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Customer Experience News & Analysis

Managing Digital Experiences with DNN's New Evoq 8

With today’s release of Evoq 8, the latest iteration of DNN’s web content management suite, digital marketers will find it easier to personalize their site content, view and act on real-time visitor stats, and access cloud-hosted digital assets from anywhere, the company claims.

“From a marketing solutions perspective, on the one hand are traditional web CMS for content publishing and on the other hand, there are now more nascent solutions from young companies rooted in predictive analytics, personalization, and content marketing,” said Navin Nagiah, CEO and president of DNN, in a press release.

“Marketers are desperate to bridge that gap. With Evoq 8, we will be one of the few companies to straddle both worlds and deliver measurable ROI to customers.”

The Value Exchange Equation is Shifting

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Marketers are hungry for customer data. Every piece of information about a customer and their interactions with a brand helps marketers create complete customer profiles and guide the ultimate strategy behind the sell. From methodically timing each touchpoint with a potential lead, to personalizing digital content on a website to show each unique visitor what they’d most like to see, the link between data and marketing decisions is undeniable.

But this data isn't always readily available, and customers are hesitant to provide brands with the personal information needed to create this free exchange of profiling and personalizing. The reason is simple -- customers don’t see the value in sharing data.

2015 M&A Surges, Set to Break 2014 Records

It's fitting that 451 Research released a study on merger and acquisitions (M&A) on the same day CMSWire shared the news of yet another tech industry merger.

The new research shows that M&A will continue this year — even faster and more furious than in record-setting 2014.

Last year, about $439 billion was spent on tech acquisitions, the most since 2000. The two biggest deals: Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner for almost $70 billion to top the list in February and AT&T purchase of DirecTV Group for “only” $67.1 billion in May.

There were also a number of large M&As involving less well-known brands:  Medical device giant Medtronic acquired Ireland-based Covidien plc in June, and Swiss-based building materials company Holcim bought French cement, construction and concrete supplier Lafarge.

PhotoShelter Launches DAM Solution for 'Companies of All Sizes'

New York City-based PhotoShelter is expanding from a photography website to provider of a targeted digital asset management (DAM) solution. It describes its newly launched product, Libris, as "a highly affordable, feature-rich system" designed to help companies of all sizes "efficiently and securely" organize, manage, access and collaborate with their visual assets. 

PhotoShelter CEO Andrew Fingerman said Libris addresses the visual content marketing needs of companies and organizations that are struggling to manage and capitalize on their time sensitive digital image assets.

"We know visual content is often spread around the organization, sitting on hard drives or partially-shared networks (think Dropbox) which prevents an organization from being able to use them quickly and seamlessly -- let alone to ensure the right images are being used in the right places," he told CMSWire. 

If You Build an Online Community, Will They Come?

2015-27-January-Cat-Birdhouse.jpg"If you build it, they will come." This worked for Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams," but when it comes to creating an online community to drive better engagement with your customers, it's not that simple.

Around the Global Community in 24 Hours #CMAD

On Monday’s sixth annual Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD), people from around the world immersed themselves in 24 hours of pure community management wisdom.

During the live Google Hangout, hosted by My Community Manager, community experts from across a variety of industries and geographies presented 24 sessions on topics such as determining whether your business is ready for a community, how to humanize your community, how to drive community engagement, how to handle a social media crisis, and the importance of employee advocacy.

Here’s a quick wrap up of a few of the day’s sessions, as well as a look at CMAD’s reach across the globe.

A Slimmer SDL Takes on the CXM Gorillas

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Sometimes less is more, as SDL claimed yesterday when it chopped its customer experience (CX) suite down to four parts from seven while boasting it now has the only global-ready CX suite.

SDL's Customer Experience Cloud V2.0 consists of Digital Experience, Knowledge Center, Customer Analytics and Language.

The strategy, which was first reported by CMS Wire in mid-November, plays off SDL's products in language to distinguish the US- and UK-based firm from bigger competitors on both sides of the Atlantic.

Told You So: Ektron is Merging with EPiServer

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Accel-KKR, the private equity firm that closed 2014 by buying Stockholm-based EPiServer and Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron, today confirmed what CMSWire reported more than seven weeks ago.

It's combining the two web content management systems (CMS) under the EPiServer name to "create the most complete digital experience platform in the cloud."

The news came at the exact time winter storm Juno was pummeling Ektron's New England headquarters — an irony not lost on former employee Fred Bals. Bals, who left Ektron in November after five years as manager of its customer advocacy and media relations programs, said simply, "One natural disaster deserves another."

