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Organizing Your Content Means Cleaning Out the Junk

2014-02-June-Yard-Sale.jpgYour information is the lifeblood of your organization. It’s content you create, it’s content you obtain from customers, suppliers, partners. And there’s usually a lot of it. That’s where solutions like SharePoint and Office 365 come in — to help you manage it all.

But before you start storing every last piece of information you have, ask yourself if it’s really something you need. Just because you can save and store almost limitless amounts of content, doesn’t mean you should. 

Marketing Automation: Don't Build It If You Can't Use It

2014-02-June-Construction.jpgThe problem with marketing automation is that it takes people and processes to use the technology and companies often treat that as more of an afterthought. The result is a much higher percentage of failed programs and implementations.

The problem is not the technology. The problem is being prepared to use it.

Google Wants to Tap Your Brain

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While the quest for the ultimate in marketing automation technology continues, I'm still struggling to get my email spam filter to work properly. But Ray Kurzweil, Google's director of engineering, says that more intelligent systems are coming faster than we think.

By 2030, computers will be able to handle natural human language and experience emotions, Kurzweil said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal this weekend. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. By 2045, we will attain "full singularity," he continued, which means that humans will be completely integrated with technology — with direct links to the cerebral neocortex.

Managing Services Requires Different Success Metrics

Customers are not as locked into services as they are to products. Therefore, we need a continuous process to ensure that the customer is satisfied.

How Isaac Mizrahi and Liz Claiborne Use Omnichannel Marketing

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You may not recognize the name Robert D'Loren — or even his company, Xcel Brands. But odds are you're familiar with the company's fashion apparel: It owns the Isaac Mizrahi brand and has an interest in Liz Claiborne New York.

Xcel is a champion of the omnichannel strategy and is helping to take fashion brands to more than 150 consumer products categories. The company engages in the acquisition, design, licensing and marketing of consumer brands by incorporating a sales strategy that includes interactive and social media, digital and brick-and-mortar retail. 

D'Loren successfully led the restructure and recapitalization of some of the world's most widely recognized fashion, retail, consumer brands and entertainment companies including: Bill Blass, The Athlete's Foot, Maggie Moo's, Pretzelmaker/Pretzel Time, Waverly Home and The Great American Cookie Company.

His expertise earned him a spot as the keynote speaker at the recent IRCE Focus Conference in New York City, where he shared his ideas on the convergence of the customer experience through brands, stores, web, mobile and TV.

As he stressed at the three-day conference, customers are everywhere — and brands, retailers and all modern businesses need to be everywhere, too. Today, in the first of a two-part series, we'll hear what he had to say.

Speed Business with Collaboration and Engagement

2014-30-May-Cheetah.jpgI find myself thinking again about the buzziest of buzzwords: engagement and collaboration. Just what do they mean? Engagement is about people’s connections to technology, and collaboration builds connections (and ideas) among people.

You know what engagement really is? It’s speed.

NYC Media Lab: Using Technology to Save Media Companies

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Justin Hendrix is a man of many interests — media, Americana music, space news … oh, and he plays the banjo. But the real story is that he is executive director of the NYC Media Lab, where he "helps companies discover."

The NYC Media Lab "connects technologists in digital media and technology companies with bright minds in New York City's universities" to drive innovation and talent development. A public-private partnership launched by the New York City Economic Development Corp., Columbia University and New York University, the Lab hosts events and seeds projects "to foster collaboration across a range of disciplines core to the future of media."

With an impressive roster of corporate members — HBO, Time Warner Cable, Hearst, AT&T, Verizon, News Corp. and NBCUniversal — the Lab is designed to spur innovation. More specifically, in its own words, "generate fresh thinking that creates value through research, prototyping, knowledge transfer, talent development, and human relationships."

Get on Board with B2B E-commerce, Forrester Warns

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The old theory that B2B companies can avoid selling through online channels is done, and B2B e-commerce solutions "contribute significantly to key selling metrics and incremental revenue," according to a new Forrester Research Report commissioned by EPiServer.

