I’m having a fantastic time at the Customer Reference Forum, at the gorgeous Claremont hotel in Berkeley. Bill Lee (who has an engaging blog) has done a tremendous job as a conference organizer, he really wants to bring a high value conference. He’s carefully screened and selected presenters, as well as issued a survey to all attendees asking them about topics.
What’s a Customer Reference Program? Many corporations are realizing that word of mouth from a customer to a prospect is important. As a reaction, they create collateral that records positive customer opinions, and then they distribute to sales teams. In my Powerpoint presentation PPT, (which I’m making public) I said all that was going to evolve, now as customers use social media to share both positive and negative experiences. I wrote a blog post a few months ago that started it all, the preso is a rough cut of it.
There were a lot of great companies here like: EMC, NetApp, Dell, Microsoft, Riverbed, Insight, IBM, Oracle, RIM, ProjectLine, HP, Navajo, Point of Reference, Metia, Phelon Group, Siemans, SAP, and other great companies.
One of the topics I was hearing from presenters is how they’re incorporating podcasts, video, webcasts. Very few of them are reading blogs (organize customer references). In summary, I believe that the good customer reference folks will evolve, start to work with the community manager, and will have to figure out how to use customer opinions (both good and bad) into their programs.
Steve Ellis of Metia is doing reviews of presentations, (he just posted his review of my session, excellent) I hope he provides an honest review for me. Fun times ahead as every group in Marketing is impacted by Social Media.