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Keeping your Reference Program Relevant in the Recession

Posted by Bill Lee on January 6, 2009 at 10:44 AM

I thought I'd summarize in one place the resources we'll provide at this year's Customer Reference Forum to help your program thrive in the recession. Indeed, many reference pros are finding ways to provide important new, strategic value in this economy.


Peer Exchange Workshop

"How to Manage Through the Meltdown" will be the lead topic in our Peer Exchange Workshop. We'll have a room full of experienced professionals from many of the leading reference programs in the world sharing ideas, processes, best practices on how they are keeping their reference programs vital and relevant during the downturn. Whatever question you have about dealing with the downturn, we'll have the best available answers.

Chat with Patty Morrison, former CIO of Motorola, GE Industrial Systems and other leading firms

In addition to her presentation to the full group, you'll be able to sign up for individual chats with Patty. She'll provide a senior executive's view of how to persuade CIO's to reference in this economy, as well as how to persuade them to buy. Sign ups for these 1-1 sessions will be limited.

Panel: "How to Keep Your Program Relevant in a Downturn"

Craig Frampton, Director, Marketing, Customer Knowledge Center, SAS Institute, and his reference team will share their experiences in three areas particularly relevant to this economy: the federal government (the one market sure to grow - and yes you can get government agencies to reference); financial services (learn how Craig's team has expanded its traditional role to help SAS uncover new business opportunities in this tumultuous industry); and pharmaceuticals (learn how to persuade these notoriously secretive firms to reference).

Social Media Workshop for Reference Professionals

Rhett Livengood  Director, Worldwide Sales Development, Enterprise Solution Sales,Intel will lead a 90 minute interactive workshop, along with  reference managers from other programs who are also on the leading edge of social media integration. When you leave, you'll be up to speed on how to establish and build your reference social media program. What does this have to do with the recession? As Rhett and the workshop team will show, social media creates dramatic cost savings as well as marketing leverage for your reference program.

New Reference Program ROI Calculator

Presented by the Customer Reference Forum Metrics SIG, and based on the work of Infor's Abby Atkinson in turning a requested program budget decrease into a 64% increase for FY2009. In addition, the Metrics SIG will provide results for our first compensative survey of reference program metrics.


Breakout Session: "The Inside Track: Evaluating Reference Management System Vendors"

Technology purchases are famously tricky. Buyers who rush the process, or skimp on the details can suffer great pain afterwards in fixing a messy situation. Reference systems are no different. In a remarkably frank peek behind the curtain, David Sroka and Darren Smith from Point of Reference will present a systematic guide showing how buyers can dramatically improve the cost-benefit ratio of their reference software purchases, their odds of getting the system right the first time out, and their overall satisfaction with the result. This is essential knowledge for buyers, particularly in a time of tight budgets. 

Reference Community Comments

I am scratching my head about this session: "The Inside Track: Evaluating Reference Management System Vendors." How can Point of Reference as a reference software vendor possibly provide an unbiased "frank peek behind the curtain" of the software purchase process. Wouldn't it make more sense to have someone experienced in the field of references without a possible conflict of interest running this breakout session?

Johanna -- Thanks for your question, which is a natural one to wonder about. The session as originally proposed by Point of Reference was entirely vendor neutral - no mention of anyone's reference software including their own - and had the approval of our Advisory Board (of non-vendors).

We thought it would be highly useful to see, from a vendor's perspective, what a thorough due diligence process should look like. I didn't do a great job of communicating this session, plus there are other issues of greater importance in the current environment, so we're putting the topic off for now.

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