Forrester said 50 percent of B2B companies have plans to change or upgrade e-commerce technology in the next 18 months. 

"Every company that plans to compete in the future must transform digitally simply because all your competitors are planning for it now," said Bob Egner, vice president of product management at EPiServer, which sells an e-commerce platform. "There are no restrictions based on type of product or service, or on geography. In fact, many of our customers find they can expand geographically in a shorter time frame and at a lower cost by going digital."

Segmentation Is About to Get Interesting

2014-30-May-Halloween.jpgFor marketers willing to ask the question, “Who is my customer?” the response now comes as billions of data points. Few of these fit into the neat set of demographics that once defined marketing. It’s age, race, sex, weight, height, marital status, education level, politics, buying habits, household health worries, vacation dreams and much much more. Understanding this deluge of data — and the people or segments they represent — means a whole new way of understanding customers.

The New Chief Officer No One Wants to Meet

2014-30-May-The-Boss.jpgWe've all met him. You know him. He might be a friend. He's not alone. He might even be you.

He's the guy (sometimes gal, but she's more rare) who walks around and talks about how many people need to get canned if the enterprise is ever going to really start moving. Accountability is his creed (or at least your accountability is).

How Social Media Cuts through the Noise

2014-29-May-Marching-Band.jpgWhile most companies spend a lot of time and energy celebrating the success or agonizing over the failures of their direct sales forces, much of that energy is misspent. Studies show that the indirect channel — resellers, VARs, distributors, consultants and partners of all stripes — accounts for 70 percent of sales worldwide — but channel programs are seldom showered with the attention that direct sales teams get.

How Businesses are Benefiting From Social

2014-29-May-Whole-Foods.jpgOne of the biggest topics to emerge from the Microsoft conference circuit this year is the concept of “working like a network” — encouraging companies to rethink how they operate, collaborate and communicate by using enterprise social technologies to eliminate departmental silos. This allows companies to better adapt and respond to ever-shifting market conditions as well as improve knowledge sharing.  

To get a good understanding of what that vision looks like, watch Yammer’s Moments video. It shows how people within a responsive organization used Yammer to collaborate and create a product that made a difference for its customers. The video ends in a new product design job for an administrative coordinator, happy customers who fulfilled their goals, and a warm feeling about the power of enterprise social. This isn’t just marketing hype either: McKinsey & Company recently conducted a survey of leading enterprise companies on the use of social networks, and nearly 90 percent reported a measurable business benefit gained from implementing social platforms.

Gartner Rates These 5 Companies Tops in Campaign Management

customer experience, Gartner Campaign Management MQ: IBM, Oracle, Teradata, SAS, Adobe Lead

The four providers selected as the best in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management last year made a return appearance and welcomed a new leader in the 2014 report.

Adobe joined the top dogs from last year — IBM, SAS, Teradata and Oracle — in the research firm's latest multichannel campaign management (MCCM) analysis. 

Gartner defines MCCM as a process that enables companies to define, orchestrate and communicate offers. It includes both inbound and outbound offers to customer segments across multichannel environments, such as websites, mobile, social, direct mail, call centers and email. 

"Digital marketing," researchers added in the Magic Quadrant report, "continues to integrate with campaign management, and it includes addressable branding/advertising, contextual marketing and transactional marketing. Digital marketing extends the marketing process through channels such as the Web, email, video, mobile and social applications, point-of-sale terminals, interactive TV, digital signage, and kiosks."

5 Types of Influencers B2B Marketers Need to Engage Now

2014-29-May-Horse-Race.jpgYou've seen the stats: 60 to 80 percent of the buying process is done before anyone wants to chat with your chomping-at-the-bit sales reps. To make matters worse, more people than ever are now involved in the process of buying complex products. So where does that leave you?

Most likely trying to craft a never-ending stream of content marketing to influence this very process. And that helps, for sure.

But let’s be honest. You need to do more than turn your brand into a publisher … especially as most publishers are having their own issues these days. With that in mind, there’s another approach to influencing the buying process while also supporting your could-be-better content marketing efforts.

