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Customer Experience News & Analysis

News Frights: Getting Social, Embarrassed and ... Scared

The latest in self-service, simplicity, the ties that bind, postscripts and things that go bump in the night from Hong Kong on the Hudson, the City that Knows How and the Fair City, Venice of the North and the Colonial Capital.

Breaking the Dam of Digital Asset Management for Better CX

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Is it just me, or is everyone and his mother dropping the phrase digital asset management (DAM) around as if it were big data or the catch phrase du jour?

The big consulting firms à la Accenture use it. Creative agencies have moved into the space. Social media representatives claim they do it to some degree. And we cannot neglect my personal favorite — the plethora of “technology services companies,” big and small, that are using it with clients.

It’s like a game of charades out there. Everyone can put on their own form of DAM for us to guess if it works, but ultimately, the ones who win are those brands that form deeper relationships and bonds with their customers. Said differently, what matters most is that retailers use all of their assets to their advantage so that customers and brands feel deeper connections with one another. 

Random Digital Biz Predictions: Tricks or Treats?

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Boo. It's trick-or-treat night.

For those who don't celebrate, it's that Oct. 31 tradition where people dress up in costumes and hypnotize themselves into believing that chocolate has zero calories. 

Kids knock on neighbors' doors, asking them, "Trick or treat?" The adults usually go with the treat answer and give the kids candy (of course, not the good candy. Adults save that for themselves for late-night snacking).

But the trick or treat thing is applicable to the digital business world, too. Predictions on marketing automation? Trick or treat? Larry Ellison "stepping down" and losing influence. Trick or treat? Big data vendors are awesome. Trick or treat?

We wondered. So we asked.

Hell on Deals, Vamp Attacks and Frightfully Good Marketing

2014-31-October-Happy-Halloween.jpgHalloween is arguably one of the greatest marketing successes of all times. From a modest holiday that provoked kids to raid their parents' closets in search of a makeshift costume, Halloween has grown to a spook-tacular extravaganza.

Mike Kercheval, president and CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers, said this week that consumers have become more and more be”witch”ed with Halloween. According to an ICSC survey,  nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of US households plan to spend money on costumes, candy, decorations and Halloween-related items this year.

Eight out of ten households plan to spend the same or more than they did in 2013, giving the holiday an estimated $11.3 billion price tag for 2014. "This is good news for retailers because Halloween spending is considered non-essential or discretionary, so all signs point toward a similar consumer sentiment during the holiday shopping season," he stated in a blog post.

You gotta love Halloween ... Go ahead, click. I dare you.

Top Challenges for Multichannel Marketers #DMA14

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Two-thirds of marketers in enterprise companies fail to tightly coordinate campaigns across all marketing channels, and just 43 percent state that their marketing departments share common goals across channels, reveals new research released during this week’s Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Annual Conference in San Diego. 

The report (registration required), sponsored by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, was based on a survey of more than 300 marketing executives in large- and mid-sized companies, and found that organizational silos continue to hamper marketers from effectively implementing multichannel strategies.

IBM, Twitter in 'Landmark' Enterprise Analytics Deal #IBMandTwitter

2014-29-October-Budgie.jpgTweet this -- enterprise software met social media today in one of the first major business partnerships of its kind. 

IBM and Twitter have joined forces in the red-hot enterprise analytics software market.

The social media platform will integrate its data into IBM's Watson cloud analytics portfolio, customer engagement capabilities and consulting services in what company officials call a "landmark" partnership announced today at IBM Insight, the Armonk, NY-based technology giant's big data and analytics conference in Las Vegas.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told the Insight crowd today that no one matches Twitter's ability to deliver real time insights from the real world.

"And IBM brings a unique ability" to deliver analytics, complex systems and data together for deeper trends and insights, he added.

Forrester Shows Little Love for SAP, Marketo in Marketing Wave

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When you think "marketing cloud" you probably think Salesforce.com and Adobe — and for good reason. These two providers have solid offerings that stay competitive with a steady addition of new features, industry experts concur.

They are not the only game in town, though, as a new report on the sector from Forrester Research makes clear: users interested in other offerings might want to investigate SAS Institute, Oracle, Teradata and IBM, it concluded in its Forrester Wave: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites for Q4 report.

But the report was less enthusiastic about SAP and Marketo. These two providers, Forrester stated, "have work to do to catch up with the others."

