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Workplace Lessons From a Beehive

2014-24-October-Beekeepers.jpgWhat could a company learn from a beehive? After my first three months as a beekeeper and seven years in the CMS industry, I've found out the answer — quite a bit.

Consumer Packaged Goods: Stay Ahead of the Digital Marketing Curve

2014-24-October-Serpentine-Benches.jpgFor many years, consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers didn't have much need to be on the cutting edge of digital innovation. But this is no longer the case, as the CPG industry now leverages digital technology to its full capacity. In areas such as mobile commerce and mobile measurement, it’s even ahead of the curve. And we’re continuing to move in the right direction: eMarketer projects that US CPG digital ad spending will top $4 billion in 2014 — proof that the package goods industry has recognized the competitive edge entering the digital age gives marketers.

Sold! 5 Salesforce Apps to Transform Your Sales Team

2014-24-October-Auction.jpgAs a testament to Salesforce’s popularity, more than 100,000 sales professionals traveled to San Francisco for Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual conference for customers and end users. A diverse group of business leaders, politicians and artists gave keynotes, but the focus for most attendees was how to make their own operation better by using Salesforce.com and the tools and applications that can be integrated with the system.

The Truth About Competitive Analysis

2014-23-October-Pitch.jpgAs I write this, the World Series is about to get underway, which reminds me of a famous quote by Satchel Paige, one of the greatest baseball pitchers in history:

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

And think about how a runner on first base can disrupt the pitcher’s concentration from throwing a strike to a batter.

The result in both cases? Distraction from what you’re trying to accomplish.

Big Data Projects: Developing Vision and Business Requirements

2014-23-October-Waiting.jpgDeveloping a big data program requires alignment of the objectives of the initiative with the needs of the business. Usually it is the other way around — start with business needs. Because many of these programs are stood up by the technology organization, the business may not have enough understanding of what is possible to articulate their needs in a big data context.

Unleash the Power of Captured Video at Work

2014-23-October-Filming.jpgWith a dispersed workforce in an increasingly competitive landscape, valuable data needs to be shared faster and knowledge sharing can no longer be contained to four walls. Experts need to be able to defy distance and address teams of employees that may not all be sitting in the same place. They need asynchronous communications. Some may be in cubicles or conference rooms, others in their homes or cars. It doesn't matter where they are, they need to connect.

Gain a Competitive Edge Through Big Data: 4 Use Cases

2014-22-October-Rainy-Day-Race.jpgToday’s data-driven companies have a competitive edge over their peers. How? They are generating breakthrough insights by bringing together all of their structured and unstructured data and analyzing it together.

When you can analyze a large amount of data as a single set — rather than separate silos — you can uncover significant insights that would be impossible to get from traditional business intelligence. And it’s these breakthrough insights that are giving companies a serious competitive advantage.

Yet while most organizations understand the value of analyzing big data to stay ahead of the curve, they often struggle to apply these data insights to business situations that matter most. So what are the most lucrative and effective use cases for big data analytics?

Location Data Fuels the Future of Marketing

2014-22-October-Need-Caffeine.jpgWe've been hearing about location-based advertising in digital marketing since the mass adoption of smartphones in the late 2000s. Five years ago, marketers targeted ads based on broad data, such as a specific city where a consumer was located. Fast forward to 2014, and we've put those efforts in overdrive. Some technologies can now locate consumers down to the exact product they are perusing in a store.

It's being called “hyper-local” data, and it’s an exciting asset for digital marketers. Everyone from Facebook to Comcast is trying to get a piece of the hyper-local pie in order to make their messages, ads and information more individually relevant for consumers.

Young, Rich and Online: Digital Lives of Affluent Customers

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If you think luxury marketers have a monopoly on the affluent consumer market, think again. With higher spending power, extensive and growing use of the Internet for pre-purchase research and buying, and an open attitude toward native and sponsored content, the affluent consumer market is a goldmine for both mainstream and luxury digital marketers, reveals a new report.

The Martini Report: The Affluent Audience Online (Vol. 1: Autos and the Elite), conducted by Martini Mediaand Ipsos MediaCT, is the first in a series of quarterly studies focused on digital habits and spending of consumers with $75,000 or more of household income.

Security Today: Dynamic Access, Permissions, Encryption

2014-22-October-Security.jpgContent security is top of mind these days. Every week brings news of yet another data breach, with companies large and small making the news for all the wrong reasons.

Many of these breaches occurred because of a failure to maintain base level security or enterprise data. Although structured databases are a treasure trove of sensitive information, most database systems offer many layers of protection with the advantage that the database itself remains, usually on IT-managed infrastructure.

Security controls are potentially more critical for unstructured content — because file-based information is insanely portable and moveable with modern devices and always-on connections. It’s important to consider content security in light of the more recent history of enterprise security. For a long time, security has been defined by borders and boxes.

