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Businesses Committed to SharePoint, Despite Stalled Deployments

Since Microsoft unveiled SharePoint back in 2001, it has been one of the fastest growing products in the software giant's history. Along with billions of dollars in revenue, the platform now boasts 125 million users and counting.

Businesses first deployed SharePoint as a point solution for document sharing amongst project teams and as a stand in to files-shares. SharePoint proved a capable solution for these challenges and Microsoft has continually added to its capabilities.

But despite its scope, and as with many types of software, it suffers from a perceived lack of user commitment.

Big Data Gets Big Money for Big Reasons

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Companies have been throwing money hand over fist into the predictive analytics, data management and business intelligence world over the last few weeks. And while it would be easy to toss all of these under the "Big Data" umbrella, it's more interesting to look at these deals in light of the challenges that each will solve.

Let's take a quick look at five transactions: $225 million total to Birst, Health Catalyst, Localytics and Ayasdi as well as Apple's recent acquisition of FoundationDB.

Looking at these deals helps show existing analytic and data challenges and where new competitors are coming into the market to partner with and challenge traditional players like Oracle, Teradata, IBM, SAP and Microsoft.

Strategic Leadership Sets CMOs Apart from Heads of Marketing

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The celebration was surely muted when Forrester Research predicted that in 2015, the average tenure for a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) would reach five years. That’s not long, but it’s nearly double the average reported as recently as 2006.

Why are CMOs still being replaced so quickly?

It’s because many still aren’t acting like CMOs, but rather as heads of marketing departments. What’s the difference? Plenty.

Are You Ready for Market Consolidation and MarTech Spending?

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Foundation Capital General Partner Ashu Garg predicts that over the next 10 years, marketers will spend 10 times what they currently spend on marketing technology. Specifically, he wrote in “MarTech and the Decade of the CMO,” that the $12 billion that CMOs currently spend on martech will grow to $120 billion by 2025.

For CMOs, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. We all know that the need for organizations to drive superior customer experiences is greater than ever. Brands need to be personal and contextual, while at the same time being efficient and finding new ways to innovate and differentiate.

Why Choose? Mix and Match Tools to Fit Your Digital Workplace Needs

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Traditional intranets, dominated by top-down corporate communications, are seen as outdated, no longer fit for modern, networked organizations. ESNs, so their champions say, are the way of the future — enabling conversation in a way that’s flexible and responsive, aligned with modern ways of doing business. 

But what the debate should really boil down to is what does it take to create a productive digital workplace?

The CMO's Roadmap for Content Marketing Success

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Almost every marketing leader will tell you that content is essential to sparking meaningful engagement with prospects and customers. But content marketing as a practice is still evolving — marketing teams don’t have a clear blueprint for how much investment to make or how to determine the ROI.

Success takes exploration, dedication and continuous testing. Content marketing is challenging. It takes time to grow your program into a steady and predictable growth engine.

The CMO plays a critical role in content marketing. We need to guide our teams to adopt an analytical approach and help them determine which topics, types, formats and delivery methods will be most effective. We can help content producers and program managers turn ideas into powerful audience-building campaigns.

Here’s how you can lead your team to success.

Simplicity Must Be the Mantra of the Digital Workplace

Employees are reaching a breaking point. They are exhausted and overwhelmed, alienated and disengaged. They are cynical and distrustful. 

What's the Sweet Spot Between Intranets and ESNs?

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A speaker at a recent intranet conference declared “Intranets will be dead within five years.” He waited for the horrified gasp, but none came.

In fact the seasoned audience seemed to agree, at least in the sense that we were all trying to push intranets on from the top-down, publishing paradigm of old. Enterprise social networks (ESNs) have sometimes been positioned as being ideologically at odds with intranets, but in practice most organizations have embraced both (see, for example Jane McConnell’s annual survey).

The more pragmatic question then, is what is the right balance point? 

A Data-Driven Look at the Open Source E-Commerce Market

Retail businesses are moving online in growing numbers. 

Compared to Q4 2013, last quarter’s US online sales rose 14.6 percent to a staggering $79.6 billion dollars. This accounted for 6.7 percent of the total US retail sales market. Major trends fueling this growth include the proliferation of mobile devices, faster online checkout flows and improved fulfillment practices.

The availability of open source e-commerce platforms is helping some offline business with the move online. Much like WordPress provides free, customizable CMS solutions, popular open source e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and PrestaShop offer a variety of pre-built templates and plugins that DIY retailers can customize to build and grow an online business from scratch.

To get a feel for the size of this trend, here’s a current snapshot of the top providers and number of websites they power.

Sales: A Star Player on the CMO's Team

2015-27-March-High-Five.jpgMarketing has changed — we all know that. But the business goals remain the same: to acquire and retain customers.

Well into 2015, marketers are more than ever contributing to that goal by discovering new prospects, filling sales pipelines and driving revenue. Part of accomplishing goals and objectives means all departments within the organization work as a joined force. Most importantly, CMOs must ensure marketing is in lockstep with sales. 

Beware Red Herrings: Intranet vs. ESN is a Sham

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Should I replace my intranet with an Enterprise Social Network?

Internal communications departments have debated this question, as have ESN teams and intranet teams. Maybe they saw higher adoption and engagement on their ESN platform, or read success stories from their peers. Or maybe their tired intranet publishing platform is in desperate need of replacing.

