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VRM one-pager

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Here is a brief summary, a taster of what VRM means to me:

Imagine being able to take charge of your information and data, notes and records about past transactions, your purchase history, future plans and ideas, preferences and knowledge about areas of your life. At the moment you are the last person to be able to benefit from all this accessible only via various platforms. Your ‘digital detritus’ is not yours, it is information that others harvest and use for their own purposes. Imagine to be able to do that with the same ease as checking email, posting to a blog, adding a bookmark to, searching Google, commenting on an article, uploading a photo to Flickr, managing your google or ical calendar, leaving a review on Amazon, adding an application on Facebook. All this whilst protecting your privacy to the degree you find comfortable, sharing your activity or data as you wish, not as mandated by the platform providing some functionality in exchange for your data (Facebook, Amazon etc).

Imagine having your customers share with you what they like, want and think of you. At the moment, you are dependent on market research, which is like looking through a keyhole at the rich ‘user-generated’ world. Imagine being able to relate to your customers, consistently and persistently, where they contribute directly to your supply chain where it makes sense – whether it is R&D, product design, distribution and marketing. Interaction with them is modular, intuitive and user-driven freeing much of your resources spent on marketing and transaction cost.

The above is part of the vision of the Project VRM. The name stands for Vendor Relationship Management and it originates from ‘flipping’ CRM – customer relationship management. Project VRM is a community-driven effort to support the creation and building of VRM tools. The project is headquartered at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and headed by Doc Searls, a fellow with the center. The project is building a framework that sets standards and protocols for a category of tools that enable individuals and organizations to relate and transact on more equivalent terms. By minimizing the leverage and control one party has over another in a (typically commercial) relationship, individuals and organizations can instead focus on creating and sharing value. The VRM opportunity is not rooted in us vs. them emotionally-driven arguments but in creating a more efficient and balance relationship between business and their customers, markets and companies, demand and supply.

What’s in it for the individual?
The ability to manage and analyze your data will give you better knowledge about yourself, the kind of knowledge that is the holy grail of most companies’ customer data management. The awareness of your preferences, understanding of your needs will help you to articulate them easier and strengthen your position with vendors.

What’s in it for businesses?
We live in an increasingly decentralized world with more customer choice, yet vendors continue to fiercely collect and control customer data and exploit the opportunities therein. The ultimate goal of VRM is better relationships between customers and vendors, by considering and constructing tools that put the customer in control of their data and ultimately their relationships with other individuals, companies and institutions.

Benefits of ‘letting go’ of customer data:

  • Customers share the burden of storing and protecting the data – eases compliance, privacy & security concerns
  • Increased access to information about customers – direct benefits to the customer to share more data rather than less.
  • New services from previously unavailable access to customer data

For those based in London, who want to learn more and meet people with similar interests there are regular monthly VRM Hub meetings.

TAGS: None

24 Responses to “VRM one-pager”

  1. Mike MacIntosh
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 20:37 pm

    Hi Adriana,

    I work with Gam and have heard a lot of good things about you. Your well-written post above is what has been going through my head for many years now and I believe Xpollen is about to start making this world a reality! I look forward to meeting you in person some day.

    All the best,


  2. The Equity Kicker » Blog Archive » VRM - vendor relationship management
    on Feb 29th, 2008
    @ 13:40 pm

    [...] posts by Delaney and Lukas spell it out in detail, and this is the main Project VRM site.  For the quick version here [...]

  3. VRM Hub meeting in London | Kocchi Kade
    on Mar 1st, 2008
    @ 11:54 am

    [...] have no idea what I’m talking about then you should look up the VRM project here and read the VRM one-pager on Adriana’s [...]

  4. Tom Guarriello
    on Mar 3rd, 2008
    @ 14:17 pm

    Thanks for this succinct summary of VRM, Adriana. I now have a place to send people who want the “elevator pitch” for why this work is so exciting to me.

  5. links for 2008-03-05
    on Mar 5th, 2008
    @ 23:37 pm

    [...] VRM one-pager Flipping the CRM concept, VRM gives power back to the customer in terms of what data they want to share according to whether they can see benefit for them [via Ferrero Rocher] (tags: CRM customers customerservice marketing strategy via:ferrero_rocher) [...]

  6. dready blog v2.0 » Blog Archive » Advantages of User-Centric Identity
    on Mar 22nd, 2008
    @ 20:19 pm

    [...] to DataPortability on the DataPortability-Public mailing list. In particular, this excerpt of a blog post from Adriana Lukas sums up the “What’s in it for business” aspect very well: What’s in it for [...]

  7. VRM London « Rich Marr’s Tech Blog
    on Mar 28th, 2008
    @ 14:08 pm

    [...] you’ve got time for a little reading, I’d heartily recommend checking out Adriana Lukas’ VRM one-pager and Doc Searls’ [...]

  8. Marketing 2.0: VRM dreht CRM auf den Kopf
    on Apr 18th, 2008
    @ 11:07 am

    [...] zunächst sehr bedrohlich. Tatsächlich aber eröffnet VRM neue Chancen. Dazu ein Zitat aus einem empfehlenswerten Blog-Posting von Adriana Lukas: Imagine having your customers share with you what they like, want and think of you. At the moment, [...]