Why Customer Success Will Fail

2014-29-October-Success-Sleeps.jpgI’ve seen customer success transform businesses that bring it in as part of their culture. So when I saw a post titled “Customer Success is a Failure,” I was a bit horrified at what I was about to read.

But when I read it, it turns out Noreen Seebacher, the author of the post, is in many ways spot-on … though I do take issue with a couple of things she said.

Constant Contact has the Toolkit for Growth

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The main growth levers at Constant Contact continue to point in the right direction, as the company — a provider of cloud-based digital marketing solutions for the small and midsize business (SMB) market — gains traction with its Toolkit online marketing platform.

Thanks to Toolkit, introduced in April, Constant Contact is seeing better customer engagement, higher average revenue per user (ARPU), improving retention rates and increased lifetime customer revenue, according to CEO Gail Goodman. 

Facebook Flexes Its Mobile Muscle, Lifts Profit 90%

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If there were any doubts about Facebook's momentum after Twitter's disappointing financial outlook, they vanished yesterday when the social network exceeded earnings expectations with a third-quarter profit that jumped 90 percent from a year ago.

Marketers found a lot to like in Facebook's quarterly report. For example, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a conference call that the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is now serving 1 billion videos per day and that its Instagram users are spending a generous 21 minutes per day on the service.

But the biggest news was about mobile ads. Daily active users on mobile jumped 39 percent from a year ago to 703 million. And revenue from mobile ads accounted for two-thirds of the company's advertising sales during the third quarter, up from 49 percent just a year ago.

What Gender Should You Target with Mobile Ads?

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It’s not a myth. Women really do love to shop.

Data has long showed that men are gaining ground when it comes to buying. But women still do the bulk of the shopping for themselves and their families.

And it’s not only in stores. A new analysis by AppLovin, a mobile marketing company that came out of stealth earlier this year, shows that women dominate mobile sales as well.

A Signpost on the Road to Marketing Automation

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As technologies mature, two nice things typically happen: the price falls and capabilities rise. Soon almost everyone can take advantage of it.

Consider cell phones. They were expensive, bulky status symbols when first marketed, but 4.55 billion people will use better, cheaper phones this year, according to eMarketer. Computers? Over the past 20 years, the price of a medium-quality PC has fallen from about $2,000 to a few hundred dollars. And today's computers are much better.

So it shouldn't come as a terrible shock that a Software-as-a-Service startup is now offering a marketing automation system with basic cross-channel customer relationship tools for $200 a month, or $180 if you pay in advance. The company's target? Mom and pop businesses.

The Magic of Meaningful Customer Experiences #DMA14

Magic Johnson gave the ultimate demonstration of personalized marketing yesterday, as he stood in a room full of admiring marketing professionals and posed while smartphones captured photo after photo of the NBA Hall of Fame Legend-turned-entrepreneur.

One of the day’s keynote speakers at DMA2014 in San Diego, Calif., Johnson continued connecting with the audience by avoiding the stage, and instead circulating among attendees throughout his entire talk on creating meaningful customer experiences

Marketing to the Segment of One is Closer Than it Seems

2014-28-October-Alone-in-Bleachers.jpgAs mass marketing dwindles in popularity and effectiveness, the “segmentation of one” is the future. Businesses must be able to market to customers at an individual level to remain competitive and relevant. However, without customer analytics technologies -- such as modelling, forecasting and segmentation -- marketing to this degree of detail can’t be done efficiently.

The Darker Side of Data Mining? Ask Your Doctor

2014-28-October-Say-Ah.jpgI’m a digital marketer. We mine data from the Internet all day long in order to sell more shoes. I have no problem with that. People like shoes, they want shoes. If they spend so much money on shoes and can’t pay their rent because of a campaign I designed, that’s perfectly OK with me. It’s called a free market.

What digital marketing does well is collect (mine) all the data floating around the Internet -- things like tweets, likes, shares, webpage visits, downloads, shopping cart activity and purchases -- in order to find out what experiences with the brand drive the most desired outcomes. We call it “actionable insight” -- data that reveals how we might drive better outcomes. The outcomes we drive are always one of two things: reduced cost or increased revenue. 

But here’s a conversation I had with my sister recently about the way data mining is used now in medicine that I found disturbing.

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