But not everyone was as pessimistic. Ed Rogers, who joined Ektron shortly after his brother Bill founded the company in 1998, said it was potentially positive news. Rogers, who was fired in 2011 and went on to launch Akumina, told CMSWire, "New leadership signals a cultural change. I'm hopeful the new team will put the customer first, something that should be good for Ektron clients."

IDC Sees Steep Climb to Optimized Customer Experience

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If 2014 was the year when marketers added "customer centric" to  their vocabulary, this should be the year many of them turn those words into actions. 

But how? To help, IDC Research has published a MaturityScape report that presents a five-step process to go from the first tentative stage to optimizing the customer experience (CX). Sound simple? Actually, it's a pretty steep climb.

"Some of them are on the journey, and it's more about how to get started," said Mary Wardley, IDC's vice president for enterprise applications and CRM software. "This is to give them some sort of roadmap."

Fred Seibert: Ignore Anyone Who Calls Your Idea Crazy

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Fred Seibert likes to say that he's lived three FIVE lives … so far, anyway. He's been a cable TV pioneer, an ad agency owner, a TV and feature film cartoon producer, and, most recently, an Internet network executive. Oh, wait. We forgot "Jazz Cat" — a title he earned in the 1970s as the founder and head of Oblivion Records, a blues and jazz label.

In short, Seibert defines the title serial media entrepreneur. He was the first creative director of MTV, joining the parent company (then called Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment Company) in May 1980. And he was the last president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons.

One of his companies, Frederator Networks, is a leading independent online media start-up and cartoon production company. Another, Frederator Books, makes digital books for kids.

He's also the founder of multiple companies, including Channel Frederator, one of the first online animation networks, Next New Networks (acquired by YouTube) and Cartoon Hangover, the home of Bravest Warriors and Bee & PuppyCat (the largest animation Kickstarter in history). He's on the board of directors of Sawhorse Media and was the first investor in Tumblr.

But there is much more to Fred Seibert.

Turn Touch Points into Trust Points

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The bar gets raised in the retail world every year. Research from Statista indicates that retail e-commerce sales figures in the United States during the 2014 holiday shopping season reached $53.3 billion -- that’s billion with a capital B.

It used to be enough to sell good products, maybe have a website that describes them and a good customer service center. But these days, you don’t really succeed unless you do all that plus reach people on a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets, and get them to sing your praises on a slew of social media sites.

Insite Software: Data Analysis for 'People with Day Jobs'

Insite Software is releasing technology today that's designed for executives too busy to bury themselves in e-commerce data.

InsiteAnalytics will help the busy executives deliver key insights through big-picture strategic trends and more transactional micro analysis, said Phil Schrader, product manager of data commerce for Minneapolis, Minn.-based Insite Software. 

"InsiteAnalytics produces what we call 'data insights for people with day jobs,' eliminating the pain and complexity of data analysis and enabling organizations to quickly and easily actualize the value of their data," he continued. 

Pair Writing: A Revolution in Content Creation

There is an accepted wisdom that content creation must be a solitary activity if you want quality and creativity. But this is a consequence of the content tools (pens, typewriters) that have been available. As collaborative, network-oriented content tools emerge, we will see a lot more collaboratively created content. 

Adobe FormsCentral Quietly Exits the Room

After just about three short years on the market, Adobe FormsCentral is calling it quits.

According to a post on the Adobe Acrobat blog, its web form builder software will officially be “retired from service” on July 18, due to lack of interest.

“Despite enthusiastic use of FormsCentral by many of you over the past three years, we’ve found that there hasn’t been as much demand for this type of service as we anticipated,” stated the post, written by Rebecca Staley, a member of the Acrobat marketing team.

Community Management: Impacting Organizational Change #CMAD

Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD), and people across the world are celebrating the role these community leaders play in building brands, engaging customers and improving the overall customer experience.

“CMAD is a great opportunity for community practitioners to look up from their busy days and take some time to connect with peers,” Hillary Boucher, community manager at TheCR Network, told CMSWire. “Only 27 percent of community managers that we surveyed for the 2014 Community Manager Salary Survey found their position through traditional job listings. This means it's essential for community managers to invest in their professional networks."

Jeremiah Owyang, founder of Crowd Companies, initiated Community Manager Appreciation Day in 2010 to "recognize and celebrate" the efforts community managers worldwide play in respect to improving customer experiences.

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