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Customer Reference Forum Announces the World's Best Customer Video Contest

Winners to be announced at the 2013 Summit on Customer Engagement

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Customer Reference Forum announces the 2013 World's Best Customer Video Contest. Winners will be announced at the 2013 Summit on Customer Engagement on March 6, 2013, in Redwood City, CA.

"We've invited the top customer reference and advocacy professionals in the world—the ones who excel at getting customers to tell their stories—to submit their best videos of customers doing so," says Bill Lee, President of Customer Reference Forum, which runs the 2013 Summit, and author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012). "This will provide a great opportunity to learn about advances in the state-of-the-art of getting customers to tell your story—the source of information that buyers trust most."

"Firms increasingly understand that buyers are much more interested in—and persuaded by—customers telling their story as opposed to copywriters or actors," says Lee. "Video is the most powerful means for doing so—and it's still in its infancy. It's essential for firms to keep up with it."

This will be part of a powerful 1-2-3 punch on content at the Summit. In addition to showcasing customer videos, the conference will also host workshops on "Emerging and Next-Generation Content Formats," and on "Arming Sales Teams: Right Content, Right Time."

About the Summit on Customer Engagement
In its fifth year, the Summit on Customer Engagement is the world's most respected conference on customer references and advocacy, drawing major corporations worldwide.

Keynotes include:

The Power of Customer Engagement and Advocacy—Up to the C-Suite
By Chuck Ball, Senior Vice President of Health Systems, AmerisourceBergen, and Sean Geehan, author, The B2B Executive Playbook

Winning the Marketing Revolution
By Lisa Arthur, Chief Marketing Officer, Aprimo and "Stevie" award winner as "Marketing Executive of the Year" (2011).

From Chasing References to Harvesting Advocates
By Katharyn White, Vice President, Marketing, IBM Global Services

"We'll have a select group of innovative sponsors at the Summit," says Lee, "including Big Sky Communications, Boulder Logic, inEvidence, Influitive, Mainstay Salire, Metia, MRM Reference Consulting, Point of Reference, TechValidate and first-time sponsors Referential Inc., Service Research Center, and Zuberance. They share their broad experience working with reference and advocacy programs in a no-sales environment."

Rich company case studies from the most innovative reference and advocacy programs will be featured.

In addition, participants will learn from cutting-edge practitioners at leading firms who are helping to reinvent customer reference and advocacy approaches. In particular, they'll learn:

  • How Intel and other firms develop innovative ways to get elusive marquee-brand customers—who typically refuse to advocate—to do so (it can be done)
  • How KACE creates Apple-like customer references and advocates—and other firms can too, no matter how seemingly mundane their products and services are
  • How Jive Software is integrating its customer references with customer communities to substantially expand customer advocacy
  • How IBM is moving from chasing customer references to attracting customer advocates
  • How SMART Technologies is harvesting tremendous value from customer advocates. The firm has 900 brand advocates who account for an average of $130,000 each per year beyond their purchases.
  • How Marketo makes use of customer reference management technology to fully automate time-consuming tasks, such as auto contacts to potential references, managing reference nomination processes, conducting surveys and follow-ups, and sending thank-yous and gifts.

For companies that are just starting—or reorienting—your customer reference program, Liz Pedro, Customer Programs Manager at ShoreTel, will lead a breakout session for new or "reorienting" reference programs, to help them get established on a firm foundation suitable for the mobile- and social-media-infused reality that customers live in today.

Summit participants will also receive free access to the latest research and the 11-part Master Class Series on Customer Reference Programs, covering a broad array of important topics such as the seven things every reference program must do to succeed; establishing the value and gaining executive support for your program; filling your customer reference and advocacy pipeline (and keeping it full); and more.

They'll also have access to new research on customer reference and advocacy programs, done in partnership with Sirius Decisions.

About Bill Lee
Lee is the world's foremost authority on customer advocacy and engagement. Forbes Online columnist Dorie Clark called his book, The Hidden Wealth of Customers (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), "one of the most insightful business books I've read this year." His firms, Customer Reference Forum and Lee Consulting Group, provide educational, research and consulting services on customer strategy, advocacy and community building.

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