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Customer Experience News & Analysis

Forget the Channel: Just Focus on the Customer #BRITEconf

David Rogers at BRITE '14

Be customer experience focused and channel agnostic. Solve problems. Keep trying to make the customer experience better. Recognize that the boundaries between the physical and digital have blurred.

Disrupt or be disrupted.

Those are some of the key messages from the BRITE '14 Conference at Columbia University in New York City. Now in its seventh year, the two-day event is sponsored by Columbia's Center on Global Brand Leadership.

It brings together more than 500 thought leaders from media and business to discuss the ways innovation and technology are transforming the ways we build great brands. Keynote speakers included David Rogers (shown above), faculty director of Columbia's Executive Education programs on Digital Marketing Strategy and founder and executive director of the conference.

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.

Rackspace Emphasizes Digital Marketing Infrastructure

Companies deploying digital marketing capabilities have the technology experts. And they have those who specialize in customer engagement.

On the surface, that's two "very different" disciplines, said Gerardo Dada, product marketing leader for open cloud provider Rackspace Hosting.

Rackspace wants to merge those two worlds and today announced the launch of a new practice focusing on digital marketing infrastructure needs, Rackspace Digital. The hybrid cloud platform, Rackspace said, will help marketers engage with customers via websites, portal/extranets, mobile apps or online stores.

Having an "online presence" is for marketers "becoming more important than ever," Dada told CMSWire.

The Digital Marketing Disconnect

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Spending time as analysts do -- closely watching the vision that digital marketing vendors extoll to their customers -- it is difficult at times not to be caught up in the art of the possible. Watching demonstrations of customer interactions that cross desktop and mobile, SMS and email, and digital campaigns that effortlessly meet goals with barely a moment of manual intervention, can make for compelling viewing.

Global Navigation is Less Useful on Large, Complex Websites

As a website becomes larger and more complex, navigation should focus on helping customers move forward. Helping them move backwards or sideways can cause major distraction and confusion.

Education Trumps Promotion in IT Buyer Marketing

customer experience, Education First, Promotion Last in IT Buyer Marketing

Courting experienced B2B IT buyers through marketing campaigns?

Don't promote yourself. Well, at least not right off the bat. Offer prospective buyers something educational — and that could be your ticket to actual product promotion.

"Educational works best," said Jonathan Handler, principal of Jonathan Handler and Associates and a specialist in healthcare information technology sales who has experience as an IT buyer. "Especially for experienced B2B buyers. They simply expect educational content."

CMSWire talked with Handler about IT buyer habits after IDG Connect released its report, "Connecting Conversations to Content." This is the third part of a three-part series examining ways to connect IT buyers with the right marketing messages. Wednesday, Erin Bolton told us it's important to use social media, and yesterday, Geraldine Gray stressed the need to show, and don't tell, buyers what makes products great. 

News Bites: Mobile Native Ad Exchange, More Salesforce Integration

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What's new? Well, there's the first global exchange for mobile-first native ads, another way to integrate Salesforce with Google Apps, a digital asset management (DAM) conference in New York and help for mobile users  interested in editing Microsoft Office documents and other common file types.

If You Dress SharePoint Differently, Is it Easier to Use? #SPC14

new clothes.jpg

SharePoint 2013 has a lot going for it … "if only it wasn't so hard to use." Ask anyone who uses it routinely — and doesn't work in IT — and you're likely to hear something along those lines.

Non-technical users tend to describe SharePoint as easier in theory than practice (unless someone invests the time to become an expert.) "It can get really complicated if you want to go past posting documents or adding a list," one user explained.

Some users give up, relying on share drives or their own hard drives and email rather than a tool that integrates both these functions. "It's hard to persuade them to go a more digital route," another user said.

Others take the easy way out and ask someone in the IT department to generate or post content, even though that's not an IT function.

But what if there was a better way? What if there was a way to retain the functionality of SharePoint in a simplified package — to dress it, as it were, in different clothes? That's what Akumina claims it can do.

Too Much Fun: Things to Check This Weekend

CMS, big data and everything in between can be not only work, but also fascinating, practical in your personal life and a whole lot of fun. We’ve selected a few our favorites to share with you.

