix is left spinning Qwikster, which is already being compared to New Coke. Amazon listened to customers, Netflix did not.

This example shows the implications for CRM. Signals are positive or negative. Sales, Marketing and Customer Support have to be able to filter and respond to the signals that matter to their mission. In the end, it is all about how you support the customer across the customer life cycle. The next evolution in CRM will be how to focus on the signals and understand customer intent.

If there is one e-commerce rumor that never seems to die, it is Amazon buying Netflix. I just do not see it happening, yet shares jumped again on the persistent rumors.

From my July 2009 post:

First, a deal with Netflix has been speculated for many years. The overlaps are obvious. I am sure the smart people at Amazon have investigated Netflix and determined if the addition would be a fit. To be sure, there were some synergies a few years ago. Netflix had a solid customer base and fulfillment. The advent of digital video and applications like Amazon Unbox and iTunes have shown that the digital video is for real. Netflix is nice, but likely not a growth segment. Today, Amazon would have interest in the fulfillment but knows the Netflix customer base is likely to get smaller not bigger. Plus the fulfillment model is great for envelopes not for packages.

In the nearly last 12 months, Netflix has done very well in the market by more than doubling in share price. I still hold the opinion that window of opportunities for synergies is past. Amazon won’t do this deal.

Business Insider: Netflix Downgraded To SELL: Amazon Deal Won’t Happen, Says UBS

Disclosure: The wife is employed by Amazon and does not read my blog. These opinions are mine alone.