Customer Programs Thought Leader Bill Lee Announces All-Star Speaker Agenda for the 2020 Summit

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The 2020 Summit on Customer Engagement will feature speeches from Customer Programs leaders who are transforming the customer experience and driving business impact using the “Tom Sawyer Strategy.”

Now in its 16th year, the Summit on Customer Engagement is the most respected educational and networking event in the world for Customer Programs professionals.

Bill Lee
Bill Lee

“Customer Programs managers can be thought of as the Tom Sawyers of their firms,” says Bill Lee, founder of the Summit. “They’re the ones who run customer marketing, customer communities, customer advocacy, customer advisory boards and the like. And just as Tom got the neighborhood boys to paint Aunt Polly’s daunting fence (9’x30 yards!)—and to pay him (Tom!) to do so—Customer Programs managers are engaging customers to create the hard parts of the customer experience. Plus they even pay for the privilege, tending to spend more as paying customers. It’s a pretty astonishing dynamic, when done properly.

“This Summit is historic for us,” says Lee, author of  the Harvard Business Review book, The Hidden Wealth of Customers. He’s also written more than 20 HBR articles that defined the customer programs industry in ways that are now coming to fruition. “Our 2020 speakers are part of a growing cohort of leaders who understand the potential of this customer dynamic to impact the most difficult growth challenges—such as acquisition, adoption, retention,  innovation, and excessive support costs. And these leaders have their eyes on C-Suite careers, for good reason.”

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In addition to Lee, other featured speakers heading the agenda include:

Keynoter Erica Kuhl. As VP , Community, Salesforce, who built from scratch the firm’s Customer Programs–including its vaunted Trailblazer Community to 3.1 million members — with a strict regimen of business impact metrics including impact on sales pipeline, wins, product adoption, customer support costs, and retention. CEO Marc Benioff considers her programs as a strategic differentiator for the firm’s long record of exponential growth.

Teresa Anania, Senior Director, Customer Success, Autodesk, who scaled the company’s customer success program from the ground up, built outcome-based, personalized customer journeys covering the entire customer lifecycle for over 3 million subscribers across all segments, and achieved significant measurable improvements in adoption, retention, loyalty, and lifetime value.

Kevin Lau, Global Head of Customer Advocacy, Adobe Digital Experience. Kevin is translating Marketo’s vaunted customer marketing blueprint from a 1,500-employee firm to its 20,000-employee parent, Adobe. His Customer Programs focus on business impacts including business pipeline, business referrals, increasing client engagements, and increasing retention rates to 90%.

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Joe Klinker, Sr. Solutions Marketing Manager, Box, who is creating new value for customers throughout the customer journey—and leveraging new concepts of “references” and “advocacy. As trends in the industry show, such value oriented approaches to customer engagement lead to significant improvements in retention and revenue growth.

Melissa Brown, Senior Director, Reference Management, Optum, who took a single business reference program and evolved it into a multi-business, multi-segment reference and customer advocacy program that now represents more than 155 organizations across the multi-national firm.

Sarah Schreiner, Senior Strategy Analyst, ADP. One of the rising young stars in this field, Sarah has engaged an important, previously untapped base of ADP client practitioners and scaled the “ADP Ambassador” program to 6,000 customers in just 3 years. Ambassadors are adopting and expanding their business with ADP more than other customers, while supporting ADP’s product development, overall customer adoption, and customer loyalty efforts.

Vanessa Hannay, Director, Customer Success, Muck Rack. Another rising star, she’s transforming the profession: Just 5 years into her career, Vanessa has risen from marketing communications coordinator at TITLE Boxing to Director of Customer Success at Muck Rack. She also co-founded the NYC Chapter of Women in Customer Success (which has grown to 400 members in one year), carved out an already impressive speaking resume in customer experience and programs.

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