CRM Idol 2011 Finals Rules

Congratulations to all of you! You’ve made the finals, which wasn’t easy. As we said from the beginning, CRM Idol is easy to enter but hard to win.  You are the four from the Americas and the three from EMEA who have the chance to do just that - win.

That means that we now need to go over the rules and, in order to ease your path, we have some suggested guidelines that you might want to follow. The rules are hard and fast. No violations, no exceptions. The guidelines are just what we said they are – suggestions. It is your choice to follow them or not.  So let’s start by giving you a sense of the idea and what the concept of the video is.

In this document you’ll see the rules for the contest and for prize selection.  Plus a few suggestions on making the video.  Let’s start with the concept.

The Concept

The idea of the video is to present your company and your products in the best light possible. Keep in mind what that means to the audience who is seeing it. This time it’s not the primary judges.  It’s the Extended Judges panel and “the crowd” who are voting for you.  The idea is that you use your creativity in whatever way you want (see suggestions below for some ideas) and realize that at the same time, you’re expected to provide substance. Think of it this way.  If you wanted to make an impact on both a popular audience and judges who have “been there and done that” what would you produce?  Some of what you must include is:

  • What your company’s mission and vision is.
  • What your company produces.
  • What you think makes you are different.


The Rules

  1. Spend no more than $10,000 U.S. and be prepared to show us receipts if we ask.  Remember, real geeks do this kind of thing in the garage for close to nothing.  We are trying to make sure that the companies that are funded by varying VC firms or angels have no spending advantage over any other finalist.
  2. Your video can be no longer than ten minutes in length – not one second longer. In fact, we recommend shorter and it can be any amount shorter you want it to be.  The length is immaterial. You should make it as long as you need it to be up to no more than ten minutes.
  3. The submission date for the video both for the Americas and EMEA is October 21, 2011 at 6pm Eastern Time. There will be no late acceptances, no excuses. If not in on time, you are out of the competition.  You are free to send it in earlier but it will not be put up for viewing until November 1 regardless of when you submit it.
  4. The video must be produced as an MPEG4, MOV, AVI, WMV or FLV file which are codecs that are supported by YouTube.  We will be posting the final version on YouTube when it is sent in. The key is to produce it in a format that is supported by YouTube.  Please be sure you do. A submission that is unacceptable for uploading at the deadline won’t be allowed to be resubmitted in a new format after the deadline.  You can resubmit it before the final deadline if there is a format problem, however.
  5. The video must NOT mention the CRM Idol contest in it AT ALL – primarily because we hope that you’ll be using this video for more than CRM Idol after the contest is over. 

The Judging Criteria – in Part

The only thing to let you know is that the popular vote which will be tallied up from multiple sites will be worth 50% of the vote. The Extended Judges panel will be the other 50% (see here for the list) and they are voting for you on the video and on their knowledge of the company and products that they’ve gleaned beyond just the video that will distinguish them from just the popular vote. The reason for this is to include a set of checks and balances so this is not solely a popularity contest but at the same time reflects the interest that the general public has as well as the influencer community. 

The Step by Step Process

For this final portion of CRM Idol:

  1. Each finalist will produce a video that meets the rules stated.
  2. By no later than October 21, 2011, 6pm Eastern Time the video will be sent to either a Dropbox folder that will be shared for the contestants or to  Stay tuned for further instructions.
  3. Each of those videos will be uploaded on YouTube by a primary judge. It will then be posted to multiple sites for a roughly 10-day period starting October 21 and ending October 31, 2011 by 6 pm Eastern Time.  The sites will include, among others, a YouTube Channel, the CRM Idol website, a number of media properties, and a number of blogs where they can be voted on and commented on by the public during the 10-day period. The voting will be done via a Survey Monkey link that will be posted to all sites that are taking votes. The Extended Judges panel (of which the Primary Judges who reviewed you become a part) also will be voting on you separately from the public and their votes will be tallied with comments.
  4. We’ll then tally the votes and then announce the winner on the CRM Idol site on November 7, 2011 at 10:00am Eastern Time. This will be followed immediately by various media partners.
  5. Within 7 days of the announcement, the winners will be contacted to choose their prizes. They will be allowed to each select any prizes off the list of prizes that is posted on the website.  A numbered prize with multiple pieces is still considered only a single prize. 

The Suggestions

Our suggestion is to approach the video as your opportunity to tell your story and that can include information about:

  • The business problem you uniquely solve
  • How you solve it
  • Your company’s background
  • Anything else you think is important

There are tools on the market such as Adobe products like Flash and After Effects that help you edit and create animation.  Final Cut is editing software that runs on a Mac but it costs over one thousand bucks and takes time to learn.  If you don’t know how to use it, this is probably the wrong time to try to learn.  iMovie from Apple is a subset of Final Cut and it is quite good but only if you know how to use a Mac.

Many people working in video start with pencil and paper and create storyboards which are effectively crude drawings of what you want to accomplish.  The drawings can be cut up and their order changed as you play with ideas.  This is much like outlining an article in writing and we recommend storyboarding your video before attempting to create anything.  A storyboard will tell you what you need (art work for instance) to get the project done and it is a great communication tool to use with others you might enlist in the project.

There are also people available through the Internet who have video expertise and work inexpensively.  Don’t think you have to do it all yourself.

Keep in mind that the people viewing this will be voting and the video might be the only thing they learn before voting so think about how to best convince them to vote for you.  This video can easily become part of your marketing so plan well.

If you are new to producing video, as compared to consuming it, you will be surprised at how much you can pack into a few minutes and for that reason we encourage you to go short rather than long.  Your video can contain any of the following:

  • Someone speaking to the camera
  • A screen shot of a demo
  • Animation, perhaps depicting the business process you address
  • Still pictures
  • Audio, including narration or even music but be careful not to over do it and to use good taste

As far as the formatting goes, feel free to look here for resources on how to optimize the format you choose for YouTube. 

That’s about it.  Good luck to each of you and we’re looking forward to congratulating the winner of CRM Idol for the Americas and for EMEA!!