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Denise Holland CRM Evolution Event Review

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 42 votes)
 By Denise Holland

Social CRM Dominates The Agenda

The CRM Evolution 2010 was held August 2 to 4 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. As with prior years the event was co-housed with SpeechTEK, another Information Today brand. While an attempt was made to demonstrate a symbiotic relationship between CRM and SpeechTEK, each crowd is quite unique and seldom do they meet.

The biggest change to the show when compared to the prior year was the overall makeup of key topics. CRM Evolution 2009 tracks revolved around the tenants of transactional CRM – Sales, Marketing and Customer Support. This year, CRM magazine has changed the show's constructs to traditional CRM, Social CRM and an analyst/consulting track. While most seemed to view the change in categories favorably, bringing them all together or integrating them into a consolidated customer business strategy was a challenge for the tradeshow just as it is a real world challenge for enterprises.

The keynotes were rich in research and interesting data points. Emily Yellin, author of Your Call Is (Not That) Important to Us, highlighted call center and customer service anecdotes which illustrated a three point plan to customer service strategy. The presentation was at times trivial, but left attendees with thoughtful take away considerations.

In the follow-on keynote, Denis Pombriant, Principal Analyst of CRM advisory firm Beagle Research Group, honed in on at least three economic drivers which have fueled CRM market growth – and in particular SaaS CRM demand. He then went a step further and illustrated the variables that will spawn the next "S graph" business curve to keep the growth cycle alive. I can't remember the last time I attended a keynote where the industry visionary's predictions were so reinforced with exceptionally well constructed data points.

The rest of the three day event consisted entirely of panel and individual speaker sessions. I must have picked the sessions to attend pretty well as they were all well done. I did hear comments that some sessions were not up to par, and got a bit overt in terms of speakers selling their consulting services, but such is the case when analysts and consultants are the featured speakers.

I didn't get an official attendee count, but I suspect attendance was similar to last year at about 500 people. The CRM Showcase vendor trade show was also about the same as the prior year – I suspect about 20 CRM vendors exhibiting and a slightly larger number of SpeechTEK exhibitors occupying the other half of the event floor.

I personally give the event high marks and recommend future CRM Evolution shows to CRM practitioners and participants looking to hear directly from the most influential thought leaders in the market. While I enjoy learning about social CRM strategies, lessons learned and new tools, I think there is overzealous focus in this category and the sessions are quite disproportionately skewed to this topic. I'd like to see more sessions on other complimentary topics such as CRM analytics, mobile CRM, the Cloud, the new breed of lead management systems and strategies which can finally improve the all too frequently cited implementation failure rates. End

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Comments (6) — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Devin Dee
  One of the speakers talked about an 'unconference'. Excuse my lack of social media knowledge, but I don't know that that means.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    An unconference is a session where the attendees are the presenters. The concept clearly capitalizes on several Web 2.0 principals. I've seen a few different formats, but in a common example, attendees vote for a topic to be discussed, the top topic(s) are determined and then attendees sign up to speak on the topic. In order to accommodate what can be many speakers, each presenter is often limited to about 3 to 5 minutes. Some speakers seek to solicit information from the audience while others discuss the topic and offer conclusions. The end result is a passionate conversation full of democratic input and interesting points of view.

Guest L McKenna
  My experience at the event did not match the experience you promote in your blog. I do agree that social crm was the topic of choice - to the point where it buried all other crm conversations. I heard one guy call it the "new shiny thing" that brings life back into what was apparently a tired conversation. I don't agree that the presentations were good. Most were not. Several were obvious self promoters who liked to talk about themselves and their small peer groups. Perhaps this event is designed for these peer groups and not for non-industry people looking to evaluate crm software systems. I'm not really sure. The keynotes were poor. The vendor exhibits were small and not well represented. Combining the event with the speechtek attendees makes no sense to me. I got almost nothing from this event.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    I'm sorry to hear that you did not personally benefit from the CRM Evolution conference. Notwithstanding the points you shared, it's been my experience that as an attendee I must actively make the most of the conferences I attend. Without a personal conference agenda or plan, I'm just one of the herd and my fate is left to chance. With an agenda and specific objectives, I can maximize the sessions, networking, interactions, time lines and schedule to meet those objectives. I can arrange to meet people that are the subject matter experts in the topics where I'm looking to learn and I can leave with enough take away points to continue my learning after the conference and help my business. As my mother used to say, and perhaps yours did to, you get out of it what you put into it.

Guest L McKenna
  Don't patronize me with event promotion.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    Sorry. Just trying to be constructive.


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