HOT TOPICS: Customer Experience Marketing Automation Social Business SharePoint 2013 Document Management Big Data Mobile DAM

Latest Featured Articles News & Articles

A Cheaper Alternative to Marketing Analytics

2014-25-june-margaret-dawson.jpg

If 2012 was the year of the cloud and 2013 saw broad acceptance of big data, 2014 could go down as the year of cheaper analytics.

The year has been filled with announcements of new features from scores of vendors of all sizes, from SaaS providers like Gainsight and gShift up to pricier systems from Adobe, IBM, SDL and Oracle.

The latest example comes from Rival IQ, an 18-month-old, seed-funded startup in Seattle that already claims thousands of users, including "a healthy community of paid users," according to CMO Margaret Dawson — aka "Chief Marketing Badass, Fountain of Sarcasm."

5 Steps for Building a SharePoint Migration Plan

2014-25-june-birds

From all outward appearances, we seem to have turned a corner with SharePoint 2013 migrations. Compared to previous versions, SharePoint 2013 has experienced a relatively slow adoption cycle as organizations paused to understand the impacts of the new release — and to understand, in many cases, their cloud strategies.

Migrations to the latest version seem to now be increasing speed. Since the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, my own observation is that more companies are approving budgets and updating plans, and with that movement and more firm cloud strategies in place, we are also seeing an increased interest in SharePoint Online and Office 365.

The Enterprise Mobility Showdown

To achieve competitive advantage, large organizations today are developing mobile applications that meet three key objectives: 1) enable new mobile business processes for employees, 2) meet the growing mobile demands of customers, and 3) unlock new revenue potential within their business and with partners.

To accomplish this, organizations often need to integrate mobile apps with enterprise systems and data — collectively referred to as the backend.

Organizations that do not integrate mobile apps securely and effectively with their existing backend infrastructure will face competitors whose employees are more productive, whose customers are more satisfied and whose ecosystem fuels new business opportunities.

Stop Screaming: Just Put Your Customers First

2014-25-June-people-screaming-on-a-park-ride.jpg

Successful marketing is no longer about who can scream the loudest about their products. When this was the norm, the voice of the customer was drowned out by a cacophony of marketing mayhem. 

In the past two decades, things have changed. Marketing has evolved from product-focused to customer relationship management (CRM) focused. In other words, successful marketers today have shifted their focus from their products to the people who buy them.

In addition to closing the sale, marketers now realize that they need to find ways to continue the conversation. They need accurate feedback and preferences from their customers to better understand their needs, and it also needs to be done to scale as their customer base grows.

Do You Really Want to Give Google Your Health Data?

2014-25-june-park-joggers-by-Asa-Aarons.jpg

(Update: Google took on Apple in the health arena yesterday with the launch of Google Fit. The company announced the new initiative at its Google I/O Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Google Fit is an open fitness and health tracking platform. The platform SDK will be available in just a few weeks.

The news comes just a few weeks after after Apple announced HealthKit at its Worldwide Developers Conference. HealthKit, which will be bundled with Apple's new iOS 8, is a hub where you can monitor daily health stats and track data over time.)

If reports are right, Google will announce its second attempt to tap into health data at its annual developer-focused conference in California. The event, Google I/O, runs today and tomorrow at San Francisco's Moscone Center West.

There's speculation Google will announce the launch of Google Fit, a new aggregation platform for data collected from and gathered by wearable tech and health monitoring devices.

What should you know about this — or at least consider?

Navigating Web CMS and Customer Experience

2014-24-june-jill-finger-gibson.jpg

Acquia. Adobe. Alfresco. Clickability. CoreMedia. Crafter Software. Drupal. Ektron. Hippo. HP Autonomy. Joomla. Kentico. WordPress. 

It's a web content management world after all, isn't it?

Digital Clarity Group (DCG), the research-based advisory firm focused on that WCM world above and customer experience management, released today the North American edition of its Guide to Service Providers for Web Content and Customer Experience Management. It's a report that covers the North American landscape of systems integrators and digital agencies.

