- Forrester Councils
- Councils Overview
- log in
Posted by Laura Ramos on May 28, 2009
[Posted by Laura Ramos]
Customer reference management has moved from the sidelines to the
mainstream of corporate marketing activity. This is good news for the
dozens of customer reference management professionals who attended the February Customer Reference Forum in Berkeley, CA and
participated in the 2009 survey. Why? Because authentic customer
references help sales close business and marketing persuade analysts,
press, and investors that corporate positioning and product claims are
Yet, with dedicated budgets, headcount, and ties to business goals, now is not the time for customer reference managers to rest on their laurels. Customer
reference management can play a vital, new role in executing a
community-centered, socially-savvy communication strategy — one based
on emerging Web 2.0 tools that blends online/offline experiences. This
was the theme of the keynote presentation I gave at the conference, revisited again in research published today on Forrester's site, which you can access.
In the survey of customer reference professionals, jointly conducted by Forrester, the Customer Reference Forum, and Point of Reference,
we found that -- while meeting expectations and goals today -- customer
reference professionals need to tune up their Web 2.0 skills and take a
more active role in setting social strategy because technology
customers are a socially active group. Unfortunately, as you can see in
the figure, B2B customer reference managers aren't thinking along
social lines today.
want to engage in peer communities that help them successfully
implement technology, produce new business capabilities, and gain
competitive advantage. Getting customers to reference out of goodwill
gets difficult without something to offer them in return. Combine the
two, and watch private, gated business communities grow.
To get started on this path, I suggest customer reference managers take three key steps to socially-enable their programs:
Step 3: Use metrics that focus on engagement, not just activity.
For creating new leads or enlisting participants, social tools earned
accolades from less than 10% of respondents and make the social media
effort seem hardly worth the effort. To capture the real value of
social media in customer reference programs, customer reference
managers should focus on how social touchpoints increase the quality
(not quantity) of customer-to-prospect interactions, bump up
participation intensity, and amplify topic discussions by prospects and
Check out the report and
let me know what you think of my analysis and advice. Are you engaged
in customer reference management? Is social a part of your plans? Is
this an area of research I should continue to pursue in 2009? Looking
forward to the dialogue.
[Cross-posted from B2B Marketing POSTs by Laura Ramos.]
Forrester's CX Index
Predict how actions to improve CX will affect revenue performance.
Measure the customer experiences that matter most »
Free On-Demand and Live Events
Latest events from Forrester analysts, online and in person »