The 2008 Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit has come to a close. What an event! What a rush! As a Bazaarvoice team, we’ve never had so much fun. It was a thrill and privilege to spend 2.5 days with our partners, clients and advisors. From the anecdotal feedback from attendees, they also had a great time and learned a lot. If you were there, feel free to comment on this post.

Night 1

Wednesday night we kicked things off with a happy hour, where clients, partners and prospects mingled, networked and got their free books signed from Josh Bernoff, Kelly Mooney, and Andy Sernovitz.

Day 1

We kicked it off with an edited version of a music video the Bazaarvoice executives made for attendees (more on that later), followed by an introduction from Brett and me. The first keynote was from Kelly Mooney (“The Open Brand”), followed by Andy Sernovitz (“Word of Mouth Marketing” and Bazaarvoice advisor). The day was filled out with presentations from Bryan Eisenberg (“Waiting For Your Cat to Bark” and Bazaarvoice advisor) and Ed Keller (“The Influentials” and Bazaarvoice Board member) and presentations from clients such as Dell, Canadian Tire, and Wal-Mart. Also our content operations manager, manager of marketing services and VP of Client Services (Wayne Stribling) shared insights on we’ve learned over the last 3 years.

That night we had a fun networking at happy hour, and then headed off to the Salt Lick, which is in my humble opinion the best barbecue in central Texas! Community managers served everyone on the bus with water and beer as we drove south. Upon arrival, the temperature was perfect, and as the sun approached the horizon the crowds gathered around armadillo racing, mechanical bull riding and a free photo booth. The Band of Heathens (voted “Best New Band in Austin”) played all night, except for a time during dinner when Brett and Wayne announced the first annual Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Awards. Winners included:

  • Social Commerce Achievement Award – PETCO
  • Best Participation Campaign – Philosophy
  • Best Use of Negative Reviews – Best Buy
  • Best Use of UGC in Email – Bath & Body Works
  • Best Multichannel Use of UGC – Wal-Mart
  • Best Proof of ROI – Canadian Tire (Ask & Answer)

At the end of the night Michal Osborne (VP of Sales) and I emceed the Bazaarvoice Bull Ride contest. After 20-30 clients, partners and employees sacrificed themselves for our entertainment and the 1-5 star critique of their peers, Omari from Geico (The Washington D.C. “Urban Cowboy”!) came out the winner with a perfect 5.0 score! Two words…awesome fall.

We headed back to the historic Stephen F. Austin hotel, some for a nightcap on the balcony and some headed straight for bed!

Day 2

Ok, I admit, we kicked things off a little early after a fun, late night. BUT…we kicked it off with a highly requested ‘extended version’ of the Bazaarvoice “More Than Words” music video. Here it is for all to enjoy and laugh at our expense! We wrote/modified the lyrics, but to set the record straight, I was not singing! Wish I was that good. We lip-synched to a local band who recorded the song. After showing the shortened version the day before, the audience applauded the suggestion that the Bazaarvoice Execs could form a band if this doesn’t work out…so we got that going for us, which is nice!

If that didn’t wake everyone up, Brant Barton (VP of Business Development) hosted the most creative partner showcase in history. It was the first annual “Bazaarvoice Partner Haiku Contest”. Each sponsor got up on stage to perform a Haiku…a three-line, 17 syllable poem from Japanese culture. Their Haiku could express the essence of their company, value proposition, or a message they want to convey. Representatives from Endeca, Aggregate Knowledge, Responsys, Omniture, ATG, Experian Cheetahmail, IBM, Coremetrics, Demandware, and Exact Target stood in front of 200 attendees and shared memorable Haikus to voting applause. Finalists included the ‘snapping’ Aggregate Knowledge trio, the “reluctant” performance of Scott Tadaro from Demandware, and two Endeca representatives (one which happened to be Japanese). With an unfair advantage, performing a beautiful Haiku in its native language, Endeca won the contest.

Josh Bernoff from Forrester kicked off the second day as the keynote speaker, sharing principles around the idea of starting social marketing with a business objective. Next up was Ze Frank who gave an entertaining introduction to what he’s done over the past few years as a digital performance artist, followed by Q&A with Kelly Mooney. It was a fascinating session. I was up next to share the Bazaarvoice Product Roadmap, but I gave them a little more time because I could tell everyone wanted to hear more from Ze. He’s not just funny, he brings a fresh and thought-provoking perspective of the evolution of customer participation and conversation. We’re privileged to have him as a Bazaarvoice advisor!

After I shared our roadmap, we broke into tracks where speakers from Intuit, Golfsmith, PETCO, Wal-Mart, Jewelry Television and our own Brant Barton discussed change management, customer centricity, multi-channel, and Web 2.0 / Advertising 2.0 for retail. We ended the show with an open “Just Ask” forum where attendees shared thoughts and feedback on the show and we discussed the future of Social Commerce. Brett shared his closing thoughts followed by a final sweepstakes where the entrants were “Top Rated People” voted by others who networked with them.

I want to thank all the clients for attending, as well as our partners who not only made the event possible, but were also valuable contributors to this social commerce community. And finally, I want to thank all the Bazaarvoice team members who made this first event hard to beat next year (yet, we will!)…especially Amber as team captain! If you did not attend this year, you cannot miss next year. Even clients who we “strongly encouraged” to come thanked us for doing so and were glad they attended. So, let’s agree now….we’ll see you next year!

Things to Check out…

Social Commerce Summit site and agenda

130 pictures from the event

“More Than Words” Music Video (extended version)

More to come including summaries of the content…

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