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Dealing with the Reality and Myths of Omnichannel

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If you sell stuff in your and your partners’ stores and via e-commerce, you have probably heard today’s buzzword — “omnichannel” — meaning that your customers should be able to use any part of your commerce chain as if it were a single entity: find and buy anywhere, pick up anywhere, return anywhere, all of this working seamlessly for the customer and integrated so that transactions anywhere are recorded and available everywhere.

You’re being told that your customers want and will soon demand this kind of transparency, and that if you aren't there now, you had better get cracking. You’re also hearing that getting there will take time, a lot of it — Macy’s started in 2008 and is just now beginning to reap the benefits — and will be a complex, expensive and “significant technology integration challenge.” By this time, you may be feeling that rush of panic as you contemplate how you can possibly keep up with this brave new world of real and virtual commerce.

You’re not alone.

News Bites: LinkedIn Buys Bizo, Appboy's Testing, More

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This week,  LinkedIn acquired Bizo, Appboy is offering Multivariate Testing, Interxion released a single cloud connector and there's an updated Certain mobile app for event management.

Marketo Q2 Results Show Growth of Marketing Automation

digital marketing, Marketo Reports Numbers Growth in Marketing Automation Space

It's probably too early to tell if Marketo's latest customer experience-driven offering will be a slam dunk.

But it isn't hurting the company.

On the heels of its latest major platform announcement — its new customer engagement platform unveiled at its annual Marketo Nation Summit in April — the San Mateo, Calif.-based marketing automation provider reported revenue growth this week for its second quarter.

“Across the board, we delivered a strong quarter as customers adopted our customer engagement platform and purchased new applications such as our Real Time Personalization product, which we released early in the quarter,” Phil Fernandez, chairman and CEO of Marketo, said in a statement. "From new customers in the business-to-consumer category such as Unilever and 3-Day Blinds, to major business-to-business leaders such as Cisco, Principal Funds and SGK, marketers are choosing our innovative solutions to build individual and personal long-term relationships with their customers.”

Actiance Wants to Help Companies Curb Social Media Mistakes

New York politician Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal. Actor Ashton Kutcher's defense of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Former corporate communication director Justine Sacco's racist comment.

If mistakes like these have taught us nothing else, it's that social media can create viral reactions that linger on and on. It also proves that, contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

What are the consequences?  In an office environment, not only is a job on the line for the offending employee, but companies can easily find themselves at the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by the offended worker.

What's worse, many companies have yet to establish social media polices — and even some that do adopt policies find they may violate federal labor laws.

Googlebot Imposters Attack, Hack and Spam Your Site

2014-24-JULY-SPIDERBOT.jpgContent producers spend a lot of time worrying about Google's search algorithms. But maybe it's time to think less about how frequently Google crawls your site — and more about the potential damage from evil Googlebot imposters, who assume Googlebot’s identity to gain privileged access to websites and online information.

According to new research released today by Incapsula, a web security firm, millions of these “evil twins” are used for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, hacking, spam, content theft and other shady activities on a daily basis.

Marc Gaffan, Incapsula’s co-founder and Chief Business Officer, shared a disturbing statistic. "For every 25 Googlebots that visit your site, you will also be visited by a fake Googlebot," he said.

Why worry? Because more than 23 percent of these fake Googlebots are designed to wreak havoc on your website.

LinkedIn's New Marketing Tool Offers Testing, Personalization

Marketers using LinkedIn as a tool can now personalize and test content in the newsfeed without having to originate posts on their LinkedIn company page, the professional social media network announced today.

An expansion of LinkedIn's "sponsored updates" product, the new solution is called "direct sponsored content."

Sponsored updates are LinkedIn native advertisements, where company-created content is distributed to targeted audiences on the site. To assist companies with creating and distributing sponsored updates, two new kinds of content marketing partners were created in April — sponsored update partners and content partners.

Enterprises Still Crippled By Document Management Chaos

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Even with the vacations, there is still some notable news in the document management space — and not all of it is good.

Docurated this week discovered that enterprises are still drowning in content and documents despite the large number of vendors that have introduced apps to manage both.

And both Kodak and Parascript released or upgraded new capture solutions and M-Files upgraded its mobile apps. 

Should You Be One of Facebook's 1.5 Million Marketers?

digital marketing, Should You Be One of Facebook's 1.5 Million Marketers?

Facebook's total revenue grew to more than $2.9 billion and advertising revenue climbed 67 percent from a year ago, its CEO said in a earnings conference call last night.

And for its growth, Facebook thanks the 30 million small businesses and its 1.5 million active marketers who use the world's No. 1 social media platform.

"To continue delivering the best returns for marketers, we’ve been very focused on improving the quality of the ad experiences for our community," CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) said. "Our goal here is to make ads as interesting and useful as your friends' content on Facebook. We're investing heavily in this area, and this quarter we launched a number of efforts to improve the quality and relevance of our ads, including our new ads preferences tool, interest-based advertising and improvements to News Feed designed to reduce low-quality content."

CMSWire Tweet Jam: The Omnichannel Challenge #CXMChat

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Customers have as many paths to interact with your brand as you have fingers on your hands. So what can businesses do to provide a seamless experience no matter what channel they're on — and is this even possible? Find out at this month's Tweet Jam!

Retailers Face Challenges, But With Effort Comes Rewards

2014-24-July-Pittsburgh-Bicycle-Challenge.jpgThe term “channel” in a retail context has as many meanings as the disparate paths between merchant and consumer. As the variety of channels continues to grow — online, offline, mobile, kiosk, call center, website, store — retailers are challenged with meeting the expectations of consumers who pick and choose channels as their needs demand. Retailers want to provide these consumers with a consistent and seamless experience — many explicitly claiming strategies to enable an "omnichannel experience" — but converting the intention into crisp execution has significant challenges.