Start engaging the influencers.

One Woman's Path to Data Science

2014-28-May-Claudia-Perlich.jpgWhat’s the best way to optimize click-through rates on a smartphone?

Put it on a flashlight app so the people frantically trying to turn the light on in the dark click over and over and over and over ….

For those keeping tabs on the elusive formula for what makes a data scientist, add “sense of humor” to the list.

Claudia Perlich’s official title at New York City-based Dstillery is chief scientist. “I like to make data useful,” she said in an interview with CMSWire. With Dstillery, Perlich designs, develops, analyzes and optimizes the machine learning which turns millions of small, individual events — a website visit, the apps you use on a smartphone, the location of the smartphone — to narrow down prospective customers for brands to target with online ads.

The Innovation Based Business Case for Social

2014-28-May-First-Flight.jpgIn management science innovation is typically thought of as a process which results in beneficial changes through novel ideas or solutions. Innovation is about change — and change, volatility and flux have been the defining features of the business landscape since World War II and especially since the 1970s. As one commentator succinctly put it in 1990, organizations must “get innovative or get dead."

Let's examine four ways social business can be associated with innovation and look at the different ways each measures value.

Cloud Disruption in the Call Center

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The $22-billion call center market — dominated by legacy solutions from Avaya, Cisco Systems and Genesys — is ripe for disruption. Of the estimated 14.5 million call center agents worldwide, 95 percent of them still sign into on-premise offerings.

However, thanks to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) total cost of ownership (TCO) savings of as much as 40 percent and relatively easy implementations, the transition to the cloud has already begun: It’s estimated that within two years the cloud penetration rate in call centers will reach 13 percent.

At this month’s JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Mike Burkland, CEO of Five9, an emerging provider of on-demand software for contact centers, explained that the migration to the cloud is tied to the refresh cycle for on-premise solutions. Instead of spending big bucks to upgrade to the latest legacy offerings, the refresh often acts as a trigger opportunity to bring call centers to the cloud.

Build Tomorrow's Agile Marketing Organization Today

2014-28-May-Agility-Bull.jpgThis will probably be the 47th article you read today that tells you how marketers need to learn to adapt — that consumers have too many choices, too little attention and no patience for a poor experience. Let me remind you that the world is changing, rapidly. You can change with it or be left behind.

We've explored how to address uncertainty in many areas of business. Agile methodologies have done a great deal to help software development teams adapt to inevitable uncertainty. Lean manufacturing has transformed how we create physical goods.

Innovative organizations are beginning to understand how applying those philosophies to marketing can produce similar outcomes.

Oscar Berg: 'Collaboration Pyramid' Holds the Secret of High Impact Social Business

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When Oscar Berg conceived the idea of a "collaboration pyramid," he did exactly what you would expect a social business expert to do. He shared the basic concept for the pyramid on his blog — so he could refine and improve it through input and feedback from his readers.

That's the value of collaboration, he explained. By sharing information and ideas, good ideas can become even better. 

Berg is a self-described digital strategist with a passion for simplicity and outside-in thinking … a man who devotes considerable time to envisioning the future of knowledge work.

More concretely, he is an experienced management consultant, author, speaker and CMSWire contributor based in Greater Malmö, the commercial center of southern Sweden.

He is passionate about helping customers become more successful by improving communication, sharing and collaboration — and values happiness above success. Happiness, he maintains, "comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others."

The key, he explained, is sharing knowledge. And that is exactly what he plans to do during a CMSWire webinar next Wednesday, June 4 (see webinar details here).

Don't Lose Your Assets in the Siberia of DAMs

2014-27-May-siberia.jpgA typical journey through DAM-land is full of surprises, detours and missed turns. But the biggest challenge of all may be finding assets that are lost in the vast Siberia of DAMs and pretend-DAMs within your organization.

One of the most desired (and basic) postulates of a Digital Asset Management system is the ability to search and find assets.

So even before you decide to buy and implement a new DAM system to take advantage of much needed search and find functionality, take a look at your vast DAM landscape and try to figure out in which corners your assets reside.