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Banish Boring: 3 Steps to High-Performing Partner Portals

Banish Boring: 3 Steps to High-Performing Channel PortalsThe term “portal” does not cause hearts to skip a beat. Almost two decades of boring, barely-functional portals have done immeasurable harm to the term; their intended audiences ignore them, and the people who manage them see them as busy work.

But if you sell through indirect channels, the portal is the key to growing and boosting the productivity of your channel program. If it’s being developed and nurtured the right way, it can be a one-stop self-service site that answers partners questions about marketing, training, technical support and more.

Consortium Calls Salesforce1 Platform 'Force for Creativity'

customer experience, SalesForce1 Platform Consortium Expects to be a Force

Three software companies have formed what they call the first organized forum for businesses built natively on the Salesforce1 CRM Platform. 

Apttus, Kenandy and ServiceMax have formed Force United, which is designed to help companies by leveraging the Salesforce1 Platform.

The companies want to promote Salesforce1 as a "force for being more creative with software across all industries, while also learning how software can promote goodness."

As part of their vision, they’re also announcing an annual invite-only CIO Innovators Summit on July 16 in Menlo Park, Calif.

CMSWire talked to Stacey Epstein, chief marketing officer for ServiceMax, about the Salesforce-based union.

Why Mobile App Developers Turn to PaaS

For better or worse, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) will continue to pull business workflows into mobile and personal devices. Efforts to keep business functions in their traditional channels have largely failed and according to analysts, we should expect sharp double-digit growth to continue.

This paints a picture of a much more challenging application development environment. More applications must now be accessible, directly or through some intermediary, to a wider range of environments than ever before. Management and rank-and-file people now expect access to once sacrosanct information — inventory data or customer files, for example — no matter where they are or what time of day it is.

Executive Involvement Aids Successful Online Communities

2014-22-April-5-Year-Old-Development.jpgIn spite of growing evidence of the value of internal and external communities, executives still hesitate when it comes to funding online community initiatives. This is just one of the findings of The Community Roundtable's fifth annual State of Community Management 2014 report, released today.

At 77 pages, this report is the most in depth to date, offering a body of data against which communities can benchmark their efforts. It builds on the quantitative methods established in last year's report to create a set of community maturity indicators.

This is not only a report on the performance of communities, it is a testament to the knowledge gained from them. The methodology and examples included throughout the report were informed through the active involvement of TheCR network members, who make up 43 percent of the 164 communities surveyed.

Brands Need 'Programmatic Creative' to Keep Up with Ad Tech

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With the rapid adoption of programmatic technology there has been much more efficient ways to buy and sell online advertising. About 85 percent of advertisers and 72 percent of publishers participate in programmatic, a number that is expected to continue to grow even more rapidly in the next two years, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

But an unexpected problem has arisen because of this growth. The creative portion of the advertising process is having trouble keeping up. Many advertisers are struggling to take advantage of programmatic technologies because they don’t have required creative messages in nonstandard sizes and formats.

The reality is we need programmatic creative automation to fully leverage programmatic ad exchanges.

From Mobile Tasking to Mobile Productivity

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I love my mobile phone. Aside from helping me screen calls and serving as my primary phone these days, it is my lifeline when I'm away from my computer. Most often, its role as my connection to the world takes place when I am out running an errand or away from my hometown.

While my mobile phone is my lifeline to the world, it's very hard to do work on it. Sure, I can check email, review very short documents and manage my blog. But real work is a challenge. Most mobile applications are task-based and focused on providing a single feature very well.

If we want to move past this focused mindset to a world of true productivity, we have to give serious thought to an important question. What, if anything, do people really need to accomplish on their mobile devices?

Digital Clarity Group Warns CEM Vendors to 'Transform or Die'

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There is a ring of truth to the introduction to Digital Clarity Group’s (DCG) latest research on  European web content and customer experience servicer providers  — even if it is a little dramatic. In it, Scott Liewehr, president and principal analyst at DCG, stressed that this is the age of digital disruption,.

Organizations have to transform they way to work or die, he continued.

He's not the first person to make such an argument on behalf of customer experience and engagement (CEM) vendors and  service providers. But he is among a minority that can support his argument with research on 45 companies.

The Problem with Lead Scoring

Marketing automation helped marketers gain a deeper understanding of their target buyer and develop the right messaging, calls to actions and campaigns. But the real big win to come from marketing automation was supposed to be lead scoring.

Lead scoring promised an end to sales’ perennial complaint that marketing wastes their time with leads that weren’t ready to buy. Finally, there would be a system that measured what prospects did and determined when leads were ready for sales. Savvy marketers involved sales in defining how a lead was measured and when to pass it along. The promise was that only those leads that met a predefined threshold were passed on to sales. Eureka! Finally, a definitive way of measuring marketing’s impact on the pipeline.

Or so we thought.

Why Box's Bad Financials Might Be Right on the Money

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In the weeks surrounding Box’s initial public offering announcement, the enterprise file sync and share vendor (EFSS) and its founder, Aaron Levie, couldn’t make enough news.

There was a mention of Levie’s appearance at SXSW and his name-dropping about Ashton Kutcher being an investor. And there was boxdev, Box’s Developers conference, which intended to build a community of 1,000 plus developers and give them the tools that they need to build rich solutions around Box.

While each of the aforementioned went off fabulously well, the IPO announcement sandwiched in between left the reputations of both Levie and Box less than optimal.

