The top challenge for digital marketers is also their No. 1 priority: knowing their customers’ needs, wants and attitudes. That's the word from Experian Marketing Services, which just released its eighth annual digital marketing report. 

It found 38 percent of marketers cite knowing their customers as their top challenge in 2016, and 52 percent noted enhancing their customer knowledge as one of their top three goals this year.

Sal Tripi knows all about these needs and challenges. He is the assistant vice president digital operations and compliance at North Hempstead, N.Y.-based Publishers Clearing House (PCH), the sweepstakes company known for surprising people with those giant checks. He spoke this week on an Experian webinar this week that explored how marketers are navigating their biggest challenges of 2016.

sal tripi

Tripi said PCH has undergone a massive digital transformation. As part of its prize giveaway strategies, PCH needed to create solid digital customer experiences across all its channels.

But to build that loyalty digitally, it took time, money and the need for a digital analytics tool ecosystem that could turn data into customer insights and actions. It required internal realignment and input and support from all key executives.

The team effort ended up fixing a major problem: PCH had strong digital communication per channel, but didn’t carry that through all channels consistently. It lacked comprehensive digital experience execution.

“We had to look at all our technology,” said Tripi, who used Experian’s platform as one of PCH's marketing and analytics tools. “We had to make sure things were nimble, actionable, and that we were quickly utilizing the same data elements across all channels to make it actionable.”

In other words, create that unified customer data profile in its data warehouse that so many companies long for in the era of mandated digital experience execution.

“We needed to put our customers at the center of our universe,” Tripi said.

As for its survey, Experian Marketing Services surveyed more than 1,000 marketers worldwide. Additional findings include:

  • Eighty-one percent of marketers report challenges in achieving a single customer view
  • Enterprises cite making messages contextually relevant as their top challenge
  • Seventy percent of respondents work in marketing teams that are integrated either fully or somewhat, up from 61 percent in 2015
  • Personalization helps achieve a 158 percent increase in click rate
  • Sixty-six percent of marketers plan to implement predictive modeling over the next year and 68 percent plan to run mobile campaigns
  • Eighty-six percent of marketers build segmented audiences for paid advertising

Experian Marketing Services survey statistics

Mitel Acquires Polycom for $1.96B

Global communications provider Mitel of Kanata, Ontario, just acquired San Jose, Calif. video collaboration and conferencing provider Polycom for $1.96 billion, Mitel announced today. Mitel acquires all of the outstanding shares of Polycom common stock in the cash and stock transaction. 

Officials said the new company will operate under the Mitel name while maintaining Polycom's brand. Richard McBee, Mitel's CEO, will lead the combined organization. Steve Spooner, Mitel's chief financial officer, will continue in that role. Once merged, the combined company will have a global workforce of approximately 7,700 employees. 

"Mitel has a simple vision: to provide seamless communications and collaboration to customers," McBee said in a statement. 

"To bring that vision to life we are methodically putting the puzzle pieces in place to provide a seamless customer experience across any device and any environment. Polycom is one of the most respected brands in the world and is synonymous with the high quality and innovative conference and video capabilities that are now the norm of every-day collaboration."

Crestron Tackles Meeting Challenge

Rockleigh, N.J.-based Crestron wants to make meetings more effective with Crestron Fusion enterprise management technology and a Crestron PinPoint mobile app.

PointPoint, a mobile scheduling tool, allows employees to control meetings, including scheduling, setup, execution and completion. The app acts like a personal assistant. It identifies nearby meeting rooms with the right technology and devices to meet their needs, and ensures a personalized, automated meeting experience, officials said. 

“Bottlenecks commuting to work are bad enough, but bottlenecks at work pile on more frustration and wasted time,” Fred Bargetzi, chief technology officer at Crestron, said in a statement.

“In fact, there’s an average 10-minute delay between the scheduled start time of meetings and the actual start time. In a large organization, multiply that by the number of employees and meetings, then add in all the unused, underused and misused meeting rooms, and you can see why lost productivity and wasted resources can cost organizations billions of dollars every year.”

