The recent merger of Lithium and Spredfast demonstrates further consolidation of marketing and customer care capabilities in the social media management and customer care industry. Lithium primarily focuses on digital customer care and social communities, while Spredfast is known for its social media marketing and management software that helps brands connect with customers at every touchpoint. Vista Equity Partners, which owns Lithium, has acquired Spredfast and is planning to combine the two companies.
Lithium and Spredfast both have showcased proficiency in their respective areas of expertise in the past and have been identified as Leaders in the ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant Report: Social Media Management (2018). Combining Spredfast’s leadership in social media management and marketing with Lithium’s expertise in social customer care creates a robust and complete platform, and the merger will pose a strong threat to its close competitors such as Hootsuite and Sprinklr that have proven themselves leaders in the market.
Lithium’s social media marketing solution lacks in collaboration capabilities like workflows and approvals, and the company was late to integrate full social advertising functionality into its platform. Similarly, Spredfast’s customer care and communities’ components were not as robust as Lithium’s. The merger will help both the social media marketing giants overcome their weaknesses as their areas of expertise complement each other.
Lithium and Spredfast together manage more than 500 million consumer touchpoints every day across various platforms and have a combined customer base of more than 2,000 brands spanning 100 countries. The combination of Lithium and Spredfast can transform how enterprises connect with customers and manage customer interaction over diverse social platforms and social communities. Enterprises opting for this combination can claim an advantage with the following capabilities from the combined company:
- Social customer service tool: Lithium offers a differentiated social media customer service solution that can help reduce costs by creating a better customer support experience and increase customer satisfaction. The solution provides a holistic customer profile that enables agents to respond with more context. It helps drive requests through an online community and self-service knowledge base. It also surfaces trends in customer discussions to help the customer care team better service inquiries. Spredfast has a latent customer service tool that can be improved using Lithium’s technology.
- Social media response tool: Lithium’s social response tool enables brands to manage social customer service inquiries at scale with efficiency. It provides brands with analytics and customer insights in real-time. The platform can resolve support issues while maintaining regulatory compliance.
- Community function: The Lithium community tool helps build relationships with customers by transforming a website into a social destination. The tool offers discussion boards, blogs, Q&As and a crowdsourced knowledge base. It optimizes customer retention and acquisition while boosting search engine optimization. Spredfast doesn’t have a dedicated community tool, and thus gains from the merger.
- Sophisticated social media analytics: The combination of Lithium with Spredfast Intelligence can provide an effective social media analytics platform to enterprise customers. Spredfast Intelligence is a highly intuitive tool that enables users to perform real-time searches across a variety of social platforms. It can be used to surface key insights about existing and potential audiences and provides competitive intelligence to understand and react to competitor content strategies. Custom dashboards can be created to streamline reporting.
- Advanced social communication: Lithium Messaging allows brands to seamlessly manage customer engagements across social, web, mobile apps and community. Spredfast Conversations acts as a platform to bring together all the social accounts and campaigns, so people can manage them in one place. Its security capabilities, governance tools and approval workflows also provide required legal compliance. Its social data measurement and analysis can demonstrate social media’s impact on business goals. Conversations also provide marketers advice and insights while they work.
- Robust partner ecosystem: Lithium has partners at the strategic and technology levels. Strategic partnerships aim to deliver digital customer experiences and technology partners enable digital customer engagement across platforms and paid advertising. Lithium also has social intelligence partners that unify paid, earned, shared and owned media management for leading brands. Its channel partners enable brands to manage multiple digital touchpoints, facilitate millions of conversations and drive smarter decisions through data. Spredfast partners with some of the most popular marketing solutions and complements the tools that clients are already using.
ISG sees enterprises considering social media marketing suites for balancing multiple social marketing objectives and for improving efficiency and collaboration. Pricing of the combined solution has not been disclosed yet, but it is predicted to be competitive enough to attract new clients and gain market share. The combination of Lithium and Spredfast is clearly aiming to offer a complete package to enterprises.
Associated Insights and Links
Enterprise Social Business and Collaboration for Workplace and Digital Marketing
About the author
Rahul Basu is an analyst in ISG Research.