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Forrester Analyst: Digital Empowers Customers, Challenges Marketers

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With more than 950 digital marketing vendors now offering software and services in about 40 categories, it's getting harder for marketing executives to blend the right mix for their companies.

More and more, they rely on experts like James McCormick, senior analyst for consumer intelligence (CI) at Forrester Research, for guidance. Speaking yesterday at the Ensighten Agility 2014 conference in San Francisco, he outlined the challenges and strategies for marketers making those choices.

10 Things You Should Know About B2B Marketing

customer experience, 10 Things You Should Know About B2B Marketing

The last two months were all about predictions for B2B marketers.

The guesswork is over. 

Today, we’re going to tell you some things that are happening out there, and things you need to know — from the eyes of an analyst, marketing consultant and marketer in the trenches.

Insults, Assumptions, Cultural Affronts: Mistakes to Avoid When Going Global

Making mistakes in business is natural. Sometimes those mistakes benefit your overall success. Hire the wrong iPhone developer, and you’ll learn what to look for in the next one. Cancel your work from home policy, and you might get faster collaboration, the way Marissa Mayer wanted.

If you take your product global with the wrong color scheme, image or translations, however, your target audience might be shaken for years. Rumor has it that the Pepsi slogan “Come Alive With Pepsi!” translated to “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Dead” in Taiwan. KFC’s “finger licking good” became “eat your fingers off” in Chinese. In another faux pas, one Beijing Starbucks had to close after setting up shop in Beijing’s sacred and historic Forbidden City — considered a cultural affront.

Rescue Your Data From the Big Data Landfill

Reducing the Risk of the Data LandfillThe big data revolution has led to an exponential increase in the volume, velocity and variety of information available to businesses for use in decision making. It has also greatly complicated the work lives of business analysts who are expected to turn mountains of data into actionable insights for their marketing departments.

These professionals now have to deal with a data landfill — mountains of data that enterprises are collecting and trying to use to make business decisions. This fast changing world requires a new strategy that goes beyond the current data preparation methods used by IT.

Email Reimagined: Memories of Coordinator in Visions of Mail Next

emailreimagined.jpgIt was over 20 years ago now. I was a young hotshot IT guy and the company I was working for needed to communicate to Asia and Eastern Europe. My boss latched on to a Novell MHS (Mail Handling System)-based solution called Coordinator by Action Technologies. Coordinator was later sold to DaVinci which at that time sold a competing product in the Novell MHS-based email world. It was truly a store and forward time when we would deliver messages through CompuServe — in addition to direct international long distance phone calls.

9 Marketing Automation Providers Who Know Their Stuff

customer experience, Nine Marketing Automation Providers Who Know Their Stuff

Forrester Research named the nine most significant lead-to-revenue management (L2RM) marketing automation platform vendors. So what makes a good one?

They go beyond revenue performance management and transform marketing across the customer life cycle. They have deep features and functions. They make smart acquisitions

"Change in the B2B marketing automation market is likely to accelerate in 2014," Forrester's Lori Wizdo predicted in her new report. "New buyers from B2C and B2B2C marketers will redefine the functional table stakes. Acquisitions will continue as the mega enterprise software vendors plump up their marketing clouds. And the pace of innovation, driven by new tech startups, will remain high."

Lessons for Collaboration from the World of SEO

Collaboration requires more than the people on your team. The future of collaboration has moved beyond top-down task assignment and required participation with set deliverables. Instead it increasingly relies upon two key items: the serendipity of finding content and expertise that is just right, right now, and the willingness of people to exchange their time for that expertise.

In short, collaboration is mirroring the shifts taking place in the world of SEO.

5 SaaS Advantages To Confound Your Competitors

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is not just about cutting costs anymore, it’s about getting a competitive edge. While slashing capital expenditure on software is still a primary reason for taking the SaaS route, recent research from IBM shows that leading companies are using it to give them an edge over the competition.

Enterprise Collaboration, Made for Mobile

Enterprise Collaboration Made for MobileWe've all seen the mobile snowball effect in the enterprise. It's driven in part by the consumerization of IT and the bring your own device movement. The more we use mobile, the more opportunities to conduct business on the go become available, so the more we rely on mobile. This is great, but brings with it some challenges.

IBM on Mail Next: No One Else Offers Anything Like This

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Remember that email you sent asking someone to do something? Me either. Delegating tasks are great, but follow-through to ensure the tasks get done — in an electronic world — can be challenging.

Therein lies one of the major pain points IBM attempts to solve with its forthcoming email social business collaboration platform, Mail Next. 