The Crestron Fusion Cloud platform provides real-time visibility into enterprises’ meeting spaces.

One Billion Emails ... Daily

Boulder, Colo.-based SendGrid, an email provider, announced this week it has reached the milestone of sending 1 billion emails per day on behalf of its customers. These customer communication messages reach more than 1.6 billion unique email addresses every 90 days and drive engagement and business growth for SendGrid’s 34,000 customers. 

Sameer Dholakia, CEO of SendGrid, said he is excited to continue building on the company's foundation of email deliverability, scalability and support.

SendGrid was founded in 2009. It’s delivered nearly 600 billion emails to date. SendGrid has grown to 300 employees. 

Keeping Corporate Data Secure

Mountain View, Calif.-based MobileIron, which provides mobile enterprise security, launched MobileIron Access, the latest addition to the company’s portfolio of security features for protecting corporate data. MobileIron believes only trusted apps on trusted devices with trusted users should be able to access corporate data in the cloud. 

MobileIron Access launches with integrations with cloud apps like Box, Google Apps for Work, Office 365, and Salesforce.

MobileIron Access allows enterprises to ensure that only approved apps with data managed in the enterprise sandbox can connect to the cloud service via mobile devices.

Canto’s Having a DAM Party

San Francisco-based Canto, a digital asset management (DAM) provider, has announced the agenda for its inaugural Canto Digital Asset Management Summit Americas, which will take place May 9 and 10 in New York City. The conference is designed for anyone with a professional interest in DAM. It’s tailored for Canto Cumulus enterprise customers.

The conference will cover every-day challenges of individual DAM users, to the mobility and platform integration issues facing DAM decision makers, and the complex technical requirements of DAM implementations.

“As DAM demands increase in complexity, the value that DAM systems deliver to the enterprise grows exponentially, especially as the global market continues to experience a rapid rise in the number of digital assets in play,” Jack McGannon, Canto CEO, said in a statement. 

John Horodyski, partner at Optimity Advisors, will deliver the opening keynote on May 9. Horodyski is also speaking at CMSWire's DX Summit in November.

CoreMedia Extends Integration to the IBM Marketing Cloud

Hamburg, Germany-based CoreMedia, a digital experience company, announced the official validation of its integration with the IBM Marketing Cloud. This integration builds on the capabilities of its existing CoreMedia LiveContext solution, which augments IBM-powered Web stores with content and digital asset management capabilities and extends it to support omni-channel digital marketing.

Customers will be able to create personalized email newsletters and targeted landing pages integrated with their existing Web content, media assets, and e-commerce data. 

It also includes flexible templates, pre-built design elements and instant previews. 

Accenture Gets Stronger in Japan

Accenture has acquired a majority stake in IMJ Corp., a full-service digital agency. The acquisition enhances capabilities of Accenture Interactive in the local Japanese market.

IMJ currently has about 600 employees and is one of Japan’s leading digital agencies. It provides a wide range of digital marketing services, including strategy, content design and development, customer acquisition, campaign management and data and analytics. 

Atsushi Egawa, country managing director at Accenture Japan, said in a statement that Accenture was  attracted to IMJ for its "know-how and deep insights into the evolving needs of Japanese consumers, and their ability to drive ROI in web and mobile integration for leading brands." 

Accenture Interactive offers a full suite of integrated digital marketing services, from experience design to marketing, content and commerce, focused on the digital customer agenda.

Dimension Data Scoops Up Microsoft Partner

New York City-based Dimension Data, which provides information and communications technology services and solutions, has acquired the privately owned Ceryx Inc

Based in Toronto, Ceryx offers a suite of services across the Microsoft Messaging and Collaboration Suite, including Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint and Skype.

Ceryx will reside within Dimension Data’s ITaaS Service Unit. Dimension Data will combine Ceryx’s offerings with its Microsoft Services to deliver a portfolio that spans on-premise, private cloud and public cloud, Office 365 — or a hybrid of any — for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business (S4B). This includes the Group’s private cloud offering called Cloud Services for Microsoft (CSfM).