Not so fast, though, Meara tells me.
In an email, he says:
When customer contact mechanisms become “channels”, most banks keep rigorous track of interactions, have [key performance indicators] and are able to access that information later on. To a very large extent, that hasn’t occurred with social media (below). Instead, most banks are merely listening on social and gathering sentiment. Others are using for outbound marketing just as they do with e-mail and direct mail.
That leaves social media in the marketer’s domain — here’s a graph, from Celent, that Meara sent me that seeks to explain the concept:
So, we see social media viewed as a marketing domain by most banks… As long as marketing owns a mechanism, it isn’t a channel in our view.
Beyond that, “channel” is mostly semantics.
Source: Celent survey of North American financial institutions, August 2012 (the sample size was 132 banks)