"The most important problem is that of recall and prioritization," Kramer Reeves, director of product management with IBM Messaging and Collaboration Solutions, told CMSWire. "When an action comes in by email, how do we solve the problem of remembering who we assigned the action to or who we asked for help? Mail Next’s follow-up mechanisms solve this problem, using technology in place of memory, and allowing us to put our full focus on the work. The impact of this feature will be on management, executive assistants and really anybody who uses email."

How Social Technologies Impact the Balance of Power

How Social Impacts the Balance of PowerOrganizations, businesses and entire industries are becoming more social. Does that really translate to better collaboration?

Is Employee Advocacy the Next Big Thing for Marketers?

Is Employee Advocacy the Next Big Thing for Marketers?It started with a simple question: “What’s the next big thing marketers need to focus on?”

I asked Mike Edelhart who runs the Pivot conference — a conference for senior marketers on the leading edge of the social media revolution. I expected Mike to respond with the usual suspects: big data, mobile, customer experience, media-specific social platforms, etc. Instead he replied, “It’s all about turning employees into a powerful force to advocate the company’s brand.”

Do Enterprise Social Networks Really Help Collaboration?

One of the most cited reasons that companies deploy enterprise social networks is to enhance collaboration. It’s easy to see why. The theory goes “Your team will collaborate better with an enterprise social network helping people to share information more easily.”

But is this true? Can sharing information more easily really help people to collaborate better?

Connecting: How to Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing

Connecting with Bill Sobel

If you don't know Bill Sobel, you should. Sobel is the Chief Connections Officer at SobelMedia and founder of NY:MIEG/The New York Media Information Exchange Group. He's has been described as a master connector — someone who opens the door to “an interconnected world of endless opportunity.”

Starting this week, you'll get a chance to connect, too, through his column Connecting … with Bill Sobel on CMSWire. “I'll be interviewing interesting, unique people who have a lot to say about customer experience management and social business tools and practices,” he said. Enjoy! Noreen Seebacher, Chief Editor, CMSWire

How to Use Sophisticated Dashboards for Sophisticated Marketing

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Customers are arriving at your business or e-commerce site through increasingly sophisticated methods — and that makes it more complicated to determine whether your mobile site or offline advertising lead to your conversion goals. 

To keep in step and better organize information, businesses are turning to advanced spreadsheet automation or dashboard reporting.

Hybrid Clouds for SharePoint: Great, but Not for Everyone

The hybrid cloud is the talk of the industry for 2014, and a hybrid cloud for SharePoint / Office 365 is no exception. But not everyone is going hybrid, at least not permanently.

4 Ways to Make Yammer a Better Workplace Tool

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Ever since Microsoft bought Yammer in June 2012 and announced plans to integrate it with SharePoint, there has been considerable interest in the social network and getting the most out of it. Now GoodData has entered the fray. It researched how companies use Yammer in the enterprise, and offers four suggestions for improvement.

Roadblocks to Epic Customer Experiences: Marketers

Roadblocks to Epic Customer Experiences: MarketersDelivering relevant and remarkable customer experience is easier said than done. It takes a special combination of data and analytics; great storytelling and visual content; delightful social engagement; a consistent, multichannel presence; strong customer service; and agile, long-term strategy. Throw in value-added apps, responsive design and personalization, and you’ve got a tall order for any company to fill.

How can one company — let alone one person — do it all? And how should aspiring digital marketers focus their education and training to become competitive in the (near) future? Before we get overwhelmed by everything today’s marketer must be, let’s start with what he or she is not. 

The Fall of Collaboration, The Rise of Cooperation

oldtools,newtricks.jpgIt’s the year 2014, and we are trying to do today's jobs with yesterday's tools.

As we move into a new way of work — one based on more fluid and looser connections, grounded in freethinking, humanist and scientific approaches to the social contract — it's becoming clear that the traditional model of "collaboration tools" is based around outmoded structures of control rather than the shape of our work today, or the nature of networked sociality. We need a different take on the tools we are using to get work done, one based on open cooperation at the core of our work instead of closed collaboration running alongside it.

Come Closer: We'll Share the Secrets of Twitter Success [Infographic]

Sharing secrets.jpgJames T. Noble markets himself as a "business growth consultant." Ask him what that means, and he'll answer simply, "I make businesses bigger."

His London-based company, James T Noble & Associates, has worked with some of the world's largest brands and companies — Disney, Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Virgin, Coca-Cola and MTV — to market their products and services online. And he boasts impressive results. "Typically, the clients we take on see their businesses grow two to four times within 12 to 18 months."

What does it take to grow a business? Several things: best-in-class marketing execution. Solid business coaching. Oh, and Twitter helps, too. But you have to know how to use it.