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Does the Apple Watch Signal a Post-Browser World?

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The pre-orders are in, launch day is set and the Apple fanboys are lining up. On April 24 the Apple Watch will officially be available to the public.

But the fanboys aren’t the only ones watching out for this launch — marketers are keeping their eyes on the Apple Watch too. It's billed as “an intimate and immediate communication device" which, for any marketer, suggests a goldmine of opportunities to connect with consumers on a device that is literally attached to them during most hours of the day.

How to Navigate the Collaboration Seas

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While companies were busy evaluating the benefits of ESNs, their employees went ahead and implemented their own systems.

Enterprise social networks (ESN) were born from a fusion of commercial networks like Facebook and enterprise content management systems. They aimed to increase collaboration among geographically dispersed workforces, as well as improve information transparency and visibility.

Many ESNs provide a browser-based, mobile-friendly system with familiar, consumer-market features — like tagging and group sites — integrated with the traditional enterprise content management (ECM) capabilities. Companies such as Microsoft, Jive and Huddle capitalized on this market, providing organizations with systems aimed at achieving these goals.

Get Ready for Apple Watch Wearing Employees

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1.2 million pre-orders of your newest wearable product in one day, resulting in $627 million on the books is not a bad day’s work.  

While the debates will continue on what the actual sales figures are for Apple Watch and other wearables, the real point is this: Apple Watch is creating a defining moment for wearables, as they cross over from technology gadgets to mass device consumption.

And what’s significant about mass adoption is that, in the age of consumerism, when it happens in the consumer base, enterprise adoption isn't far behind.    

It’s not just about Apple Watch sales, it’s also about the fact that its success will pull competing products into the market. They say a rising tide raises all boats. 

With the April 24 release date rapidly approaching, IT organizations don’t have much time to think through and adjust their policies (unless you plan on disabling Wifi and Bluetooth access on all your iPhones). 

So here are five things to consider when preparing your organization for this first wave of wearables about to bombard your enterprise.

When It's Time to Purge Your Content

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Organizations know they need to reduce storage consumption by purging data. And a new generation of analytics and classification technologies have been riding this wave of concern about unchecked storage growth.

This isn't a case of a made up problem created by software marketers and talking heads: every client I've spoken with in the past three years has cited the exponential growth of storage as a major concern for IT leadership.

But like the public response to climate change, ubiquitous concern for data growth has not led to meaningful action. Why?

11 Ways to Ruin Your CMS Project Without Even Trying

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Your web traffic is a vital factor, maybe even the most important one, in generating sales leads for your business. According to Stanford University, 75 percent of people judge the credibility of a company on the design of its website. That’s why it’s such a big deal when your company decides to overhaul your web CMS.

There are so many ways to ruin a Web CMS project without even trying, but here are 11 that will certainly do the trick. 

In Pursuit of Search Clarity

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One of the rarely mentioned benefits of writing a book is finding out how little you know.

After writing almost 100,000 words for the second edition of Enterprise Search for O’Reilly Media and looking at the comments a small group of search experts made on the draft, I learned that some sections were difficult to read and some basic facts were wrong or badly scrambled. This edition will be twice the size of the first edition, which was published in 2012.

The main reason for this increase was to respond to requests for various topics from people who wanted as comprehensive a book as possible. Handling these requests has taken me into areas which — until now — had been at the edges of my domain knowledge. I hope that this is not too visible when the book emerges in a few months’ time.

Turn Your Data Into Smart Data

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Experts have proclaimed the end of the big data bubble for a few years now. Yet more and more companies want to be analytics-driven with analytics-oriented departments to take full advantage of the exponential growth of data points.

It's reported that marketers will spend an estimated $11.5 billion in 2015 on data and related solutions alone. Marketing, advertising and sales success hinge on back-end activities like analytics, collection and governance to predict and influence outcomes that impact the bottom line. 

To harness and convert data into stronger business strategies and overall profitability, approach data practices with a holistic integration of people, process and technology, following three key steps: collection, strategy and alignment.

Tame Your Collaborative Chaos

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Remember the old Star Trek episode where someone brought a Tribble (little furry creature) on board? The tribbles reproduce at an astonishing rate and soon the crew finds Tribbles in every corner of the Enterprise.

Collaborative tools are a lot like Tribbles. One person has a need, finds a free tool online, and after a test, their group decides to use it. The same happens with other groups and other tools, and pretty soon you end up with collaborative chaos, much like the problem Captain Kirk had with the Tribbles.

The Sticking Point with Social Collaboration Tools

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Charlene Li, founder and CEO of Altimeter Group fights the good fight in a recent Harvard Business Review article — "Why No One Uses the Corporate Social Network" — but ultimately makes a conclusion that's not supported by her own data.

In a 2014 study, Altimeter found that deployed "social collaboration" tools aren't widely used. (These are often called enterprise social networks, or what I'd rather refer to generically as work media, after social media). The value of any social tool increases in an exponential fashion relative to the number of users. So when few people use a tool, its value is low, and the payoff for joining is low, as well.

Is There a Future in Content Marketing?

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“Things looked bleak for the Angels when they trailed by two runs in the ninth inning, but Los Angeles recovered thanks to a key single from Vladimir Guerrero to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday.”

Nice bit of reporting, right? You'd be forgiven for thinking it was the lede of a beat writer's game recap in the Los Angeles Times.