Mobile Performance Anxiety? You're Not Alone

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What can brands do to improve customer relationships on mobile? And why is brand engagement on mobile so important? The answer is rooted in two unavoidable realities.

Customers today are mobile – an IDG Global Mobile Survey last year found that mobile device use is now ubiquitous. Eighty-five percent of 25-34 year olds and 91 percent of 18-24 year olds use applications and social networking sites on their smartphones.

And with digital media consumption on mobile devices overtaking desktops, the choice is black and white: engage with customers through mobile channels or become a relic of the past.

3 Reasons a CMO's Digital Projects Fail

2015-26-March-face-plant.jpgIf you’re a CMO, you know better than anyone how your role has transformed over the past few years. CMOs are no longer an advertising cost center, isolated within their organizations with accountability for secondary digital projects.

Today, they are full-blown digital players, charged with profit and loss and caring for the entire customer lifecycle. If your company has a digital customer-facing project underway, it’s a sure bet that the buck stops with the CMO.

We Need Fewer Information Managers and More Business People

I recently gave a keynote presentation at a records management conference in Salt Lake City on how records managers need to evolve to meet the demands of the changing landscape of corporate information management.

The talk covered a wide range of subjects: from techniques for getting buy in, to the differences between records management and information management, to information management's centrality to front office operations, and how “justifying your existence” is critical for information managers.

But the key theme was to stop being information managers and start being business people.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

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When the Internet came along, optimism was at an all-time high. We thought we would solve all the problems of the world, possibilities were endless.

And granted, we solved many. We work much better today because of the innovations of the last 20 years. The scope of these improvements has been massive. However, one major problem still looms — collaboration in the workplace. Seems like a no-brainer doesn't it? Everyone is connected, so it should be easy to work in unison, splitting tasks and having every specialist do their own thing.

"Should" is the keyword here.

I'm Not the Dammed Newbie Here

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There are few aspects of my professional life that I enjoy less than evaluating enterprise software. Granted, my company sells enterprise software, and I’m in charge of marketing it, so I get the irony here.

But while enterprise software vendors increasingly focus on user experience, we are sorely deficient in prospect experience.

The problem starts like this: I make contact and explain my interests (usually in detail), and then schedule a meeting with someone I presume to have experience with the software. Knowing that everyone’s time is valuable, I do my homework. I do research. I prepare a list of questions. If my questions involve anything more than the basics, I send them ahead of time, just to make sure I give my sales contact the time needed to prepare.

And then comes demo day.

Are These Vendors the Best at Social Media Monitoring?

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Social media marketing can be a lot like email blasts. Send out something, and see if it sticks

We're still in early days here. Many digital marketing teams, especially B2B, still search for that "gotcha" in social media marketing.

"One of the difficult things about using what I call flat metrics as a barometer for success is that there isn't often an actionable next step," said Erin Robbins O’Brien, chief operating officer at San Francisco-based GinzaMetrics, which just released a social intelligence suite. 

"For instance, a tweet receiving a high volume of retweets is often not analyzed for how it worked, who it worked for — in terms of audience segmentation/persona group — and if it would have worked on other channels or just Twitter. This means marketers aren't able to harness the good and fix the bad as easily."

Vendors claim they make these fixes. And where there are vendors, therein lies software rankings.

G2 Crowd, the Chicago-based crowdsourcing platform that provides user-review based reports on business software, released its Grid for Social Media Monitoring today. At least 10 users must have submitted reviews/ratings on a vendor for it to be mentioned in the report. The report looks at customer satisfaction (based on user reviews) and market presence (based on market share, vendor size and social impact).

How accurate are they? Like any reviews, take them with a few grains of salt.

Do We Expect Too Much of CMOs?

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You may have noticed that the relationship between buyer and seller is in major flux. This turmoil impacts the position tasked with leading firms’ marketing efforts and held responsible for leading firms’ marketing efforts — the CMO. Today’s Chief Marketing Officer tops a pyramid of people, technology and behavioral science focused on getting the brand’s message to its intended audience in order to convince that audience to buy.

Many CMOs are finding it difficult to shoulder the blizzard of responsibilities descending on their desks. The CMO’s average tenure is just 45 months — considerably shorter than their CEO, CFO and CTO counterparts. 

Given this level of turnover, it’s fair to ask why, with all the new and sophisticated technological resources available, so many CMOs can’t seem to get their feet on the ground.

Cracking the Code on Personalization

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It’s no secret that customer experience is a big deal. Companies who are great at it win, those who fall short, lose. While we have the necessary data to improve that experience in ways that increase loyalty and drive sales, there’s a discrepancy between what shoppers want and what brands deliver.

At the core of that? Personalization. It’s essential to success as a digital brand, yet, while our dictionaries may have agreed on its meaning — ”to design or tailor to meet an individual’s specifications, needs or preferences” — things get far trickier out in the digital marketing world.

Forget Intranets, Give Me an ESN

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We heard it all a decade ago: Intranets are the wave of the future. Intranets are a waste of resources. Intranets are valuable tools. Intranets need to be social. Intranets are dead.

The only thing that's true is that Intranets need to solve an actual problem. Many organizations wanted an Intranet to replicate a little of the Internet inside their organization. Very few asked why they needed one.

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