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Keeping Up with Customers in a Cross Channel World

2014-18-September-Running.jpgA decade ago, it would have been safe to assume that you were reading this through an internet browser. Gathering data on your reading habits was fairly straightforward in those days because your browser yielded information that was relatively complete, especially when you consider the rather small universe of digital media then.

Times have changed. Today, the browser is just one of many places where customer behaviors and interactions can be captured. As the universe of channels, touch points, and devices expands, so has the browser’s importance begun to shrink. Brand marketers who won the battle for the browser were the biggest winners in the past. Today, and in the future, the successful brand marketers will be those who move beyond the browser and follow their customers into a cross channel world.

Use Human Data to Provide True B2B Personalization

2014-18-September-Crowds.jpgAn enormous shift is occurring in how B2B customers think about engagement and relationships. Customers expect marketers to achieve relevance by providing personalized communications based on their individual preferences, rather than continuing with irrelevant “spray and pray” marketing blasts. It’s this new way of thinking that’s unlocking the true potential of human data.

Alibaba: The Web IPO Heard Round the World

2014-18-September-Monopoly-Money.jpgThe global Internet and finance community is transfixed by the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Alibaba Group Holdings, the  Chinese e-commerce giant that is expected to go public on Friday at a market capitalization in excess of $160 billion. This is likely to be the largest IPO of all time, raising up to $25 billion in capital for the company and giving a market capitalization larger than eBay (market cap, $64B) and possibly Amazon.com ($150B).

An Alternative Migration Strategy: Travel Light

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When I was a kid, some of the best travels were vacations with my family. My parents would plan a vacation for weeks. They ordered custom maps from Texaco, marking the preferred scenic route and gas station exits of every Interstate on the map. (Dad worked for Texaco.) Hotel reservations were made in advance. ATMs were nonexistent, so Dad exchanged cash for traveler’s checks. Toys, food and drink were all carefully packed away so that we were prepared for any contingency.

Introducing the Chief Listening Officer

2014-18-September-Listen.jpgThe universal interest in improving the “customer experience” both heartens and amuses me. Heartens because it's a good thing: who doesn't want a simpler, easier and more relevant experience in the multichannel world? Amuses because the term — like many Holy Grail concepts — is strong on hope and weak on follow through. For all of the interest in customer experience and all of the touted methods, systems and platforms, can you honestly tell me that your customer experience is better today than it was a year ago? Or two years ago?

Discussion Point: Is Work Interfering With Our Personal Lives?

discussion-pointPut down your phone, please — you can call your cousin in a minute. And hold off updating your Facebook status or tweeting about the fantastic mocha latte you had an hour ago or watching the YouTube video du jour.

We've got work to do.

But results of new Ricoh Americas Corp. survey, released just today, confirm what many of us have long suspected: namely, that technology could be sapping our workplace productivity — and enabling workers to do a lot of things other than work.

Terrie Campbell, Vice President, Strategic Marketing at Ricoh Americas Corp., said businesses of all sizes are facing a connectivity conundrum. “We need to be connected to electronic resources for our work, which gives us a tremendous ability to achieve great things. But the flip-side is we’re a click away from alluring distractions like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Hollywood gossip and Angry Birds,” she said.

Are You a Cost Center or a Profit Center?

2014-17-September-Cash-Register.jpgNo matter what your role or function in your organization, it boils down to this: are you a cost center or a profit center? That is, do you cost the company money or do you make the company money?

Connect the Content Marketing Pieces with Taxonomy

2014-17-September-Bricklayers.jpgHas your company embraced content marketing? Have you migrated your team of copywriters to writers, your press releases to blog posts? Are you in the process of forming exploratory committees and trying to decipher a series of magic quadrants about cloud data systems? Has someone in upper management asked you about “Personalization"?

Don't Skip the Proof Of Concept

2014-17-September-Proof-of-Concept.jpgGenerally speaking, the larger the purchase, the more time and research we put into the decision before shelling out our hard-earned bucks. You don’t buy a car without test driving it, or a new couch without sitting on it. You probably don’t even buy shoes without walking around in them first.

Unfortunately, sometimes major technology purchases go unvetted and buyer’s remorse sets in hard, evident in the state of Oregon’s recent lawsuit (pdf) against Oracle for the failed deployment of its Cover Oregon healthcare exchange website.

This case reflects a dated IT evaluation process that’s all too common: businesses buying software based on RFPs and product demos, while failing to make vendors go through a proof-of-concept process. It’s a huge mistake that’s very easy to avoid.

Mobile Devices are the Gateway to the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about devices: how we interact with them and the data they produce. 

One key piece of the IoT that is often overlooked is our mobile device. On the day Apple releases its iOS 8, there's no better time to point out that mobile devices are really our gateway to the IoT.  

