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This Tech Worker Has the Best Chief Title. Ever.

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Meet Firas Raouf. Chief Something or Other of Xink.

Seriously. That's his title.

And we love it.

The tech executive of the Boston-based email signature management and campaign tool took the title basically to prove this point: He doesn't need one.

Nor does anyone in his company. They need to get stuff done and sell product — and not worry about who's named what.

"We want to be innovative," Raouf said of the 12-employee company, whose roots date back to 2007. "We want to break away from the norm of the past. We are a virtual company with employees spread over multiple cities and countries. We all wear multiple hats, and we all collaborate to get what needs to get done, done. We wanted our titles to be non-titles. There is no hierarchy."

Thankful for Louis Prima, Customer Honesty, Personalization and More

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Family and health. Are there any more reasons to be thankful this time of year?

Um, yes.

OK, the first two are the most important. But I gotta say, I'm starting to be more and more thankful for other things. The ability to switch from rapper Pitbull's Pandora station to trumpeter Louis Prima's in seconds. The new Taco Bell breakfast menu (no shame here; it's delicious). And the San Francisco Giants giving my beloved Red Sox good players.

Techies are feeling thankful this time of year, too. So are digital marketers, as you'll see in another story published here today. We caught up with some tech managers and CEOs about what's making them thankful this year:

The Psychology of Personalization

2014-26-November-Personality.jpgLet's get right to the punchline, and then back it up with some facts. Automated personalization and the human touch are complementary, but systems will improve and automated personalization will handle more and more of the personalized interactions with customers. It’s not only because automated personalization is more efficient. Sometimes the results are better when human-to-human psychological baggage is subtracted from the equation.

Personality Matters in Customer Service

Mike Ashe has a philosophy about CRM: “If we’re right more often than we’re wrong then we’re going to beat random.”

By that, he’s referring to the analytics behind his company Mattersight's Predictive Behavioral Routing which “predicts which (customer service) agent is best-suited to handle the next call based on individual customer behavioral data and agent performance data.”

Are Your Processes Customer-Focused?

2014-26-November-Nesting-Doll.jpgWhen business leaders turn their focus toward processes, they often do so with an eye on becoming more efficient in how they handle payroll, manage finances or generate and distribute reports.

While it’s true that these routine tasks need to run smoothly, companies that look at processes solely as a way to improve the quality of a project or improve lead time, are missing a golden opportunity to positively affect the customer experience and spark innovation within their company. So says David Hamme, author of the book "Customer Focused Process Innovation," and managing director of Ephesus Consulting.

Smarter Advertising Strategies for Facebook

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Facebook may be a source of daily amusement (or annoyance) for many, but it’s also a growing and evolving advertising platform for businesses.

Recent changes to the social media giant, including the decision to shut the like gate, are changing the way Facebook advertisers do business.

Experts say businesses who want to use Facebook effectively to attract customers are increasingly going to need some new strategies in their toolbox.

B2B Organizations Still Not Sold on Social Selling

Most B2B organizations do not embrace social as a legitimate sales channel. And even less are offering training on social selling to sales professionals.

Those are some of the findings of PeopleLinx's November survey of 254 B2B professionals on how they and their companies view social in the sales cycle. PeopleLinx offers a social selling platform.

Only 22 percent of organizations encourage sales professionals to use social as one of their channels, and only 11 percent of companies offer training on social selling.

"I think that tells the whole story," said Michael Idinopulos, chief marketing officer for Philadelphia-based PeopleLinx. "There is a real opportunity here. A lot of research says that sales reps that use social selling outperform their peers, but companies are not yet leading the charge with their employees."

Drones' Uncertain Legal Status May Be Ending for Companies

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Current Federal Aviation Administration policy allows recreational drone flights in the US but essentially bans it for commercial application. It does, however, give case-by-case approvals or waivers for certain commercial applications.

That permissiveness may be about to come to an end, much to business's chagrin, as the FAA plans to propose strict rules for commercial use of drones in the coming weeks. This is not an issue that consumers are likely to rally behind once the FAA does release its proposal — a recent survey shows that most Americans are against allowing businesses to fly drones anywhere they please.

Salesforce Social Studio Targets Organizational Silos

Salesforce unveiled its Social Studio marketing platform inside its ExactTarget Marketing Cloud in May, which brought together $3.4 billion worth of acquisitions in a platform for social content marketing, engagement, publishing and analytics.

The platform gets a boost this month as the San Francisco CRM giant released enhancements to its Social Studio that include the ability to deliver messages to customers across the Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud from one platform.

Organizational Ego and The Trust Crisis

You get the website you deserve. Your website instantly tells your customer about your brand and culture.

Week in Review: Web CMS Trends + Why Facebook Won't Work

Death by PowerPoint
Why some sales training sessions don't make the cut.

What's Trending in Web CMS? 
Seven hot topics from the J. Boye Denmark event.

Open Source vs. Proprietary Collaboration
If so many people like open source, why aren't they adopting?

Facebook Won't Work 
Facebook at Work: why it's going to fail.

