Thursday, 20 May 2010

Webinars for beginners

We hosted our first customer reference pros webinar today. A really interesting experience as it's the first time we've set one up from scratch (we normally do these for clients using their infrastructure and support). The content and presenting was good, as was the turnout (39 folks from all over the globe) which was great and it was a learning experience for everyone, not least of all for me.

I learned:
  1. Even though it's a pain to have to register for an event, avoiding this step is not the right strategy long term. Better to make it as easy as possible and do all you can to ensure folks realise you won't spam them.
  2. Test the technology. We had a line drop a few mins into the event however we had tested earlier and so could carry on with just a moment of hesitation. Having 39 of your peers on the line certainly focuses the mind!
  3. Ensure people that ask questions state their names first (oops).Maybe use a 'hands-up' process or questions via email
  4. No matter how many ways and times you state the dial-in and code there will always be a few people that cannot see it. Have email support running during the event, on another laptop and run by another team member. 
I'm looking forward to gettting the replay online tomorrow and to doing the next one!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Out and About

It's been a really interesting couple of weeks; I've been lucky enough to work with some international marketing students, had dinner with another 17 Customer Reference Pros and also met a few other new people, including a specialist AR consulting company, an English freelancer in France and a very smart Spanish reference pro in England.

What have I learnt?

  • B2B marketing is not really covered by Degree courses, probably as its not as sexy as consumer
  • Think not just about what your customers may say to analysts, but how responsive they are (does it take ten phone calls to get hold of them? the analysts will give up before this point)
  • Marketing students can get enthused about what we do and see the value of advocacy very quickly
  • Before taking a film crew up a mountain check the customer actually uses your product
  • Automated Voice Recognition is being deployed to get reference content from salespeople
  • Online communities need a critical mass and nurturing. Just build it and they probably won't come
I've also been organising a series of six customer reference pro webinars, a first for me so fingers crossed the technology works!