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Collecting information on customers is nothing new. But the quantity, variety and method of communications today makes for a slightly larger animal than the old surveys or focus groups. What started as a drop has become a deluge.    

This week we got some practical advice on how to tame that deluge to feed informed marketing campaigns. We heard why some of those campaigns fail, were led down the path of a customer journey and heard how all of these complexities are forcing changes in how we approach our work. 

Swimming in a Sea of Data

How to Untangle the Data Deluge

Phil Kemelor (@philkemelor):When did web analytics officially die? Perhaps a good benchmark was earlier this year when the Web Analytics Association renamed itself to the Digital Analytics Association to recognize that there is a lot more to the digital world than fixed web and that social and mobile channels also needed to be added to the mix. 

5 Tips to Improving Marketing Campaigns Using Data

Anil Batra (@anilbatra):Marketers spend millions of dollars on digital marketing campaigns every day. Analytics help marketers get the most of out of every dollar spent and drive great benefits for them and their organization. Data collected at each step of the way to conversion can help marketers and their agencies in optimizing each campaign's performance. Below I've outlined five tips on how to use the data to optimize marketing campaigns. 

The New Data Savvy Adaptive Marketing

Julie Hunt (@juliebhunt):Marketers for many organizations are facing evolutionary pressures to transform marketing practices and processes to the always-on state of Adaptive Marketing, a new iteration of direct marketing that wants to engender a unique brand experience for individual customers. 

At the heart of Adaptive Marketing is a customer-focused organization that is committed to constantly re-craft product offerings, sales initiatives and marketing tactics to match individual customer needs and wants. Adaptive Marketing is fueled by a matrix of customer intelligence analytics and maps into enabling continuously improved customer experiences.

Leveraging the Volume, Variety and Velocity of Business Data for Effective Marketing

Andrew Joiner: Analysts predict that within a few years, the CMO will have a larger IT budget than the CIO. Why is that? It’s because marketing is increasingly becoming a data-driven exercise and the organizations that can best understand and act on information will win the hearts and minds of customers.

Customers Know What They Like, Do You?

Lost at 'Like': The 10 Reasons Brands Fail to Convert Facebook Fans into Paying Customers

Mark Simpson (@markj_simpson): According to HubSpot, 93 percent of adults on the Internet are on Facebook, yet only one percent of a brand’s Facebook fans will ever make their way to the company’s main website.

Many blame their low conversion rates on Facebook: “Facebook ads don’t work.” “I have a ton of likes but it doesn’t mean anything because I’m not making money.” “I keep posting things but I’m not getting many views.” Few, however, look to their own efforts for answers. And even fewer put a strategy in place to convert this highly active audience into highly engaged Web site visitors.

User Personas: Know Your Customer

Lori McNabb: If you’re building an interactive experience or redesigning an existing one, there's one thing you can’t get away from: personas. 

Eight Ways to Use Embeddable Apps and Microsites to Your Advantage

Jim Belosic (@shortstacklab):  There’s a new trend emerging in the way brands approach their social media content. Previously, if a brand wanted to create an app for a website or social network, the app had to be designed specifically for that location. That meant lots of content duplication and extra time and expense. Today brands can have all that same great content in a central place, and distribute it across multiple channels using embeddable apps and microsites.

Web Content Management Systems: Reinvented

Felipe Rubim (@frubim): Last August I was lucky enough to spend a week in Munich, Germany at the recent DrupalCon conference. While there I heard a lot of stories about European and global companies assessing their web content management systems (Web CMS) and looking to move towards more comprehensive web experience management (WEM) strategy implementations.

When hearing those stories, it is important to consider how companies are perceiving and measuring the value of WEM implementations. Cost, simplicity and flexibility are particularly important to a successful rollout when a Web CMS is involved. 

Translation in the Cloud

Rob Vandenberg (@robvandenberg): People expect translations to happen at the speed and accuracy of a Star Trek Universal Translator. Unfortunately, that time is not here yet, but we are approaching it quickly. 

Interview: VMware's Eric Nielsen on Engaging a Community of 2 Million with Gamification

David Coleman (@dcoleman100): I recently had time to interview Eric Nielsen, the director of Social Media and Communities at VMware. Eric has responsibility for the external community of VMware which has about two million people. My conversation with him was focused on this as well as the integration of gamification into his communities.

Customer Experience: From Customer Satisfaction to Customer Action

Gerry McGovern (@gerrymcgovern): On the Web we need to measure whether customers are actually successful, not whether they are satisfied. 

How To: Adding Depth to User Experience (UX) with Generalists and Hybrids

Stephen Fishman (@trivoca): In Part 1 of this "UX How To" article I explained the families of roles within the user experience discipline; UX Specialists, UX Generalists and Hybrids. The Specialists, from research, strategy, design and front-end development, were covered in detail. Generalists and Hybrids float above and in-between. If UX is a discipline of science and art, Generalists are those who harness the talent within a business context. Hybrids are those who create possibility by successfully merging two thought patterns into one.

Tools That Small Businesses Can't Live Without

Blake Landau (@blakelandau): This is a new column focused on helping small business owners run their businesses more efficiently.

There are too many tools out there. Let’s face it. Many small business owners don’t have time to waste on tools that don’t work. This series will help you save money and improve productivity by providing results-proven tools that other business owners had success with.

A Complex Work World Demands Simple Solutions

The Digital Workplace: The Need for Good Practices in a Complex Work Environment

Oscar Berg (@oscarberg): Today's workforce has a growing number of tools at their disposal to communicate, collaborate and get work done. But there is a concurrent increase in workflow complexity, which, left unmanaged, results in time lost and inefficiencies. It's time to bridge the gap between the two.

How to Establish SharePoint Business Needs

Frederik Leksell (@letstalkgov): There are many ways to gather project requirements: most utilized are the traditional “post-it” workshops, brainstorming and interviews. But can you be sure that you get the right requirements that solve your business needs when using these techniques? Probably not.

My own experience tells me that “new” ways are needed for how we gather requirements.

And that's a wrap for this week. Hope you all survived Dreamforce, check in again next week for the conclusion of our turning data into marketing action focus.

Title image courtesy of Ziga Camernik (Shutterstock)