Big Investment in Big Data
It may not be the next big thing, but big data's hardly over.

Hush Hush for Gartner
Gartner really doesn't want to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding its Magic Quadrant reports.

Forbes Insights: Customers for Life
Technology strategies for attracting and keeping customers.
Download the Report

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Would You Pay to Not See Google Ads?

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Who would have thought it? Google will now let you pay to avoid seeing its ads. Through a new service called Contributor, launched last night, Internet users can opt-out of Google ads for a fee of $1 to $3 dollars a month.

Participants will see a thank you message instead of the ads on participating websites, including Mashable, ScienceDaily and The Onion.

Customer Service Isn't Personal if it Isn't Based on Trust

2014-21-November-Trust.jpgOnline business is fast paced and at times chaotic. Before making purchasing decisions, consumers draw from extensive touch points, such as previous experiences, recommendations from peers, personal research and brand marketing. While brands work hard to win customers over with complex marketing strategies and last-minute deals, the customer experience itself can often fade into the background. But businesses that take the time to personalize customer engagement and respond individually to support inquiries can encourage a customer’s trust throughout his or her relationship with the company, which establishes an invaluable connection between brand and consumer.

News Bites: Launches and Platforms, Releases and Integrations

The latest in accessing, managing, joining, designing, rewarding, capturing, attributing, digitizing and widgeting from the City of Love and the Old Line State, La-La Land, Puritan City, the Fourth City, Shaky Town, the Five Boroughs and the dirtiest little town west of the Mississippi, the 'Loo and Watch City.

Optimizing the Customer Journey for the Game of Life

2014-20-November-Game-of-Life.jpgFor many marketers, current personalization efforts are like spinning the wheel in the Game of Life: you never know what you’re going to get. Today’s customers are willing to provide us with detailed information beyond the color of their car or how many pegs are in the back seat, and it’s up to marketers to use this data to craft the right message. Improving personalization to deliver useful, relevant content is the best way for both the marketer and customer to feel like they’ve landed on a pay day.

CMSWire Tweet Jam: Putting the Person in Personalization #CXMChat

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Automation — marketers love it, customers hate it.

While automation may provide a seamless experience some of the time, a lot is to be said about personal attention.

So, how can companies put the person back in personalization while also using the automation techniques marketers have come to adore? Find out at our November Tweet Jam!

'Death by PowerPoint' and Other Sales Training Fails [Infographic]

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Earlier this year I was at an annual two-day sales training event for a global software company. The venue, meals and entertainment had been painstakingly planned to ensure everyone had a memorable time. Unfortunately the actual training portion of the event was not so memorable.

Based on roles, tenure and a self-assessment, each sales team member was given a curriculum of mandatory training classes to attend.

External experts as well as internal employees from product marketing, sales enablement, marketing and sales operations taught the classes. The goal was to improve sales productivity and achieve a target level of skill consistency across geographic regions.

According to the senior director of sales training, “Curriculums provide personalized training paths so each person builds the right skills they need to be successful.” The training team spent a year on the content, the curriculums and pedagogy in hopes sales would be engaged, motivated and retain more of the information.

The whole training event sounded great on paper except that it lacked a key ingredient: how sales wants to consume information.

Personalized Marketing Can Help Build Lifetime Customers

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Whether they're buying car insurance or professional-grade skis, customers go through cycles of exploring, researching and purchasing. The most successful companies plot the purchasing cycle for every individual customer and tailor their messaging accordingly.

This degree of customized marketing requires effort, notably talking with customers to understand their wants, needs and preferences.

But in an increasingly digital world, brands rarely, if ever, interact with their customers face-to-face. Instead, companies must collect, connect and action the information they can gather about consumers from their online brand interactions to make the experience more personal and, ultimately, more profitable.

Are You Offering a Personalized Journey or a Guided Path?

2014-18-November-Disconnected.jpgHave you tried to get a real, live person on the other end of the phone lately? After pressing 20 buttons on the phone’s keypad to navigate through a labyrinth of menu options, you will likely find yourself still on hold. This familiar scenario illustrates how companies are struggling to find the balance between data-driven efficiencies —automated, generalized responses — and customer expectations for a personalized experience —the actual answer they are looking for from a living, breathing human on the other end of the phone or chat session.

Why Digital Marketing is Like Hockey #EVOLVE14

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Entrepreneur Ira Lessack kicked off the annual Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) conference by posing an interesting question to a panel of experts. Digital marketing has been discussed for years now, he noted, but where is it on a hockey stick curve?

For a variety of reasons, the consensus of those on stage agreed it remains near the bottom of the stick, a refreshingly candid view that may set the tone for the Evolve'14 conference that runs through tomorrow in San Diego.

"I think we're somewhere down towards the bottom," said Roy Fielding, senior principal scientist for Adobe. He said digital marketers have gotten very good at starting to analyze where they need more data, "but we haven't quite reached the point where we're able to communicate with others. So I think we need to focus more on the ability not just to perceive the data, but to understand it."

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