Social CRM and Customer Networks Take Flight

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

“Please Put Your Tray Tables Up for Takeoff”

Q: “Are Customer Communities and Social CRM mission critical?” 

A: “Seriously?”


Now, my answer has always been clear – having a business without a website would be crazy – having a business without a customer community doesn’t even make sense.  After attending several conferences this year focusing on everything from CRM to Web 2.0 to Toasters (ok, so I didn’t really go to a toaster trade show), we noticed that any track or presentation that sounded anything like -- “so, how do I engage my customers in this new social world?’ – was completely full. 


molecule_network.pngCompanies today have realized that the ‘social revolution’ has long since passed ‘fad’ status and landed squarely in the ‘mission critical’ category.  As one executive said to me, “All I know is that if my prospects and customers aren’t talking to me on the web, they’re probably talking to my competitors.” But, candidly, many we have talked to are asking themselves and their advisors, “But, how should we engage with customers in the social world?”


We asked ourselves whether the time was right for the industry’s first conference completely dedicated to and focused on Social CRM and the Customer Network. 


The answer? Tomorrow’s Social CRM Virtual Summit has registered over 2,000 people!  We appreciate that everyone has too much to do and not enough time in the day – that all of these people are willing to register for this maiden flight is a testament to the business value of Social CRM.  We’re grateful for the response.


“The Flight Attendants are here For Your Safety and Comfort”

In addition to the overwhelming excitement and response from registrants, we are thrilled about the number and caliber of leading Social CRM companies that are sponsoring this conference.  From our partners at ON24 powering the virtual event platform, to solution providers like Cognizant, LivePerson, Ant’s Eye View, Forum One, and Genesys, to media leaders like CRM Media, leaders from all fields have come together to share best practices and begin an industry-wide dialogue. 


At the Lithium booth, for example, you will be able to see the industry’s first Mobile Community Platform.  I’d encourage you to stop by the Exhibit Hall at the conference and have a quick chat with all the sponsors – I guarantee you’ll learn something – I sure did.


“Please Direct Your Attention to the Front of the Cabin”

Our only regret is that we didn’t have more keynote time slots available to bring you all of the experts in Social CRM that were interested in sharing best practices with you.  But, the lineup that we do have is nothing short of amazing -- Paul Greenberg from The 56 group (who I think has been called the Godfather of CRM); Mike Fauscette who leads IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group;  Brent Leary, founder of CRM Essentials, analyst, and award-winning industry blogger; Kevin Ryan, VP of Social Media at Barnes & Noble; Bill Johnston of Forum One Communications; and Jeremiah Owyang and Ray Wang of the Altimeter Group.  We’re thrilled – and grateful – that these folks are with us and know that you will find huge value in their insights.


“We Have Reached Our Cruising Altitude” (now I’m really stretching these titles!)

One of the wonderful things about the Virtual Summit is the ability to engage directly in conversations with experts and practitioners who can offer practical, real-world results. 


Social CRM and Customer Communities are delivering hard dollar value and results to leading companies around the world.  We recently did a survey of CXOs and VPs at companies with more than 1000 employees to ask them what the value of a customer advocate or fan was to their business -- 60% said it over $50,000 per year. Companies that have taken the plunge with Social CRM and Customer Communities are building Customer Networks that have hundreds and thousands of these advocates.


And many of those companies are here to talk to you.  In addition to the Exhibit Hall and the Auditorium sessions,  be sure to visit the Networking Lounge for scheduled chat sessions with leading companies like T-Mobile, National Instruments, Barnes & Noble, Juniper Networks, Redfin, Lenovo, and Best Buy.  There will also be chat sessions with industry luminaries such as Dr. Natalie Petouhoff of Forrester Research, Inc. as well as Lithium product experts.  Come discuss how you might replicate the success that these companies have had with their Social CRM efforts.


“Enjoy Your Stay”

vscrm_logo_sample.pngSetting aside my contrived flight analogy for a moment, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this Summit a reality.  A tremendous amount of work has gone into making this first ever tradeshow dedicated to Social CRM a huge success and hugely valuable to all who attend.   


Social CRM has truly come of age and is already creating enormous value for companies that are doing it well.  We hope this conference helps you to drive forward your own efforts to create your own Customer Network and harness the power of social customer relationships.


We’re looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!