The Customer Intent Wake Up Call

2014-21-October-Alarm-Clock.jpgAs companies evaluate their growth strategies for the New Year, the conversation ultimately comes down to which set of dials to turn. Does the company invest in more sales people, product features or marketing programs?

Companies aspiring to be customer-aligned add a few more dials to the conversation — what should the chief customer officer be measured on, beef up the customer success team, invest in employee engagement / culture initiatives, innovate their customer engagement strategy, and/or shift from a product-feature-pushing sales model to a services-selling-path?

What all of these dials have in common is that they focus on the customer. Except each dial reflects an organizational silo that is focused on a slice of the customer experience — none focus on the whole customer. Revenue growth depends on the organization’s ability to understand how to detect, decipher and act on the customers’ perspective of their intent.

What to Do When Yammer Adoption Stalls

2014-21-October-Stuck.jpgPlenty of companies have early success with Yammer. And then it stalls. Or they hit growing pains and the early enthusiasm wanes.

This scenario can happen to any enterprise social network (ESN), but it seems most pronounced in Yammer, partly because Yammer has such a large market share, but also because its freemium model means that the usual business-case test criteria (and the useful thinking that goes with it) can get bypassed.

Look Before You Leap Into the Big Data Revolution

2014-21-October-Pre-Jump.jpgLike the proverbial elephant and five blind men, big data looks different depending on who's describing it: from holy grail for information in society, to dangerous step toward a world in which people are treated based on predictions of what they are likely to do instead of what they actually do. While neither of these extremes may turn out to be our future, big data is obviously more than a passing fad, and will be defined ultimately not by what it is but by what is done with it and what it does to those at whom it is directed.

SaaS Support Best Practices: The Seamless Approach

2014-20-October-Free-Advice.jpgAs more and more companies look to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a way to increase agility and control costs, many technology vendors are evolving their solution sets to include a SaaS offering. When vendors do this, they must recognize that their customer support organizations will become critical to customer satisfaction and retention. As the primary point of contact in an ongoing customer relationship, support must develop and maintain stronger and deeper relationships with customers. Failure to do so will inevitably result in higher churn.

Is Your Information Architecture Ready for SharePoint 2013?

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SharePoint Administrators will naturally focus on the infrastructure side of a migration to SharePoint 2013, but migration is also the perfect time to reevaluate your information architecture (IA) and prepare it for this new and improved version of SharePoint.

Busy People Need Help, Not Interruptions

Getting attention is getting harder. The Web is a place where busy people do things. Help them, don’t disrupt them. 

Content Targeting: It's the I's and O's, Not the 1's and 0's

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There’s no mistake that personalization and delivering contextual content to consumers across digital content platforms is a hot topic with marketers. As content and delivery of it in an omnichannel universe becomes an imperative that no brand can ignore, the need to target it to a specific audience (or even an individual) is becoming a business must-do.

The challenge, of course, is that consumers have learned about this as well. And their ability to filter out the noise and focus on the signal makes it increasingly hard for marketers to reach them.

Just Because You Can Steal Content Doesn't Mean You Should

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You just finished preparing your first presentation for that big seminar at the annual meeting with the coolest pictures you could find on Google images and Flicker, the slickest YouTube videos and the hottest tracks from Pandora. You’re all set, right?

Not so fast, according to Gretchen Klebasko, associate general counsel and managing director of Intellectual Property at Legg Mason. While those sites offer a wealth of media for the asking, much of the material may be considered pirated if you use it. The legal problems begin with the difference between “free to view” versus “free to use.”

The Copyright Clearance Center’s overly wordy titled webinar: “Video, Music and Text, Oh My…Managing Copyright Compliance in a Multimedia World,” does a good job of explaining those differences in plain language. It also explains how to avoid the plethora of media materials that could get an individual or a company in legal hot water.

Klebasko has an impressive litigation background, but stuck with lay-language and delivered helpful information in a succinct presentation that doesn’t talk down to the participants. (Her full disclosure includes Legg Mason’s “wonderful working relationship with CCC.”)

Office Graph From a Partner's Perspective

2014-17-October-Sidecar.jpgWhen Microsoft showcased the power of Office Graph through Project Oslo, the Microsoft partner community collectively wondered about extensibility and API access. But as with many Microsoft products, it will take the greater partner community to push Office Graph into the mainstream.

To explore this dynamic, I spoke with Yaacov Cohen, CEO of Harmon.ie, to discuss the Microsoft Office Graph reveal and how it will impact the Silicon Valley-based software developer and its product line.

Deliver Big Data in Bite-Sized Pieces with Mainstream Apps

2014-16-October-Squirrel-Lunch.jpgHow can we transform Big Data into the Big Idea that turns into an opportunity in the digital revolution? How can we use this data gleaned from multiple sources and turn it into smart “consumer style” data driven, mainstream apps? The answers aren’t easy.

But without these answers we'll be unable to develop the data driven-apps that analysts are flagging as the next “Big Thing” in the sales and marketing arena.

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