With my apologies to Cold Stone for stealing their slogan.
When I first went to the show, based on previous experiences, I was ready to post 2-3 articles on the sessions that were not so bad. In years past the show was poorly done. They had outdated content, poor (and few) speakers, and the quality was below par. Sure, you can say that my impression was biased since I had come from Gartner – but I talked to people at the shows and they had shared the same ideas.
What a difference a year (and a new chairman) makes. Paul Greenberg took over the chairmanship of the show and what had been bad became a very interesting show. I will not only applaud Paul for his great job, but also the people from CRM Magazine for embracing dramatic change. Bravo.
I won’t be able to post an article for each session I liked because they were too many. So I am going to try to summarize here the top take-aways from the show (and two dislikes at the end).
What I Liked
Attendance – Paul still has it. In spite of reduced attendance at virtually every show in the country (and many cancellations) in the last few months, people were there. And not just vendors, which made up most of the audience before, but end-users, consultants, and vendors.
Conversations – The Social Media bug is migrating to conferences. The presentations were great, but also open. Audience chimed in when they thought they had something to add and it was welcome. Speakers made sure they spent time doing Q&A. The conversations continued after the session with valuable comments.
Diversity – Even though there was focus on Social CRM, it was not all. There were some great panels and presentations on other things. Ray Wang (by the time you read this you will already know he joined the Altimeter Group) presented on the use of data not only in CRM but across the enterprise. Michael Thomas presented on how to do Marketing well, Jesus Hoyos talked about CRM in Latin America, Mike Krigsman discussed his research on failure, and many others. It is great to see that CRM continues to be more than just the soon-to-be-passe-SCRM (sorry, could not help it).
What I Loved
Paul Greenberg – Paul, great as usual, is always pushing the discussion forward. You probably saw my previous post on his keynote, where he introduced the concept of “Generation C” and started to talk about Emotions. Very well done, and an easy going presentation with lots of interesting tidbits.
Jesus Hoyos – I had known about Jesus for some time through the web and tweeting. I finally got to see him present. The energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge is incredible. The technologies and products we create are not very well used here, we all know that. Down there, they extract every last bit of their applications, and put our implementations to shame. He posted in Paul’s blog a few months ago, and has his own microblog with the slides from the session – well worth the read.
Lithium – I mentioned before that I liked what they are doing for external communities. Sanjay Dholakia, their CMO, presented at one of the vendor sessions. If you’ve ever been to one they tend to be heavy on marketing and light on content. This session was different. Sure, we saw the 2-3 minute marketing video about Lithium. But he also provided some great case studies and statistics about communities that I have to post it on its own. Look for the short post tomorrow.
CRM Playaz -If you enjoy the show on the web, you have to see it live. The energy and dynamics are the same live as they are online. Just two guys having fun, talking about CRM and implications, and smacking down CEOs.
Faces -It was great to put faces to Twitter avatars and names. Too many to mention (if you follow the #SCRM tag in twitter, you know who these people are), but great meeting all of you and looking forward to the next time. We will have to figure out how to bring Prem next time.
United Airlines – I tweeted this before, but it was officially confirmed at the conference that United should have never broken that guitar. Just about everyone used the example in their presentations on why being social matters. I am not sure when this meme will die, but I can guarantee that United would gladly pay any sum for the next guitar their baggage handlers break.
What I Gotta Have Now
SimplyBox – From the many things I learned there was one product that I cannot say enough about. Smart, well done, fast, and right to the point. Great idea, very good technology, and good momentum in only a few months. Go to their web site and watch the video and imagine the possibilities. A well done example of what CRM + Web 2.0 + Enterprise 2.0 can accomplish.
Internet Access – Did we somehow go back to 1996 and dial-up? The wireless connections, when available, were deplorable. I understand that the hotel provided them but this is something that must be worked out for next time. I ended up using (and sharing) myMiFi most the show. In the era of social media and sharing not having connectivity is not a good thing.
Trade Show – I went to the trade show three times. I had been there before as an exhibitor and the situation was the same. The FREE exposition only have to go. I had several conversations stopped to attend to a person asking for more tchotchkes, candy, or t-shirts. If vendors stop coming, the show is not the same.