As we move around from location to location our mobile device, which is packed with sensors and numerous wireless radios, helps us seamlessly communicate with various other devices. Some of these devices might be in our homes, some our offices, some in our cars or the stores we shop in.  Still others, we wear on our bodies. 

Hackers for Hire: Bootcamp Grads Can Help Staff Dev Teams

2014-17-September-collaborative-programming.jpgAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for software developers is projected to grow 22 percent through 2022 – much faster than the average job growth rate of 11 percent – due to the major increase in demand for computer software.

Programming bootcamps have been cropping up across the country to help meet this demand, as well as close the skills gap that many claim exists between recent college graduates and workers with real-world skills.

With intense coding curriculum designed to enhance the skills of experienced coders and jumpstart those with little coding background, these coding programs could offer a real solution to companies in need of programming talent or for those looking to develop their current staff.

5 Dangerous Ideas for Corporate American Leaders #velocityconf

2014-16-September-Dangerous-Idea.jpgSome people lead with the idea that some things are certain and absolute. Others assume nothing, besides change, is certain and lead from the idea that the ground beneath them is in a constant state of flux. John Allspaw, SVP of technical operations at Etsy.com, spoke in depth about this topic in his session, "PostMortem Facilitation: Theory and Practice of 'New View' Debriefings," at Velocity NY yesterday.

Why History (and the Enterprise) Will Be Kind to Steve Ballmer

2014-16-September-Ballmer.jpgWe hear a lot about Microsoft’s new direction, and we hear a lot about SharePoint. We haven’t heard a lot about how the one impacts the other, but if you’re buying into collaboration (and odds are that you are) then you ought to be thinking about it. And if you think about it just a little, you’ll realize that Steve Ballmer mapped all of this out years ago. We just weren’t listening.

Content Is the Foundation of the Buyer's Journey

2014-16-September-Toward-Los-Angeles.jpgCompanies that are serious about the user experience on their website should already be thinking about buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, two of the most important components of website strategy.

Search Moves Up the Corporate Agenda

2014-16-September-Climb.jpgWe're gradually reaching a solid understanding of the state of enterprise search. Findwise started its Findability Survey in 2010 and the 2014 report will have been released by the time you read this. AIIM released its first survey for search implementation today. And while hurdles remain, search's prospects in the enterprise are finally looking up.

Customer Journeys Trump the Traditional Sales Cycle

2014-15-September-Rock-Paper-Scissors.jpgWhile pointless debate continues in organizations as to who “owns” the customer experience (the customer, of course!), the responsibility for nurturing and shepherding the continuous customer experience belongs to all teams that impact customers. At the core, much of the work should be accomplished by strong, continuously evolving collaborations between marketing and sales. Unfortunately in many companies there are still ridiculous and harmful walls between sales and marketing — and a lot of political nonsense, mainly tied to the "blame game" when forecasts aren’t met and deals aren’t closed.

In reality marketing and sales have intertwined roles for engendering positive outcomes from customer journeys, whether they realize it or not.

Fix Your Retail Site to Curb Abandoned Cart Syndrome

2014-15-September-Abandoned-Cart.jpgPicture this: You walk into your favorite store and the aisles are clogged with half-full carts. Miscellaneous items clutter the shelves. There are a handful of shoppers, far fewer than you would expect in this mess. They mosey through linens, picking up then replacing every throw pillow that sparkles, debating the merits of each sequined atrocity but never reaching checkout. This scene begs the question — are the owners selling anything?

This is the scene that many online retailers face. Though many elements separate online and in-store shopping experiences, shopping cart abandonment has a particularly large effect on e-retailers. Whereas brick-and-mortar shoppers are unlikely to become distracted and leave the store, online shoppers can and do switch stores with just a couple clicks. Comparison tools make e-shopping around even more tempting to consumers.

The Accidental Analyst

2014-15-September-Double-Vision.jpgIt’s no secret that the use of data analysis as a means to improve decision making is increasingly becoming a requirement for companies that want to remain competitive and employees that want to remain relevant. With that in mind, let's take a look at your most popular, most overworked and quite possibly, most important co-worker — the accidental analyst.

Productivity is Not a Soft Cost

There is a huge blind spot when it comes to the management of the time of knowledge workers. Basically, their time is not managed. 

5 Ways to Get Personal with Real Time Marketing Tools

2014-12-September-Nose.jpgDigital marketers have an evolving arsenal of tools and technologies at their disposal to glean business intelligence, create targeted messages and produce stellar digital experiences — whether online or in a retail outlet.

Biometric facial recognition, digital signage and customized displayed information are being used to better define the needs of customers, personalize the customer experience and increase brand awareness, loyalty and sales.