It wasn't.

A computer wrote it. 

The paragraph appeared in a New York Times’ Opinion piece titled “If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know?” In the piece, Shelley Podolny, director of e-discovery company H5, explored the emergence of robo-writers, computer software that not only analyzes data, but creates human-sounding commentary.

The sophistication of robo-writers is impressive. Could you have guessed that the quote was written by a computer? 

Stepping Back to See the Big MarTech Picture

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The after-effects of the recent MarTech conference in San Francisco linger on. Between the strong speakers, fireside chats and diverse set of attendees, the event has already provided a point of departure for many a conversation on the state of marketing technology.

And beyond that — as witnessed from colleagues, peers and personal experience — it's sparked some needed soul-searching within the industry.

Marketing Technology is vast, diverse and rapidly evolving. Scott Brinker's Marketing Technology Landscape Infographic serves as a regular reminder of just how quickly martech has evolved. 

In such a fast-paced industry, there isn't always time to take in the big picture. With this event, Brinker offered that opportunity: two days to take a step back, take a deep breath and look at where we are with marketing technology.

Let Your Social Collaboration Use Cases Lead the Way

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For many organizations, the move towards social collaboration is entirely grassroots-driven. Pockets of employees find a tool which meets their need, and suddenly the organization is faced with many different, unsupported technologies.

Clearly there is demand for a better alternative to the organization's existing approved tools, but how do you a. find a solution that meets everyone's needs, and b. get people to switch to the corporate approved choice?

We Need a Department OF the Customer

We have a department of selling to the customer, a department of marketing to the customer, a department of communicating at the customer. We have a department of dealing with customer complaints. But we have no department OF the customer. 

Customer Service Success Starts at the Source

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It feels like customer service — or rather, the lack thereof — is making headlines on a daily basis lately.

Comcast is one example of a company that has faced service misstep after misstep. And these blunders are having a lasting impact on Comcast’s brand. A recent report from SurveyMonkey found that Comcast’s customer service woes have left the company ranking lowest among cable providers when it comes to customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Comcast isn’t the only company struggling due to customer service crises. Other major brands like Walmart, American Airlines and Bank of America have all suffered from the crippling backlash of poor service departments. It’s no secret that poor customer service can negatively affect a brand’s popularity, if not permanently tarnish its reputation.

So how can businesses prevent these Comcast-sized service blunders? Recognize that customer service success starts at the source.

Shadow IT Isn't Going Away - and That's a Good Thing

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There's a new public enemy number one in the land of information management — shadow IT.

The name alone sounds ominous, as if the “The Imperial March” from "Star Wars" should play in the background when you say it. It portends rogue employees, covert operations and malicious attempts to undermine the good work of corporate IT. The negative hype surrounding shadow IT has reached fever pitch — which means that it's grossly overblown.

While shadow IT has its share of drawbacks, the overwhelmingly negative connotation attached to it is unwarranted, and the notion that organizations need to destroy it is false.

Shadow IT is not going away. Not now, not in the future. In fact, the formation of shadow IT groups will only grow larger as the data landscape and thirst for analytics continues to expand. More important than its staying power, however, is something no one wants to acknowledge: shadow IT is a good thing.  

Don't Let Your Personas Get Stuck

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If case you haven’t noticed, personas are a pretty big deal these days. Marketers plant relevant, engaging content throughout digital experiences on multiple channels to try and move the business forward. And that content must be relevant and individualized.

But marketers face a growing challenge. Yes, yet another one.

Harness the Power of Intent Data for Predictive Marketing

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We are in the middle of a marketing revolution. With technology that makes it possible to get insight from all different types of data, it’s no longer about being just a modern marketer — it’s about being a predictive marketer.

As marketers, we can put data science to work to better predict which prospects and customers are most likely to buy, and when, to target the best prospects with powerful, personalized messages.

But not all data is created equal.

Tools, Schmools: It's Really About Community Management

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“What we really need is our own private company Instagram, or maybe a chat-app just for employees” said no reasonable manager ever. So why is it that we’re seeing those very tools pop up in the enterprise market?

Modern enterprise collaboration leaders are on the hunt for mobile technology solutions that empower employees on the go. As knowledge workers spend less time at their desks, companies are scrambling to stay ahead in a BYOD, socially-fueled, cloud-based environment.

But as the enterprise seeks out the newest technology, we should take a step back and realize that the right tools are already here — enterprise social networks.

Want Innovation? Create a Culture of 'Yes'

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Where have all the optimists gone?

Realists and pragmatists dominate today's business world — the grounded individuals that set attainable goals, check their emotions at the door and embrace a healthy amount of skepticism. Their skills sets are invaluable and they allow your business to carry on at a steady rate.

But skepticism leaves many businesses without an appetite for adventure and in the rut of status quo. Innovation rarely happens when companies stick to the status quo and skeptics find themselves uneasy around risky gambles.

This is where optimists can help balance the scales.

Still Sticking With Those Tried-But-True Marketing Tactics?

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It wasn't too long ago that being a marketer consisted of balancing multiple communication channels to reach, understand and attract customers. And by "not too long ago," we're talking fifteen years ago.

In the meantime, the Web and mobile drastically changed not only the marketer's job, but what it takes to be a marketing asset.

These changes don't mean you need to be a data scientist or a developer. But you will need to understand these concepts in order to make smart decisions.

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