London is the place to be! 🇬🇧 At least it was in November of this year, when we set up shop in the Intercontinental O2 Arena, for the London Customer Marketing Summit.
Customer Marketing Alliance, along with some of our sister communities took over the O2 for two fantastic days from November 29-30, 2023. The event consisted of talks, workshops, as well as a very well attended happy hour.
But now, we'll let Derek Britton, Summit Chairperson, take over to give his on-the-ground review of the event as a whole...
An Assembly of Allies
Professional networking and events organization, The Alliance, orchestrated an impressive 10 simultaneous sales and marketing industry events in London, this November.
These networking events invited members of a variety of industry areas to gather, network, share, and collaborate with industry peers, thought-leaders, and guest speakers.
Among them was the Customer Marketing Summit, the showcase event for the Customer Marketing Alliance which took place in front of a packed room.
Although Customer Marketing Alliance has hosted events in several other cities including San Francisco, New York, and Las Vegas, this was their first excursion to London. And, with every seat taken, it's clear there’s a genuine desire for this birds-of-a-feather format networking summit.
Among the 20+ speakers, we saw experts from household brand names such as Linkedin, Cisco, Salesforce, Workday, SAP, and Google, as well as smaller organizations, but with equally strategic aspirations.
The agenda included insightful keynotes, practical deep dives, expert panel discussions, fireside chats, and live Q&As.
The summit also saw a variety of topics covered, including stakeholder management, cross-team collaboration, program best practices, communications, video content, personas, effective storytelling, prioritization, and plenty more besides.
Thought leaders and luminaries in the customer marketing space also acted as sponsors for the event, including names likeShoutOut, Captivate Collective, Ignite Advisory Group, Campaign US, and inEvidence.
Emerging Theme: Take Ownership, Take Action
Customer marketing requires a proactive, considered approach. Liberally sprinkled throughout the day were genuine examples, best practices, top tips, dangers to avoid, and actionable takeaways shared and discussed by dozens of customer marketing professionals and leaders.
I was delighted to be invited to present the Summit’s opening keynote, entitled “Unify to Amplify”. We explored looking holistically at customer marketing and its role in providing the proof that supports marketing’s dual objectives - customer loyalty and new business development.
Proof is needed at various stages of the buying cycle, but that proof may manifest itself in different ways, be it industry data, customer testimonials, advisory board discussions and input, and more.
Marketing must look at this kind of proof holistically to both maximize the impact of the program, but also to ensure the full story is clear to all those who need to see it.
I cited cases where good customer marketing went largely unnoticed, simply because the rest of marketing did not employ it fully in outbound activities. Fixing oversights leads to quick wins.
The individual sessions at this Summit were created independently, but there emerged a clear common theme across a lot of the content and discussions. The common thread was the importance of taking ownership and initiative, a critical attribute of the effective customer marketing professional.
Some key actions our contributors were recommending included:
- Overtly establishing clear lines of communication and influence with primary stakeholder groups – sales, customer success, legal, communications, product marketing – -as well as advocates, administrators, comms, and legal on the customer side. It will take a village for the best stories to emerge.
- Consider the customer advocate as the hero of the story, not your company. The value of the story in the eye of the audience should be that they can see themselves in the success of the individual. The ‘product’ should be part of the narrative, not the core theme.
- Consider the importance of the advocacy program as an element of your brand. Don’t treat it as a separate activity; ensure it programmatically aligns with your company, brand, and business line objectives, and can be measured against them.
- Lobby to ensure the role and its strategic value are understood, measurable, and fully visible both inside and outside the organization
Rolling our sleeves up together
I was particularly excited to see the energy and enthusiasm in the Summit agenda’s workshop sessions.
Breaking into smaller groups, we selected and debated a variety of topics, discussing, deciding, and then sharing actionable recommendations with the whole audience.
The ideas generated were terrific – one delegate described it as like having dozens of new, experienced teammates attend a work brainstorming session. Huge kudos to everyone who played their part in such insightful discussions.
The topics we explored this time were:
- Key attributes to look for when recruiting new customer advocacy managers.
- How personas of customer advocates should consider both role, industry, geography, and – crucially – personality.
- The right mix of promotional activities used by effective advocacy programs at the optimum moment in the buyer’s journey.
These and many other topics were a part of the melting pot for the group activity. Each team provided key recommended do’s and don’ts as actionable initiatives for all delegates to take back to their day jobs.
Much more than a useful set of seminars, the Summit offered genuine, practical advice built in a collaborative environment by seasoned practitioners.
The London Summit was a great way to cement the growing importance of customer marketing in the region, echoing the work that Customer Marketing Alliance is doing elsewhere.
It was great to meet delegates from across Europe, coming together to discuss shared ideas and initiatives.
Everyone I spoke to was committed to returning to the next iteration of the Summit – location to be decided – and I couldn’t agree more.
Don't forget that our event calendar is up on our website for you to view now, and with the new year approaching, our 2024 events are continuing to be announced. Keep an eye out! 👀