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Crm News & Analysis

Gartner Names 5 Vendors That Make CRM Cool

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If you still have doubts whether customer relationship management (CRM) is trendy, hip and cool, put your mind at rest. Gartner just released a list of "cool" CRM vendors.

But notions of coolness aside, what's equally as interesting is the evidence of specialization among CRM vendors and the signals that point to their potential growth.  

Lithium has Klout, Wants to be #SeriousAboutCustomers

Lithium Technologies today confirmed what everyone seemed to know already — and acknowledged it has bought Klout. Lithium is reportedly paying almost $200 million in cash and private stock for the social media ranking influencer — twice as much as speculated during the past month.

Speaking at a late-to-start press conference — Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO of the social customer service company, declined to confirm the value of the deal. However, he noted, "If Lithium is paying $200 million for Klout, then it is a very valuable company and I'm happy about that."

Tarkoff described the acquisition as a significant extension to its platform that will offer consumers and brands better ways to engage online. "We're adding the relationship piece into the CRM world," he said. "Together, we could be something incredibly disruptive to CRM."

Lithium is also adding Joe Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Klout, to the leadership team. He will become general manager and senior vice president of Lithium's Klout business, Tarkoff said.

Learning from Loss: Forensic Files for Lost Sales

Learning from Loss: Using Data from Deals that Fall Through to Make Your Sales Organization BetterAnyone involved in sales has experienced the near miss. That’s when you’re in what you think is the home stretch of a big sale, with your contact at the company assuring you that only one or two big shots have to sign off on the deal. As you’re icing the champagne, you get a call: the deal’s gone to your competitor.

4 Secrets to Successful Customer Engagement

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We're still very much living in the age of the customer. So what can businesses do to increase engagement between employees and customers? Here are some suggestions from Gartner.

Engaged customers are generally better brand advocates. They are more loyal and spend more on that brand. In a report titled "The Four Attributes of Customer Engagement," Gartner researchers stress that it is important to understand the foundation of customer engagement. It defines that as "attracting and influencing of customers" to hold their attention and induce them to participate in a long-term relationship.

Yep, It's Still the Age of the Customer

Still need evidence that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology is hot? Then take a quick look at recent research from Gartner, which shows CRM spending in Europe remains strong despite continuing economic problems.

Half of the 102 businesses surveyed in 30 countries and 20 industries in the fourth quarter last year plan to increase spending an average of 2.5 percent on CRM projects this year.

Demandware Moves E-Commerce Applications to the Cloud

demandwareDemandware likes to boast that it enables the world’s premier retailers to move faster and grow faster in the changing face of retail. But in the past 12 months, the company's stock has grown just as furiously.

Shares of Demandware — a provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions used by retailers and brands — nearly tripled in the past year. Recently trading at $75.30, the stock earlier this month hit a new all-time high at $82.23 after getting a bump from a strong fourth quarter earnings report, with subscription revenue advancing 46 percent.

Contact Centers Drive the Social CRM Revolution

With more than 2 million Twitter accounts established every day, social media presents a host of new challenges and opportunities in the realm of customer relationship management (CRM). People are tweeting not only about their customer service needs but also the good, bad and ugly of the experience that they receive from companies.

According to evolve24, 70 percent of customer tweets to companies are being ignored -- and the damage can be significant. Gartner estimates that failure to respond via social channels can lead to an up to 15 percent increase in churn rate for existing customers.

Sitecore Apps Offer Mobile Customer Experience Analytics

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Sitecore wants to put the customer at the heart of customer experiences. And now that the world has gone mobile, that means optimizing the mobile customer experience.

With Sitecore's release of mobile apps for its experience platform, it's acting on that business strategy.

While it hasn't put its entire experience platform on mobile, it has made the platform accessible on mobile — a timely move given predictions by Forrester and others that the lines are blurring between physical and digital worlds.

Adobe Adds E-Commerce Option with Elastic Path Integration

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Adobe Marketing Cloud can make even the most sophisticated marketing campaigns easy to develop. Now it's enhancing its e-commerce options through a formal integration with Elastic Path. 

It's a key integration — and particularly noteworthy because the development work Elastic Path has completed provides an integrated authoring experience directly inside of Adobe Experience Manager, which is unique.

Adobe has previously worked with Elastic Path on a number of different projects. It was through these projects that, little by little, both companies realized they were good for each other and decided to tie the knot.

Top 10 Things to Measure in Google Analytics

What are the most important things to track in Google Analytics? WebLink International, which provides membership management technology to business associations and other member based organizations, just issued a new, free e-book that might help you answer that question.

Adobe Campaign Update Due by Late Summer

Thumbnail image for ADBE 320.jpgThe long anticipated integration of Campaign into Adobe's broader marketing suite will take a big leap forward late this summer, but customers should expect ongoing changes throughout the year. 

Campaign, acquired when Adobe paid $600 million in cash for Neolane last July, sends personalized content across any channel. Adobe released a rebranded version in January that connects with its Experience Manager. But the company still has a long way to go before Campaign works seamlessly with the other four parts of the Adobe Marketing Cloud -- analytics, media optimizer, social and targeting.

"I think it's going to take some time to fully flesh-out that acquisition and fully integrate it with the marketing cloud," Patrick Tripp, senior product marketing manager for Adobe Campaign, said in an interview. "It's going to be a journey. It's going to be a series of announcements through 2014."

Salesforce Opens Data Centers to Reach 'Internet of Customers'

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You’ve probably heard about the Internet of Things. But what about the Internet of Customers? Salesforce apparently has: It plans to open three new data centers in Europe later this year to support — you guessed it —  the Internet of Customers. 

Microsoft Wants to Change Business Culture, Technology #CONV14

Microsoft is running two big conferences at the same time. The SharePoint 2014 conference began in Las Vegas yesterday, while Dynamics Convergence kicks off today in Atlanta with a keynote from Kirill Tatarinov, executive vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions. According to the pre-conference notes, this year will all be about customer views and developing top customer experiences.

Oracle Bites On BlueKai in #Martech M&A Feast

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Oracle Corp. appears to have an insatiable need for acquisitions, with a focus on anything involving marketing technology (now known in the Twittersphere as "#martech"). Its latest deal is BlueKai, an acquisition announced this morning. Although terms of the deal were not released, it is estimated in the $350 million to $400 million range.

The buy will help Oracle to personalize marketing programs and the customer experience. Omar Tawakol, CEO, BlueKai, said his company's products "convert fragmented and disparate marketing data into high-performance results for companies.”

BlueKai claims to maintain a database of 700 million consumer profiles and has more than 300 customers across multiple industries. The company boasts that its Data Management Platform (DMP) keeps the customer and audience data in the cloud to target marketing campaigns and deliver better results. 

In short, BlueKai is one of the largest providers of data that help provide those super-targeted ads you see in your browser that might seem a little creepy because they happen to coincide with what you've been searching for lately.

What's In WhatsApp? Customer Devotion

Once you dig into the astonishing numbers for WhatsApp, you can kind of see why Facebook paid $19 billion for the company. Kind of.

Facebook was forced to pay such a high price for WhatsApp because of the communications app's ridiculous growth numbers and devoted users, 75 percent of whom used it every day and logged on to the app several times per day.

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