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February 2010 Archives

The Power of Video: Preview of the Video Workshop at the 2010 Forum

Posted by Bill Lee on February 26, 2010 at 02:21 PM

Cisco WebEx's Diane Davidson and Intel's Rhett Livengood are putting together a strong workshop at next week's Customer REference Forum, for those interested in putting customer testimonials to the best use on the web. Here's a brief preview:

According to recent research by Eccolo Media:

- video is the 2d most influential collateral type for tech buyers.

- there was a 75% increase in the use of video by technology prospective buyers between 2008 and 2009.

- 80% of reference materials live on prospect/ buyers' desktops (including digital, video, audio, etc), and

- 80% of technology purchasers share material with each other . . .

Also, video is 50x better for getting high webpage rankings on Google than text is.

All of which means that video is increasingly popular with buyers and also highly viral.

So there is some of the data you can use to make the case for an increased video program. Diane and Rhett will show how to put that budget to the best use based on their firms' experiences.

2010 Customer Reference Forum: Still Time To Register

Posted by Bill Lee on February 24, 2010 at 10:49 AM

There is still time to register for the 2010 Customer Reference Forum, March 2-3, in Santa Clara (registration will close Monday, 3/1 at noon pacific time).

 We have a terrific line up of speakers as well customer reference professionals from

Adobe, Cisco WebEx, CA, Dell, Genesys, NetSuite, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, NetApp, Oracle, Actuate, Alcatel-Lucent,, VMWare, SAP, Research In Motion,  Genesys, Satmetrix, Blue Coat, Diebold, Fortinet, Hitachi Data Systems, Lexmark International, Inc., Forrester Research, LinkedIn, Netezza, Siemens PLM, Picis, Red Hat, Saba, AmerisourceBergen, SumTotal Systems, Blackboard, Riverbed Technology, Beeline Labs, Infor and more...

For more information about the 2010 Forum, please see below or click these links:

Featured Presenters


 Testimonial (35 seconds) from Rhett LIvengood, Intel

2010 Forum Update: The Art and Science of Building Successful B2B Communities

Posted by Bill Lee on February 15, 2010 at 01:29 PM

Just added a new breakout presentation at the upcoming 2010 Customer Reference Forum, March 2-3, Santa Clara, CA (it will be posted on the Presenters page shortly).

The Tribalization of Business: The Art and Science of Building Successful B2B Communities

by Dean Hidalgo, Director of Industry and Customer Marketing, TIBCO and Francois Gossieaux, Partner, Beeline Labs

Based on the research project performed yearly by Deloitte and Beeline Labs, Dean and Francois will show what determines success for business communities and how to measure progress, along with tips on how best to incorporate customer references into the mix. One key finding is that there is little difference between what makes communities successful in B2B environments as opposed to B2C - because as Francois says "interactions happen between people, not between Bs and Bs or Bs and Cs." Results of the 2009 Tribalization of Business study will be made available to attendees free of charge.

2010 Customer Reference Forum Update: Establishing Global Priorities

Posted by Bill Lee on February 11, 2010 at 09:54 AM

We've just added Lexmark's Jeanne Talbot to our list of presenters at the 2010 Customer Reference Forum. Here's a brief preview of her presentation abstract:

Maximizing Impact: How Lexmark Sets Key- and Global Account Reference Priorities

by Jeanne Talbot, Senior Customer Communications Manager, Lexmark International

Taking its customer reference program global meant a lot more for Lexmark than just adopting the existing program elsewhere. With tightened budgets and resources, how has this output technology leader set priorities to make every reference (and every dollar) count? Jeanne will discuss how a very small team of motivated professionals has:

- Gained executive sponsorship at the highest levels within Lexmark

- Prioritized key and global accounts and convinced those salespeople to embrace the reference program

- Customized a program that is culturally relevant around the world

- Standardized content and processes across regions

- Deployed an online reference management system to 1,000 users (and trained them)

 . . . and much more.


Still Time to Participate in the 2010 Survey on Customer Reference Programs

Posted by Bill Lee on February 10, 2010 at 12:59 PM

For those of you who haven't yet taken the 2010 Customer Reference Programs survey, there's still time to do so.  We're in our 5th year of running this survey; it's the most comprehensive and widely used survey in the profession, providing essential information on getting budget, staffing, resources, executives support and more for your reference program.

if you are the manager in charge of your firm's customer reference program, or in charge of the reference program of an autonomous business unit, please email me directly and we'll get it right out to you:

bill at customerreferenceforum dot com

If you aren't the manager in charge, please feel free to forward this to the person who is.

Please note that if you take the survey and attend the 2010 Customer Reference Forum , March 2-3 in Santa Clara, you will receive the survey results at no charge—a $499 value for essential information.

If you take the survey but are unable to attend the 2010 Forum will receive a 50% discount for the results.

In New York, Chairing the Advanced Track for the 2010 Net Promoter Conference.

Posted by Bill Lee on February 2, 2010 at 05:39 PM

Yesterday and today I was in New York at the Grand Central Hyatt, chairing the Advanced Track at the Net Promoter Score (NPS) conference "Customer Experience 2010". Some 400 attendees participated from a variety of B2B and B2C firms.

For those of you unfailiar with NPS, it's an increasingly widespread process used by companies for increasing the number of customers who would be highly likely to recommend them. Such customers are called "promoters," appropriately enough. In other words, NPS is a process for increasing their customer references.  

Here's what struck me about NPS today: 

Net Promoter Score is an effective approach to creating more promoters or customer references.

That's because it focuses on getting at root causes, using sophisticated analytical tools, for why customers aren't inclined to promote a vendor. And it stresses real corporate change to improve customer experience to the point where they ARE likely to start doing so.

Remarkably, most firms look at NPS as a tool to get customers to BUY.  They don't  give much thought to getting such customers to REFERENCE.

That is, firms using NPS--who spend so much effort creating promoters--don't organize any sort of effort to leverage the overtly expressed desire of promoters to . . . promote! To get them commenting on social networks. Or  taking sales calls. Or interviewing with the media or analysts. Or speaking at industry events. Or taping testimonial videos. etc. etc.

And as readers of this blog know, the referral value of customers can be substantial--often, it's more valuable than their value as purchasers. 

That tendency to overlook and not levearage referral behavior is understandable--it takes a lot of work to build up your NPS. But as companies create more promoters they are creating an exceptionally valuable asset. If they continue to focus on only their tendency to buy--and not on their expressed desire to reference and promote--they'll be leaving a big chunk of the value of those assets on the table.