  9. Robert W. (Vancouver, BC)
    on Apr 20th, 2008
    @ 22:25 pm


    I find your blog via I must confess that I had no idea what “VRM” stood for. In fact, it took awhile to read down your article to find the full phrase.

    I’m actually a mining engineer in a past life and VRM has a very different meaning there: Vertical Retreat Mining.

    When writing, I always follow the golden rule of not making any assumptions about what my audience may or may not know. And so whenever I use an acronym, I always spell it out in full the first time.

    Food for thought!

  10. Adriana
    on Apr 20th, 2008
    @ 22:40 pm

    Robert, thank you for your comment. I also know the audience of my blog and the audience I am writing for – and I have been writing about VRM for many months here. The name doesn’t matter, it is the concepts that I am trying to communicate – and a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

    So whether I call it VRM or not and explain the acronym is an issue whose importance is reflected by its place in the post.

  11. Socialutions Implementation Strategy: Taking your company from zero to hero on the social web | socialutions
    on May 14th, 2008
    @ 7:08 am

    [...] We haven’t exactly reached the Utopia that Adriana Lukas describes: [...]

  12. Leon Benjamin
    on May 26th, 2008
    @ 15:53 pm

    Years ago at Ecademy we called it Network Relationship Management, but we were far too early.

  13. Adriana
    on May 26th, 2008
    @ 16:16 pm

    Leon, with respect, I doubt that. I don’t have a high opinion of Ecademy – for start they don’t get the web at all.

    There is more here:

    I’ll eat my hat if that’s what you had in mind… :)

  14. Crosbie Fitch
    on May 26th, 2008
    @ 19:45 pm

    Having propounded ‘the web’ to Ecademy’s core mailing list via a considerable number of posts I noticed how strange it was that ‘Ecademy’ simply didn’t ‘get it’.

    Time to move on and say farewell to Julian Bond’s impressive, if ultimately non-web-grokking, ‘Thomas Power appreciation society’.

  15. Nick
    on Jun 3rd, 2008
    @ 4:15 am

    VRM is a little different in my world but related. We are flipping CRM but more at the b2b vendor relationship level, not b2c level. Interesting topic and I’ll alert our guy in the UK who works with Tesco to see if he can check in for some 3W with you.

    Nick (ex pat brit in DC)

  16. Adriana
    on Jun 3rd, 2008
    @ 8:01 am

    Nick, that would be great. Thank you.

  17. Jemima Gibbons
    on Jun 9th, 2008
    @ 14:15 pm

    Your VRM concept sounds a great proposition and would love to discuss more. Gutted I can’t make the June London meeting but hope to be there in July.

  18. Have you heard about Vendor Relationship Management? « e-sourcing place
    on Jul 8th, 2008
    @ 11:28 am

    [...] have a look at this site  that has been referenced a few times places like Confused of Calcutta, Media influencer [...]

  19. A sideways look at IT and IS strategy and VRM
    on Jul 15th, 2008
    @ 19:57 pm

    [...] I’m sad not to be able to go to the VRM workshops taking place right now. If you want to participate vicariously, like I am, check out vrm08 at twitter. Better still, start with this article by Doc and this one by Adriana. [...]

  20. Design by Structure’s Blog - Structure is a design agency based in London » Blog Archive » VRM is to companies what Christmas is to children: they’ll be surprised
    on Nov 5th, 2008
    @ 12:02 pm

    [...] who often use this to send us stuff we don’t want. Or that’s my take on it anyway. Adriana Lukas has written a good introduction to VRM which is worth a [...]

  21. Note to self - new rules are now in play | Creative Agency Secrets
    on Nov 6th, 2008
    @ 9:59 am

    [...] the second was a VRM conference, Unlocking the See-Saw  that I attended on Monday.  The host, Adriana Lukas, [...]

  22. VRM as a quest for happiness « Peter Parkes
    on Nov 9th, 2008
    @ 21:31 pm

    [...] spoken at two VRM events recently – the first, the October meeting of the London-based VRM Hub group; the [...]

  23. Doc Searls Weblog · Whose Side(wiki) Are You On?
    on Oct 3rd, 2009
    @ 16:14 pm

    [...] VRM One-Pager, by Adriana Lukas [...]

  24. En dag med ’social’ foran alt | Socialsquare - we make participation happen
    on Jun 8th, 2010
    @ 9:25 am

    [...] Forbrugeren bør kunne tilføje indhold til data. Fx: jeg kommer kl. 19.30, jeg vil have udsigt mod…, jeg tåler ikke mælkeprodukter, jeg vil have adgang til internet og de tv-kanaler, mv. Dette vil spare virksomheder for dyre gætterier i form af markedsresearch og analyse – og kunden fra spild af tid, mens kunden får god service og bliver en glad og tilfreds og garanteret trofast kunde. Det er win/win, hvis virksomheder rent faktisk indsamlede relevante data, som viser hvad kunden ønsker, og således kunne øge serviceniveauet. Derfor har Adriana Lukas startet Mine! projektet og promoverer VRM [...]

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