TubeMogul, YuMe Could Benefit from Ad Budget Shifts

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Last week’s successful IPO from Emeryville, Calif.-based TubeMogul, provider of a digital video ad platform, shined the spotlight back on other players in the sector, including Redwood City, Calif.-based competitor YuMe.

Both companies are poised to benefit from major brands shifting more of their TV advertising spending to the digital video market.

While the video ad market today is worth about $5 billion — relatively tiny in comparison to $197 billion spent worldwide on TV ads — it’s estimated to be expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 30 percent, driven by brands wanting to further extend their presence to where viewers are these days.

The Mobile Enterprise Exists, But Successes Are Few and Far Between

Mobile Enterprise, 2014-24-July-Marbles.jpgThe mobile enterprise has some roadblocks standing in the way from moving from an ideal to a reality. I recently wrote about how a lack of enterprise mobile apps will prolong the realization of the anytime, anywhere workplace. But the dearth of apps is only one reason for the delay. Another reason is a lack of clearly defined business use cases for mobile devices. Organizations are sailing in uncharted mobile enterprise waters today, with few proven successes to emulate.

The bulk of use cases that have surfaced emphasize generic mobile device capabilities, but do not demonstrate clear return on investment (ROI). Some examples include enabling executives to access documents or videoconference with colleagues when away from their desks, and enabling mobile employees to "connect" from coffee shops or from home.

One Consultant's Approach to a Small SharePoint Cleanup

A pilot SharePoint cleanup project is straightforward. A consultant facilitating a small project to clean up a company’s SharePoint intranet can reach the lessons learned phase with a few basic tools.

Recall the mantra: simple is elegant.

Salesforce Unveils Sales Reach with New Tools for Mobile

"Instant marketing and selling." That's the idea behind Salesforce's new Sales Reach offering, announced today. 

It combines the Salesforce1 Sales Cloud, marketing automation suite Pardot and Communities into on-the-spot marketing and selling tools. Salesforce1, announced last fall, is described by the company as its "next-generation social, mobile and cloud customer platform" with more APIs and options for mobile development and cloud development.

Did Forrester Get Its Digital Experience Wave Right?

customer experience, Did Forrester Get Its Digital Experience Wave Right?

If it hasn't sunk in yet for digital experience providers, let's remind them: Forrester sees no leaders in digital experience delivery platforms.

The results came from the research giant's first Forrester Wave for Digital Experience Delivery Platforms. So why no leader? 

CMSWire asked Forrester Wave authors Stephen Powers, vice president and research director, and analysts Anjali Yakkundi and Mark Grannan.

Choose the Right Path to Mobile

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We're more than halfway through 2014 — the year when mobile usage will surpass desktop computing — but many marketers and technologists are still scratching their heads about the best way to create a satisfying experience for mobile customers.

"Mobile is going to be there all the time. It's going to be in your face. So, really, are you ready for that?," asked Fred Faulkner, director of marketing and digital strategist for ICF Interactive (formerly CITYTECH). During a CMSWire webinar yesterday, he fired off a series of questions to mobile minded managers on the call. (Watch the Webinar)

"Are we ready for the 2.3 billion people who are going to be using smartphones by 2017? Are we ready for the fact that, of the smartphone users today, 62 percent are expecting a mobile friendly website?," he asked.

Oracle Release Breaks Down Data Silos

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Oracle has just come good on the BlueKai acquisition, but probably not in a way anyone really expected.

Yes, Oracle was going to use BlueKai’s database of 700 million consumer profiles to improve its marketing technology. But Oracle has taken this one step further and is using it to improve the performance of all its data-centric applications.

Oracle will do this through its newly released Oracle Data Cloud, a Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform that enables business users drive more competitive action from their data. For data junkies, it also offers the potential of unsiloed access to data located inside and outside the enterprise.

Q2/Q3 Planning: Top Marketing Technology, Social Business Conferences & Events (23-July-14)

Our industry event planner gives you the heads-up on what key industry events are coming around the corner. If we've missed something, don't hesitate to add your event to the list. (You can also view the full calendar here.)

CMSWire Tweet Jam July 24: Omnichannel Experience Challenges & Practices #CXMChat

We'll look at the variety of ways to communicate and collect feedback from customers across multiple marketing channels.
 

> Register Now

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Want Engaged Employees? Show Them the Big Picture

2014-23-July-Big-Picture.jpgWhether they're building rockets, smartphones, microprocessors or cars, large organizations are under extreme pressure in today’s competitive environment. They are struggling to get the most from their people, generate more innovative ideas than their competitors, become more efficient and effective and — of course — bring their products to market faster than anyone else.

Within this landscape, the recent social business technologies have been recognized for their ability to drive productivity. McKinsey estimates employee productivity can be increased 25 percent through adoption of social technologies and establishing a "networked enterprise."

But little has been said about the unintended, long-term benefit of adopting an innovative social platform — the ability to connect employee's work to the bigger business strategy. 

What Television Can Teach Us About Digital Innovation

2014-23-July-Kevin-Spacey.jpgOn June 25, Aereo lost a huge battle in the Supreme Court which pitted established broadcast networks against the online streaming start-up.

A quick recap: Aereo is a company that lets consumers stream live TV over the internet. The Supreme Court shut them down for copyright infringement, saying Aereo antennas were redistributing private content without permission. The media is calling it the death of technological innovation in the television industry.

But here’s the thing: they're wrong.