Monday, July 30, 2007

Conference on Customer Advisory Boards

I stumbled upon the Customer Reference Forum a while ago, alas too late to make this year's conference. I'm planning to join it next year and would be interested in any feedback from people who went to this year's event. The organizers of the Customer Reference Forum have now sent out an invitation for a new type of conference for customer advisory boards, the CAB Exchange. The list of speakers looks interesting, but as always, it'll be interesting to see whether they talk about real experiences or just about vendor pitches for customer reference solutions or agencies. If you have seen any of these speakers on these topics before, I'd love to hear about it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Poll: Reference managers's departments

As a product marketing manager who is responsible for a customer reference program, I sometimes feel like the "odd one out" because I assume that most reference managers are located in other departments, such as corporate marketing, public relations or sales, or that they are outsourced altogether to external contractors and agencies. If you're also sometimes wondering what the norm is, then help me find out. Please answer the quick poll on the right side of the screen to let us know how you fit into your organization.

Why a customer reference program blog?

Apart from looking at actual case studies and customer reference pages from various companies, I found that there's actually very little useful information about customer reference programs on the Web. In this blog, I'd like to publish my findings on how to run a successful customer reference program, including case studies, press releases, reference calls with other customers, analyst and media conversations, talks at industry events, podcasts, customer awards and much more.

Because most reference managers are the only ones of their kind in each organization, I'd like this blog to be a place for dialog for people in the industry. I would like to know what positive or negative experience you have made with certain approaches, solutions or vendors. Equally, I'd like you to post questions on specific parts that concern you.

A little about my background: I've been handling case studies and customer references on-and-off for about 8 years. Currently, I'm a product marketing manager for a software company, where I am responsible for the customer reference program, and have worked in technology marketing for more than 10 years. I was born in Germany and raised in Switzerland and the UK. Now I live in Cambridge, MA, USA.

I have earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Politics with International Studies from the University of Warwick, UK, and a Kommunikationswirt from the Akademie für Marketing-Kommunikation, Frankfurt, Germany (equivalent to an Executive MBA in marketing communications).

I believe this blog will work best if you let me know what interests you have, so start posting your comments and questions now!