The second annual Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit U.S. ended Wednesday.  We limited attendance to 300, but truthfully we oversold with over 340 registered (70% year-on-year attendance growth). We were thankful for this “good problem to have,” especially as many conferences are 30-40% down or cancelled.

The theme of the Summit was “The New ROI: Return on Influentials”. Executives and managers from top retailers, manufacturers and financial companies came to the new AT&T Conference Center in Austin (on UT’s campus) for 3 days to learn how to build and show the impact of customer voice in their business. See the agenda here.

In the coming weeks we will blog cliff notes from the sessions. But you can also see the stream of Twitter notes here.

I didn’t hear everything (I was running around emceeing the event), but here are some of the biggest takeaways I had:

  • Anyone can be an influencer. You can unearth them by facilitating their contribution and amplifying its impact.
  • Measurement and marketing impact is easier than most think. Measure the impact of UGC on existing marketing campaigns (examples from Helzberg, Sephora, others)
  • Getting C-level buy-in dramatically accelerates the evolution of transforming the business with the voice of customer (ex: Sam Taylor, CEO of Oriental Trading pulled together cross functional team to leverage reviews in supply chain and strategy)
  • Brands realize that the voice of the customer is transformational, but are challenged to accelerate organizational change.
  • We are all working on a comprehensive way to operationalize and measure all the impacts of social commerce initiatives.
  • There’s a big opportunity in merging social content and data with email strategy. Bazaarvoice Social Alerts with JCWhitney had 100% open rate and 50% click through!
  • We’re scratching the surface on the database marketing opportunities with influencers. Those who contribute can help identify others who contribute. Some thought leadership discussed with our partner, Merkle.

And we had fun too…

  • We were in Austin…so we’ll start there!
  • During the sessions, Sunni Brown drew graphic recordings on each session (will post soon).
  • Tuesday night we took buses out to the Salt Lick Pavilion (best BBQ in TX, in my opinion) and hosted the Bazaarvoice Bull Ride contest again.
  • Leslie from Williams Sonoma took the prize this year (Omare from Geico won last year).
  • We had live music from Jeff Hughes and Chaparral
  • We played Chicken Shit Bingo (sorry…that’s just what it’s called!)
  • Attendees grabbed their beverage from the backs of Beer Donkeys!
  • As an unorthodox way to evangelize our message to clients, last year we debuted the video “More than Words”. This year we created two videos, “The Influencer Abduction” and “Freedom! ’09 (Let Their Content Free!)”. Share them with colleagues that need to ‘get’ social commerce!

Abduction of Influencers
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Freedom! ’09 (Let Their Content Free!)

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If you want to experience the event through images, click through pictures from the event here on Flickr.

To give you a Bazaarvoice “inside perspective” on the event…

Last year’s event received a Net Promoter score of 9.3 out of 10. We were excited to get such positive feedback on our first event, but it also meant we had a high bar to jump over. We want to continually improve. We’re tallying the on-site surveys now, and we’ll be sending out an additional email survey, but just based on our experience and comments from clients, we were thrilled with the results. The majority of the event experience was based on the presentations and interaction between clients, as we learn from each other. One of my favorite quotes “the Summit is an amusement park of ideas.” And because so many clients came, our community management, support, implementation, and sales team members were able to put faces to voices. The entire Bazaarvoice team worked on making this successful. It takes a lot of work and requires juggling a lot of details. I want to give special thanks and recognition to the three folks on my team who were the producers of the event: Sarah Loyens, who quarterbacked the invitations and logistics to get folks there; Chris Wellington, our designer who took the event experience to the next level and tied it all together (including the Polaroids in the notebook!); and Amber Quist, who was the overall Producer of the event with RedVelvet Events. And of course, thank you to our partners who added to the content and made the event possible.

Stay tuned for cliffnotes of the content! For those who attended, stay tuned for presentations and conversations posted to the SCS Community.

p.s. If you’re in Europe or the UK, register for our Social Commerce Summit London on September 22!

5 Responses to “What Happened at the Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit?”

  1. I’d like to start off by saying we had a great time at the Summit. From interacting with our peers, to posing for photographs with beer donkeys, it was a truly enlightening experience.

    We created our own summary of Summit takeaways that we featured on our blog and I wanted to share them with you. Among them are:

    – Product review submission/confirmation emails perform exceptionally well

    – User-generated content (UGC) not only drives sales, but also functions as a product development and inventory tool

    – Marketers can help guarantee ROI by ensuring that viral campaigns are initially distributed to a large enough group of people

    You can check out the rest of the blog here: http://www.emailresponsibly.com/2009/05/01/social-commerce-takes-flight/. Thank you for hosting such an insightful event.

  2. I’d like to start off by saying we had a great time at the Summit. From interacting with our peers, to posing for photographs with beer donkeys, it was a truly enlightening experience.

    We created our own summary of Summit takeaways that we featured on our blog and I wanted to share them with you. Among them are:

    – Product review submission/confirmation emails perform exceptionally well

    – User-generated content (UGC) not only drives sales, but also functions as a product development and inventory tool

    – Marketers can help guarantee ROI by ensuring that viral campaigns are initially distributed to a large enough group of people

    You can check out the rest of the blog here: http://www.emailresponsibly.com/2009/05/01/social-commerce-takes-flight/. Thank you for hosting such an insightful event.

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