Keep Customers Coming Back with Improved CRM

2014-24-June-boomerang.jpg

While every business wants to constantly capture new customers, the priority should be on pleasing your existing customer base.

Companies that fail to nurture and retain current customers ultimately fail as a brand.

Customer relationship management (CRM) programs, which are designed to help you achieve this, have proliferated and grown in the past two years. Good CRM programs help companies attract customers, learn their preferences and shape brand initiatives.

They’re designed to keep customers coming back, and with good reason — it is five to 10 times more expensive to find new customers than keep old ones, and repeat customers spend nearly 70 percent more than new ones. Brand success means listening to your customers, earning their trust and continuously improving your relationship with them.

How To Cope With Anonymous Site Visitors

Digital channels are the best way to expand your customer base and reach new audiences in an instant. And we know that personalized marketing messages increase conversions via digital. But how do you personalize marketing content online for a prospect you know nothing about?

On average, 98 percent of visitors to a website are anonymous. These visitors don’t share contact information, and marketers don’t know anything about their demographics, preferences or interests.

That means 98 percent of your potential customer base is a mystery. What’s more, a brand’s website audience constantly changes as new campaigns are introduced, making it even more difficult for marketers to know exactly who is visiting a site at any time.

For marketers, anonymized site visitors make it infinitely harder to engage potential leads in a meaningful way and expand a customer base. Uncovering information about these audiences and anonymous leads, which can help marketers craft personalized marketing messages, is the holy grail.

Signs Along the Road to Digital Marketing

2014-24-June-signs-of-the-time.jpg

Marketing is fast becoming digital.  But the market targeting now done with computers has been around at some level for a while now, and there may be some lessons for us in it.

In times past, you targeted your marketing and sales by placing your name (ads, posters, Burma Shave road signs … whatever) where you thought your prospective customers might show up — fishing ads in the sports section, theater listings in the entertainment section, luxury car ads in coffee table magazines, and so on.

Sounds crude but it worked if you were careful, and it saved money by allowing you to place — and pay for — your message only where it was more likely to be effective.

Collaboration in 2025: Separating the Signals from the Noise

2014-23-June-Traffic-Jam.jpgThe Talent 2025 conference that took place a few weeks back gathered an audience of high ranking HR people from a wide range of organizations. I presented to them my vision of collaboration in 2025 (which will be discussed in a later article). Bob Johansen, former president and board member of The Institute for the Future (IFTF, Palo Alto, Calif.) and current distinguished fellow gave the talk prior to mine, speculating what things will be like 10 years from now.

Let's look at what Johansen predicted and what I did, and where they overlapped.

Content Marketing Fuels Pipeline Growth

Marketing automation has changed business as we know it. In the last decade, it has elevated the role of the CMO, helping marketing to be more productive and measurable through email and nurturing programs, scoring and reporting. Your marketing team more effectively manages all of your company’s contacts so they turn into customers more efficiently.

But how do you more efficiently engage new buyers? Turns out marketing automation has improved marketing, but it’s not the end-all, be-all of marketing optimization. There’s still a massive group of potential buyers who are not addressed by marketing automation alone — those who have no idea your company or product exists.

Tradeoff Between Control and Simplicity

At the crux of many management decisions today is the tradeoff between control and simplicity.

Discussion Point: Can Social Media Improve Customer Relationships?

discussion-point

Life has become increasingly complex for modern marketers. In the not so distant past, all anyone expected them to do was identify, acquire and retain customers.

Now they're expected to build long-term relationships with them — and as anyone who has ever had a partner or a spouse can tell you, that takes a lot of work.

In his most recent book, "What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF)," Brian Solis explores the challenges of building customer relationships as well as options to improve them.

Solis, a principal analyst with the Altimeter Group, suggests marketers can improve customer relationships through the use of social identity, which he defines as the information about an individual available in social media, including profile data as well as ongoing social activity. As he explains:

Marketers are spending more on technology every year — especially technology that can engage customers in personal ways at scale, like marketing automation, email service providers, retargeting and dynamic web content. Social Identity improves value of these tools by improving targeting capabilities."

