Notes on Liminal Group’s 2009 Sales & Marketing Symposium

Following are my notes on Liminal Group‘s 2009 Sales & Marketing Symposium, which took place Wednesday.


First speaker: Paul Greenberg,

author, CRM at the Speed of Light: Essential Customer Strategies for the 21st Century, President, The 56 Group, LLC; founding partner of CRM training company, BPT Partners, LLC. At the end of 2007, he was the #1 non-vendor influencer ranked by InsideCRM in their annual “25 Most Influential CRM People” announcement. He was also named one of the most influential CRM leaders in 2008 by CRM Magazine.

Gen Y are first generation to spend more time on Net than watching TV

31% of people age 20s-early 40s are elite tech users (source: Pew)

The number of people who say “people like me” is their most trusted source of information has grown dramatically in the last 5 years, and is now rated the most trusted source of information. (Source: Edelman)

Member communities reach more internet users (66.8%) than email (65.1%) (source: Nielsen Online research: “Global faces on networked places”. )

You have to accommodate even ‘low value’ customers because of what they can do to you. And no customer thinks he’s ‘low value’.

A few years ago Disney Destinations changed the CRM acronym to CMR (Customer Managed Relationships). This meant customers could plan/adjust their own vacations.

This means they didn’t need as many live agents. And many customers prefer this.

I have a CRM podcast, CRMPlayaz, and all we do is rip on things

Old research said Advocates will speak to 5-9 people about what they love; detractors will speak to 9-16 people. But new research: detractors can now reach millions. Now just the threat of public detraction is sufficient.

Recommends looking at Doubleclick Simultaneous Media Usage Study.

The New Marketing Model

The reputation of the company, not the message, becomes the brand

Example: Sanvick, a mining company in Sweden, is rated most trusted company in Europe. Has a fair play code that governs everything they do. One of their core values is transparency. In their annual report, they release information about criteria for executive’s bonuses; whether they got bonus or not.

Counterexample of what not to do: Walmart’s ‘flog’: fake blog with some actors pretending to be Walmart customers

Authenticity and trust is what matters, more than consistency of the message

From “How consumer conversation will transform business”-PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2007. Free report.

We need to ‘hear whispers’. Measure:

– Volume: amount mentioned vs. Historic pattern

– Tone

– Coverage: # sources generating conversation

– Authoritativeness/Reputation

New business model

Lines between producer and consumer are blurred. They are co-creators of value.

Open lines of communication.

Producer is an aggregator for the user’s creative activity

User is an advocate of the experience and the company

When you listen to the customer, you often learn that what you thought about the customer is completely wrong.

BMW now has identified and developed with customers 15 telematics features.

Samsung overtook Sony as leading consumer electronics company, because they worked with customers to identify 25 customer touchpoints.

When Skype was first launched, there was a Skype user group called “public mind” which was particularly active . Skype mined that user group for ideas to prioritize.

Skype was acquired for $1.6b . At the time had 54m customers, $11m revenue.

KarmaLoop sells Gen Y clothing. Sells traditional brands, plus independent brands. They now have 100,000+members in their community.

Have junglelife social network, by invitation only to trend-setters.

Also have Street Team. They are 1% of KarmaLoop community. Their job is to sell KarmaLoop products. You sign up and get a unijque code. Get friends to buy on the site using your code. They get discounts plus points. Additional points for uploading content of their street activities.

Another similar company: Threadless. $26m revenue.

BY 2010, 60% of Fortune 1000 will have some sort of community (Gartner Social CRM 2009 Forecast) but 50% will fail to be managed properly. They won’t participate enough; they won’t keep content fresh.

KLM Club China: looks like traditional online community. What’s unusual: it includes an ‘experiences’ section, where members can upload their experiences doing business in China. Not just travel. Also includes suggestions on doing business in China.

Contrast this with United Red Carpet Club, which is missing all this functionality.

V. Kumar came up with 3 lifetime metrics: Customer Lifetime Value, Customer Referral Value, Customer Brand Value.

Tools of CRM 2.0

The Social Stack

Identify and Object interface in these domains: Reputation, relationships, conversation, groups, sharing, collaborative, actions, presence.

Only 30% of companies have holy grail of one person, one record.

The new holy grail: "a company like me", who is trusted in the same way that a "person like me" is trusted.


The next speaker was Penelope Trunk, author, Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success .  She’s a very entertaining and personable speaker.  I generally agreed with her points, with two major exceptions.  

1) Her speech sounded as if it could have been delivered a year ago, and hasn’t been adjusted for US debt bomb exploding.  I don’t believe her claim that Generation Yers don’t care about money and can go move in with their parents when Gen Y’s father just lost his job, and Gen Y’s mom just had her house foreclosed upon. 

2)   I thought that some of her comments about "managing Generation Y" were really comments about "manag
ing Generation Y children of upper-middle-class parents"


Gen Y doesn’t believe money = happiness. They’ve all taken classes in positive psychology, which have taught them that. Janitors are usually happier than lawyer. Lawyers are the most suicidal of all professions.

You need to make $150K more to offset cost of moving away from family/loved ones.

65% of Gen Y lived with parents, BEFORE recession

Gallup: If you have 2 friends at work, it’s virtually impossible to have a bad time.

If one person quits a restaurant, the others will likely quit also.

They think that experience of work should be like experience of doing stuff in teams. They did prom in teams, they did sports like soccer which is very team oriented. They love their parents.

I’ve had dinner with the parents of everyone who works for me.

Gen Y doesn’t like to pay their dues.

They don’t believe in the ladder you climb, so therefore why do the grunt work at the bottom?

So every day is a trade: they’ll do your Xerox, but they want you to do something for them in exchange.

They really value learning

They’re not argumentative, not protesting in streets.

Mentoring is the new currency.

They’re used to their parents being very invested in their success.

They expect authenticity.

A good blog post/tweet should make you nervous, that you’re providing too much information.

Everyone believes that they’re authentic, but they’re not.

Gen Y is so productive. They always have an empty inbox.

Career Goal for Gen Y is be an information synthesizer. Information is commoditized, so the real value is being on top of it.

Gen Y is genuinely nice. This is shocking because the workplace is not set up for that.

This is a generation of team players, not leaders.

They have very good social skills, are good at office politics.

We all have the same values. Gen X complains the most because no one pays attention to us.

There’s still a shortage of Gen Y jobs in this economy. When they say, ‘there are no jobs’, they mean, ‘there are no good jobs’.

Question : 50% of 2009 graduates will be unemployed. Do you think this perspective has changed?

Media is run by boomers, and they’re panicked because 50% of boomers are unemployed. (David: I doubt these statistics).

Gen Y in India and Gen Y in US have access to exact same info.

Gen Y finds entrepreneurship very easy. It’s cheap to start. Easy to market initially to their friends. Whole VC market has shifted. Job market is getting worse , so the drive is greater. They have incredible need for multiple revenue streams.

Gen Y doesn’t complain about being grouped as a generation. Only older people do.

Gen Y thinks it’s a joke if you don’t have CRM

Gen Y picks up the phone because Gen X expects them to.

Emptying your inbox is an "inbox enema."

Guy Kawasaki uses Twitter exclusively to promote himself; I use Twitter just to discuss my life.