Why? Because Box’s S-1 filing revealed the company is spending much more than it is making — specifically, for every one dollar the company takes in, it spends $1.38.

How to Mine Gold from the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has been an idea at the edge of market disruption for some time now, and a lot of companies are jumping into the game.

Google acquired Nest to elbow its way into the smart home market. Samsung is pumping out smart watches at breakneck speed to stake its claim on the wearable tech market. Companies are jockeying to take advantage of technologies like iBeacon in the retail space, and a new NFC payment system seems to pop up in tech news each week. 

And I am sure everyone has seen the weekly rumors about Apple's unconfirmed, unannounced, often speculated smart watch, which is supposed to be its own entry into the wearable market.

Perhaps it's time to stop reminiscing about the "gold in them thar hills" — and start thinking about the gold waiting to be mined in the IoT.

Medallia Embeds Customer into Business Conversations

customer experience, Medallia Embeds Customer into Business Conversations

The 2010s have been kind to Medallia.

The 400-employee Palo Alto, Calif.-based customer experience management provider quadrupled both its employees and revenue, secured a major capital investment and scored some big clients.

And it’s been cited by at least one major research firm as a leader: In 2011, Forrester highlighted Medallia and MarketTools as leaders of the enterprise feedback management (EFM) pack because of their comprehensive solutions for managing Voice of Customer (VoC) programs. 

“We want to set a precedent in organizations that the customer should be part of every conversation,” said Michelle de Haaff, vice president of Marketing for Medallia. “We embed the customer in every decision a business can make.”

Make DAM Your Single Source of Truth

A wise educator once proclaimed that there is “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Not only is this true today, but it's an absolute necessity where rich media assets compete for attention and use within a multichannel distribution framework. Assets are located, changed into different formats and delivered to television, mobile, print and social media with various degrees of accompanying metadata. To speed the process there needs to be a place — and specifically a central place — where all rich media assets may be managed for specific use and distribution. A Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can be that place: the Place of Everything (PoE).

How Mobile Apps Will Change Corporate Intranets

How Mobile Apps Are Changing Corporate IntranetsThe concept of the browser-based intranet as most people know it is a relic of the 20th century: You may as well dress it down in flannel and send it off to a Pearl Jam concert. A seldom elegant mashup of communication channels, application functionality, document collaboration and now enterprise social, the intranet at its heart is an idea from the days before mobile and BYOD that, much like the Cadillac Escalade and the British aristocracy, continues to hang on long past its expiration date. And yet it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

3 Ways Social Media is Changing Online Content

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Online content helps businesses and brands achieve business objectives. Until relatively recently, that content was centered around websites. But how has the growth of social media changed the equation?

Ryan Skinner, senior analyst for content marketing at Forrester Research, told CMSWire that one of the biggest changes from social media is "the idea of content as conversation." He cited New York University professor of media Clay Shirky, who has noted that the ability to communicate broadly has shifted from "an instrument of power" to "an instrument for everyone."

Digital is Diffuse, Physical is Solid

One of the key differences between digital and physical is that digital is more adaptable and networked. Thus, digital changes at a more rapid speed, breaking old connections and creating new ones. 

Analytics Can Drive Better Human Resource Decisions

social business, Why Analytics Matters for Human Resources Leaders

Marketers, IT and pretty much everyone in business seem to be using analytics today.

Except for human resources leaders, an IBM study found.

After speaking with more than 4,000 executives, IBM found only half of chief human resource officers (CHROs) use workforce analytics to help them do their jobs better. Even fewer use predictive analytics to optimize decision making in areas such as sourcing and recruiting. 

IBM sees this as an opportunity for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to help CHROs do things like implement HR software to improve retention, recruitment and more. 

Will BlackBerry Once Again be King of Mobility?

2014-18-April-Blackberry-King.jpgRight now at least half of you are laughing at the title of this article, the other half are just being polite. But give me a chance to explain how and where BlackBerry could be the Future King of Mobility.

Why Content Marketers Fail to Impress Google

With more than 70 percent of online searches happening in Google, it is no surprise that content marketers are constantly looking for new ways to use the search engine to realize ROI, be it by getting leads out of organic channels or by other attribution based metrics or means. However, content marketing seems to be losing its luster when it comes to impressing the search engine giant.  

5 Key Steps for Migrating SharePoint to the Cloud

5 Key Steps for Migrating SharePoint to the CloudNo longer the latest IT buzzword, cloud computing has become a reality for a growing number of organizations as they seek to reduce IT costs, expand capabilities and improve their networks.

For SharePoint users in particular the cloud offers a way to replace the administrative burden and costs of managing and maintaining on-premises SharePoint platforms. Migrating to the cloud can be somewhat complex since SharePoint migration tools are limited in functionality or non-existent. So while the cloud can certainly reduce administrative burden, getting there requires having a plan that takes into consideration your overall business goals, your existing infrastructure and content, and your user’s needs.

5 Minutes with Vala Afshar

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Ask three marketing executives to define "social business" and you'll get three different views.

One may see the potential of using the big data of social media to enhance the customer experience. Another explains how collaborative social tools like Yammer enhance productivity. Some may see social business as a way to enhance brand. And they all may be right in the context of their own experience.

One thing upon which they would probably all agree upon is that we're just beginning to understand social business. To help shed light on the topic, we contacted Vala Afshar, co-author of The Pursuit of Social Business Success.