This Week: Marketers Depend on IT + Dropbox Strikes Gold

Survey Says? Make Surveys Better
Forcing survey-takers to opt-out. Creating surveys that take longer than 15 minutes. Not including any open-ended questions. Doing any of this? Here are five ways to make your marketing surveys better

Oracle Gets BlueKai. What's Next?
Oracle Corp. appears to have an insatiable appetite for marketing technology. Its latest deal is BlueKai. Marketing wonks should keep their eyes on Marin Software, a provider of a cloud-based digital advertising management platform, as a possible buyout target

Making BYOD Work
BYOD is all but inevitable today, but you must create a comprehensive BYOD strategy that identifies which mobile devices, applications and services to support. It should also provide policies and procedures to guide help-desk and customer-service employees. 

Long Live Email Collaboration
With all the anti-email push out there, we need to allow people to collaborate with the tools that they are comfortable using. Email is comfortable.  

Why IBM's Cloudant Acquisition Matters
Feeling the pressure to innovate, IBM bought infrastructure-as-a-service brand SoftLayer last year, and it’s why they purchased big data-database provider Cloudant this week.  

Golden Days of Enterprise IT
These are golden days for enterprise (and wanna be enterprise) IT vendors. You don’t have to look any further than the (now confirmed) $350 million Dropbox raised last month to prove it. 

Tech Brief: Agile Digital Marketing for the Enterprise
Learn how integrating your marketing tools into one system can benefit your business.
> Download the Brief

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Connecting: Content is the Secret of Marketing Success

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Stephanie Frasco loves few things more than social media. But content is one of them. “Content Is King," she stated enthusiastically. "It's everything … The key to attracting the right customers, the best tool for building relationships with prospects, the most powerful way to convert prospects into sales, the No. 1 way to improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, online and off.

"Yup."

Frasco, a social media marketing consultant, is vice president at Los Angeles based Convert With Content. In the past 7 years, she has worked with clients worldwide to help them maximize their efforts from social networking and blogging. 

Through a rather tongue-in-cheek blog called Socially Stephanie, she offers advice like this to B2B businesses:

I want you to absolutely think about blogging within LinkedIn's new publishing platform. Yes, this is hot off the presses. LinkedIn's publishing platform is now open to the public. The possibility of getting in front of LinkedIn's 200 million plus users is exhilarating, but you have to do it right. Create unique content for LinkedIn. Look at it as a guest blogging platform and not a syndication network. Duplicate content doesn't bode well with the Google gods. I know that I'll be spending investing some good ol' blogging sweat equity there, and you should too."

CMO Survey: Marketing Analytics are a Waste of Money

This won't help the marketing executive at the C-Suite table: Only about a third of organizational projects include marketing analytics. And there has been no significant gains for how marketing analytics contribute to a company's overall performance.

Those are two of the findings from this month's CMO Survey, the bi-annual report by Duke University, the American Marketing Association (AMA) and McKinsey & Company.

"There is a longstanding tendency for managers to not use marketing information in their decisions," said Christine Moorman, T. Austin Finch senior professor of Business Administration at Duke University and the founder and director of The CMO Survey. "We see that this holds for marketing analytics as well. Only 32.5 percent of marketing analytics that are either requested or available are used by managers to make decisions. This means that companies are spending more but not getting the full benefit of these investments."

Does Gmail's 'Unsubscribe' Link Spell More Trouble for Marketers?

Google rolled out a new feature last week that made it easier for Gmail users to unsubscribe from marketing email lists. Going forward, emails identified as “marketing” in nature will contain a prominent unsubscribe link in the header. When a user clicks the link, Gmail will notify the sender to remove the user from the mailing list without any further action required from the user.

Is this one more step in Gmail's campaign to torture marketers?

The Future of Customer Service: Predictive, Personalized

The future of customer service is scary and rewarding at the same time. It's scary because the machine will know everything about you. It's rewarding because shopping will become much easier as the machine makes more decisions about your life.

The Key to Attracting IT Buyers? Show, Don't Tell

customer experience, In Marketing to IT Buyers, It's a Show-Don't-Tell World

As a former IT buyer and current consultant for companies using Salesforce and other cloud deployments, Geraldine Gray knows what those in the market for IT products want.

They want to be showed not only what works -- but specifically where it has worked.

"Our customers love to see real life scenarios of product application through third party or user prerecorded webinars," said Gray, principal at Houston-based Endiem

And herein lies the message to the marketer. Show, don't tell. Show how your product has worked well for customers. Get out your rock stars, and turn up the amplifiers.

CMSWire talked with Gray about IT buyer habits after IDG Connect released its report, "Connecting Conversations to Content." This is the second of a three-part series examining ways to connect IT buyers with the right marketing messages. Yesterday, Erin Bolton told us it's important to use social media.

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