Reference Point
  a newsletter for customer reference professionals
  January 2011


- Four reasons why 2011 is the year of the marketer--and why it matters to you
- Update on the 2011 Summit on Customer Engagement
- Onsite Workshops
- New EMEA customer reference community
- Links to job openings, local reference meetings

Four Reasons Why 2011 Is The Year of the Marketer: And Why It Matters To You

1. Marketing can now start demonstrating direct impact on business performance.
In 2010, direct and compelling links from the value generated by customers (called "Customer Equity" or "CE") to a firm's overall value were established in a study published by V. Kumar and Denish Shah. This means that marketing can start creating direct impact on firm performance in ways that will matter--a lot--to any CFO and CEO. Prof. Kumar keynoted at one of our events a few years ago, btw.

2. An important part of that impact comes from customer engagement.
And customer engagement includes activities beyond purchasing, like influencing people to buy, giving referrals, sharing and building knowledge that helps provide services to other customers as well as input into product improvements and innovation. In other words, it includes the things you do in your reference, advisory board, customer communities and social media programs.

3. The C-suite is ready--no, eager--for this.
Back in 2007 The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that companies increasingly see customer engagement as defined above as "a more strategic way of looking at customer and stakeholder relationships" in order to create a "deeper, more meaningful connection" with the customer" as well as "customer interaction and participation."  That was echoed last year, as reported here and on my blog, in IBM's global survey of 1500 CEOs. It showed that one of their top three priorities is "reinventing customer relationships," which to them  includes bringing customers into the processes of the business--and that is, of course, precisely what your customer engagement program is helping to do.

4. CMOs are ready--no, desperate--for this.
The 2000s were not a good decade for CMOs. One study found that CMOs are the most frequently fired executives. In another by ANA & Booz Allen Hamilton, more than half of all companies surveyed said that the agendas of marketing and the CEO are not aligned. In yet another, a large majority of CEOs said that CMOs do not demonstrate adequate return on investment. Which is because they haven't had access to measures that resonate with CEOs or their CFOs. Now in 2011, they do.

I'll flesh out some more on this for you at the 2011 Summit on Customer Engagement, but for now, as you enter 2011, keep in mind that your work is a critical part of a very important trend in business right now.

All the best,

Bill Lee, President
Customer Reference Forum and Customer Strategy Group
Author of the forthcoming Harvard Business Review Book, The Hidden Wealth of Customers

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March 1-2, 2011
San Mateo, CA, USA

New Presenters:

- How Customer Communities Accelerate Demand Generation in the New World

Salim Ali, Global Vice President, Marketing will show how SAP is leveraging communities and social media in new ways to accelerate demand generation and amplify business impact. Attendees will get insights into perspectives on the evolution of enterprise marketing, new community marketing models and details on how it delivers greater reach, deeper relationships and higher conversion rates.


-Using the Power of Video to Engage Customers

Laura Ramos, vice president of industry marketing in North America, will show how Xerox Services uses Web-based video-the most important communication tool in the 21st century-to engage customers much more effectively to drive demand generation, support community building, and support thought leadership for the firm.

Social Media and the Future of Customer Reference Programs
Will social media kill customer references? To the contrary, social media presents tremendous opportunities for customer reference managers - provided their programs make the right changes. Paul Dunay - an award winning B2B marketing thought leader and award winning practitioner - will set out a framework showing how customer reference programs can thrive during the seismic changes that social media will make on marketing. Paul is the author of Buzz Marketing for Technology, Facebook Marketing for Dummies, and Global Managing Director of Services and Social Marketing, Avaya.

For more information. (scroll down the page_
To register.
Can't make it to the Summit? Is it time to take your customer engagement program to the next level? Having trouble getting there?  Bill Lee brings Customer Reference Forum's knowledge, research capabilities, and the most extensive network of reference professionals and suppliers in the world, onsite to you. Currently we're offering two workshops (with more on the way):

- Building a Just-in-Time Reference Capability
- Bringing Customers Into Your Social Media and Lead Generation Efforts

Learn more.
For practitioners only. Exchange ideas and best practices with peers, get your questions answered quickly, expand your network. We're now up to 380 members. If you're not a member, join us - just reply to this email "sign me up for your LinkedIn community" in the subject line.


To get involved with the recently formed community of customer reference professional in EMEA, contact Claudia Koenig at referencecommunity@googlemail.com


For the Boston Customer Reference quarterly meetings schedule, please check with Kara Manfredi for updated information, at karaManfredi@deltek.com.


To follow and attend the San Francisco/Silicon Valley Customer References Council, you can go to their new LinkedIn community site (just copy and paste "San Francisco/Silicon Valley Customer Reference Council" into the LinkedIn search engine for "Groups").

For the next Bay Area Reference Group Meeting please send an email (and please include your title) to val.stephen@acxiom.com.


For information on who is hiring and to apply, please click here.

We can let our community of more than 1000+ reference pros know about your position opening. To post a job (for now, this service is free), please click here.

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