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Content Strategy News & Analysis

Marketers Like Oracle Cloud's Summer Releases #interact14

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It's one thing to spend a couple of billion dollars acquiring digital marketing technologies and another to make them truly useful to today's marketers.

Nobody knows this better than companies like Oracle or Adobe, who went on multiyear shopping sprees to beef-up their capabilities in email management, social listening, customer analytics, email management, omnichannel messaging and other areas. The big question was could these companies quickly integrate these products in a meaningful way amid a fast-changing marketing industry.

Oracle, a newer player in the "marketing cloud" arena, showed off a series of its summer releases today at its Interact 2014 show in San Francisco, drawing boffo reviews from many of the 1,000-plus marketers in attendance. Clearly, the unofficial theme of the conference is "we are very, very good at integrating," as marketing cloud General Manager Kevin Akeroyd told us last evening.

The Customer Feedback Revolution

The web is one of the most perfect feedback environments, where the creator and the consumer become intertwined in the network. 

Discussion Point: Can Social Media Improve Customer Relationships?

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Life has become increasingly complex for modern marketers. In the not so distant past, all anyone expected them to do was identify, acquire and retain customers.

Now they're expected to build long-term relationships with them — and as anyone who has ever had a partner or a spouse can tell you, that takes a lot of work.

In his most recent book, "What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF)," Brian Solis explores the challenges of building customer relationships as well as options to improve them.

Solis, a principal analyst with the Altimeter Group, suggests marketers can improve customer relationships through the use of social identity, which he defines as the information about an individual available in social media, including profile data as well as ongoing social activity. As he explains:

Marketers are spending more on technology every year -- especially technology that can engage customers in personal ways at scale, like marketing automation, email service providers, retargeting and dynamic web content. Social Identity improves value of these tools by improving targeting capabilities."

We shared his hypothesis with five senior marketers to see whether they agreed that brands can target and personalize customer messaging through social identity. 

The Question

How does the contextual insight available in social media provide an opportunity to better know and engage audiences with personalized content and experiences across channels?

Better Get Social If You Market Content to Millennials

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It's official – social media has overtaken email as the mechanism for sharing content among millennials. That's the word in a new survey from SDL, a provider of content management, analytics, social intelligence and translation.

The global survey, "Content Finds the Customer," is the third in a series from SDL called "Five Truths for Marketers." It found that six pieces of content are now being shared through social media to every five pieces shared through email.

It is yet another piece of evidence that marketers should emphasize social when targeting content at millennials. Social networks are also now the dominant means of content discovery for that age group — over customizable newsfeeds, email and search engines.

Simplicity is Key to Self-Service Success

Simplicity should be to self-service as chocolate is to joy or sadness is to taxes. Human-to-human service (the "opposite" of self-service) is rich in flexibility, cues and empathy (unless you’re dealing with an ignorant service professional). Human interaction oils the path towards successful task completion. A self-service design must be very simple because it doesn’t have that human oil.

Discussion Point: Does Marketing Automation Enhance CX?

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The terms "marketing automation" and "customer experience" trip off the tongue of the modern marketer with increasing frequency. But it's not always clear how the former enhances the latter.

We took that question to several marketing practitioners who were in San Francisco for last week's Innovate conference, which focused on customer experience management across all channels.

The Question

How is marketing automation changing the customer experience for your customers?

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."

Content Marketing Myths and Truths

content marketing.jpgSomehow, "Content Marketing" has hit the jackpot in terms of business memes, with every marketing person tossing the term around like it's some sort of magic elixir.

But what exactly is content marketing? And how do you do it? I've cooked up a list of myths and truths of content marketing to help you wade through the hype.

10 Books Every Great Digital Content Creator Must Read

10 Books Every Great Digital Content Creator Must ReadOh, one of those lists, Ahava. Really?

Wait. Just hear me out. There’s an immense amount of dialogue right now in the content creation, content marketing, content strategy, content space. Some of it is important. Some of it will sink to the bottom, hopefully washed away by the pixels of the Interwebs. But, if you’re following closely, you’ll see that best practices still rise to the top, like the proverbial cream.

Content Strategies Built for Revenue

Content Strategies Built for RevenueIt’s only the start of a new year, and already there is quite a bit of chatter about content and how it can affect the success of a business. There are debates about the continued effectiveness of content marketing as a strategy, and arguments over whether technology can actually fix anything.

But as we look at marketing -- and how the use of content plays into that -- one of the drivers we have to examine is changing the way we think of success. Rather than looking at “more engagement” -- whether it be “visitors,” “likes” or “followers” -- we should start to examine how content can be tied together to generate revenue.

Content Marketing and CRM: How Shared Content Can Shape Customer Relationships

Content and CRM: How the Content You Share Can Shape Customer RelationshipsThe content you share with customers and potential customers makes an enormous difference in the way prospects see your business and the degree of confidence and trust they have in you, both before and after the sale. The cynics say CRM is about feeding the sales machine, and while this is important, it really sets the stage for what CRM’s really good for --  building relationships and extending the customer lifecycle. Nothing helps in doing this better than sharing knowledge that helps your customers succeed.

All Content Must Prove Value

helpfulcontent.jpgSome believe that because they are not involved in commercial websites they don’t have to prove value. That’s not true. 

What Content Farms Teach Us About Content

On the Web, content is an enabler. 

How Did 2013 Change Content Marketing?

How Did 2013 Change Content Marketing?The call for relevant and quality content reached a near fever pitch in the lead up to 2013. Were the proclaimers of content right? Yes. Throughout 2013, marketers sharpened their pencils to help produce content that would set them apart from competitors and show them as leaders in their chosen field.

Content Curation Challenges Persist for Marketers

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Content marketing is never as easy as it sounds. First you have to identify your key audiences, messages and platforms. Then you have to create the content.  A new report sheds light on the challenges marketers face when it comes to creating unique content experiences. 

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