We shared his hypothesis with five senior marketers to see whether they agreed that brands can target and personalize customer messaging through social identity. 

The Question

How does the contextual insight available in social media provide an opportunity to better know and engage audiences with personalized content and experiences across channels?

3 Brand Asset Secrets from HBO's Game of Thrones

2014-20-June-Game-of-Thrones.jpg

The dragons are chained, The Hound is dying, Jon Snow is back in Castle Black and Tyrion Lannister is on a ship to parts unknown. If you watch the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, then you understand.

Last Sunday's season four finale was watched by 7.1 million viewers — and broke illegal download records.

With the next episode months away, we thought we'd give fans a Game of Thrones fix: three brand asset secrets from the fantasy drama TV series.

Transforming Connections in an Age of Digital Change

2014-20-June-transformation.jpg

The goal of marketing still revolves around accelerating new and repeat sales. But the means to that end has shifted over the past few years.

This fundamental shift can be tied, in part, to digital innovation. However, it’s not just about technology. It’s about the lifestyle shift and what could be considered a "workstyle" shift, which I define as a person’s expectations and preferences in how they work and engage with a company.

How can companies transform the ways they engage with customers and partners and connect to their existing marketing automation systems? Here are three significant points to consider.

Shocking Truths About SharePoint Disaster Recovery

2014-20-June-fire-caused-by-drought.jpg

Disasters happen. Networks fail. Databases can be corrupted. Content gets deleted. And then IT steps in. Before you know it, everything is up and running once more.

Except that’s not the reality for most.

During a recent industry event, we asked a small group of SharePoint administrators about their disaster recovery plans and the tests they perform to ensure they are prepared for the worst.

The reality was shocking. Just one in four companies test their SharePoint recovery plans. Of those, 75 percent report their recovery tests failed. While few companies would ever publicly admit that level of failure, extrapolate the data. If 75 percent of tests failed for 25 percent of all users, imagine the impact of a real-life disaster.

What Comes After Authenticity?

Don't look now, but authenticity has a target on its back (and it's not the first time either). Those practitioners in the user experience, marketing and customer experience domains at the forefront of their craft have moved on and they're not sitting around waiting for you to catch up.

Every ethic and virtue has their days in the sun. Despite the wholesome goodness in any virtue, however, those days are finite and numbered. I don’t mean that the virtue will disappear entirely. I do mean that the virtue will recede from the limelight as society becomes conscious to the flaws in the virtue as another ethic that speaks to those flaws steps forward. As nothing in our universe is perfect, this goes on ad-infinitum and quite often circles back on itself. This is the cycle of virtues and we are all witnessing the waning days of authenticity.

A Man, a Blouse and an Awesome Customer Experience

customer experience, One Man, One Blouse and One Awesome Customer Experience

You never know where you'll find a great customer experience.

I found it today when I ran out to do an errand for my wife — a day late as usual.

Husband duty this time involved bringing a blouse/top/wrap (whatever you call those things — I usually go with "shirt") to the local tailor.

Hit the Digital Accelerator: 5 Reasons You Must Go Digital Now

2014-19-June-Skid.jpgDigital transformation describes how companies are using technology to add a digital dimension to customer or partner experiences, change the way employees do their jobs, or add new digital or data-based lines of business. These kinds of experiences are no longer just conveniences. They are becoming the de facto standard, and have created strong impetus for businesses who haven’t done so already to start on the path to digital transformation. These five key trends are making digital transformation an imperative for businesses today.

Context Defines the Future User Experience

2014-19-June-You-Are-Here-2.jpg"The better we know our customer, the more effectively we can market to them." This has been true since cavemen traded animal skins for berries. But it was with the advent of the Internet that marketers suddenly had the tools to truly understand their consumers in real time. First it was websites and email marketing, followed by social media marketing. More recently, marketers have turned to inbound marketing, in which they gently "prod" customers with valued content, until the customer signals they are ready to engage.

Now there’s "context marketing." Context marketing, in the words of one marketing firm, “uses technology to glean insight on the person behind your persona, and deliver customized messages in a way that most appeals to that individual.” But what do we mean by context?