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CMSWire's Top 25: The Hits of 2014

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Another year has come and gone — and with it, an amazingly diverse selection of stories from CMSWire staff writers and contributors. Over the past 12 months, our team has worked hard to inform, entertain, inspire, provoke debate and encourage discussion about a wide range of B2B topics.

Before we make the usual predictions about how much more we expect to accomplish in 2015 (which we do) or how we expect CMSWire to become an even better source of information for everything related to digital experience, marketing, social business, big data and more (which it will), we'd like to step back and collectively say the most important thing possible.

Thank you.

Thank you for reading our content, posing thought-provoking questions and participating in our webinars and Tweet Jams. We appreciate your support, your informed discussion and all the many ways that you, our readers, have helped make CMSWire a go-to source for industry information.

And now, a selection of some of the stories and authors you enjoyed the most in the past 12 months.

CMSWire Top Contributors 2014 - Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer

3ef26a4.jpgTjeerd Brenninkmeijer predicted that 2014 would be "a great year for Web Content Management" one year ago and from this vantage point, it looks as if he was right. Tjeerd's passion for all things digital experience and 14 years of business experience keeps him in demand as a speaker at conferences and in demand as a writer on CMS related topics. 

A Look Back: Still Searching for Optimal Customer Experience

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You couldn't escape talk about awesome, amazing, remarkable customer experience (CX) in 2014 — or, for that matter, related terms like customer satisfaction, customer focus, customer service or customer-centricity. It is, after all, the Age of the Customer — a reality that has caused businesses everywhere to embrace CX as a business goal.

But like the mythical 10 pounds we collectively vow to lose on New Year's Day, the customer centricity of most companies, as evidenced by their delivery of memorable customer experience, rarely evolved from a concept to a practice this year.

And no matter how hard companies tried — with new technologies, new programs and even new names ("customer success," anyone?), the dream of seamless, engaging, excellent cross-channel customer experiences often remained an illusion.

  • Why is it cheaper if I order online for in-store pick-up than if I just buy it off the shelf at the store?
  • Why do so many companies make me wait more than 30 minutes to speak to someone who might have the authority to resolve my problem?
  • Why are call center representatives unable or unwilling to understand when you plead "I cannot hear you – please adjust your headset?"
  • Why can't anyone listen to what I am saying?
  • Why are so many of my interactions with companies simply frustraneous?

Why, indeed?

A Look Back: Innovation or Hype in Digital Marketing?

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Digital marketing is hot. Has been for years now, and 2014 was no different.

But by hot, what do we mean?

Hot as in products are killing it for organizations -- churning out ROI like it's going out of style? Hot as in innovation is at an all-time high, with different products and features hitting the market daily? Hot as in having a digital platform is a MUST for any marketer?

Some of this is happening, we're sure. But in 2014, it seemed like digital marketing was hot simply because, well, people were talking about it.

We really didn't see a leader. A clear visionary. An innovative concept that no one had that just flipped the industry upside down, much like when a Harvard dropout wanted to connect college kids online more than 10 years ago.

CMSWire Top Contributors 2014 - David Diamond

2014-22-December-David-Diamond.jpgDavid Diamond believes that the more people know about DAM, the more the Digital Asset Management industry can move forward. He pursues this education strategy on many fronts: with his work at Picturepark, via #DAMTip on Twitter, through the DAM Guru Program which connects DAM experts with people who need help, and in his provocative writings which he shares with the CMSWire community.

CMSWire's Top 10 Hits of 2014: Digital Marketing

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For digital marketing, 2013 was the year of acquisitions — and 2014 was the year of putting those acquisitions into action. IBM and Silverpop. Insightera and Marketo. Oracle and Responsys.

Integration with acquisitions take time, and we didn't see a clear winner in 2014. Will we in 2015?

5 Non-Negotiable Requirements for a CMS in 2015

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Content marketing and mobile are the digital marketing buzzwords for 2015. Next year, techniques like personalization, targeting and testing will be non-negotiable CMS features — and here's why.

Your customers are empowered like never before. They seek out information about your business on their own terms, on their own time. And they’ve got options: Google search, reviews, forums and social media all combine to shape their image of your company and its offerings.

If they’re interested, they can choose to visit your site or download your app. It’s their call. If you want to engage them, you have to provide appropriate, relevant and entertaining information. And make sure it is accessible on mobile, which has overtaken desktop consumption in the past year.

Discussion Point: What's Most Important in Web CMS?

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Nothing stirs a good tech conversation like Web Content Management Systems (Web CMS).

Some think it's time to get back to basics. Everyone has a say on who has the best CMS out there. And people watch this industry pretty closely -- especially on merger and acquisition talks.

But this is a technology. And enterprises need it to do their jobs better -- and make websites look fabulous while managing content.

So what is the most important feature in a Web CMS? We put this question out to some Web CMS veterans today in our latest Discussion Point.

By the way, this closes out our 2014 season of Discussion Point pieces. Check out prior ones. Got a great topic for 2015? Tweet us @cmswire.

PwC's Pete Winkler: Exploring Global Opportunities

Thumbnail image for Connecting with Bill SobelPete Winkler has more than 20 years of marketing, brand strategy and management consulting experience. 

He's spent much of his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he has held several key positions.

He served as Global Marketing Director of PwC’'s Entertainment and Media Practice, leading all marketing and business development efforts and overseeing PwC’'s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, a leading industry’ market forecast.

He was also a management consulting director in PwC’'s Entertainment and Media Advisory Practice, where he specialized in advising multinational companies on the impacts of digital technology and industry convergence. His clients included some of the leading international entertainment and media conglomerates, as well as top software, telecommunications and technology services companies.

Now he's Priority Clients Leader for PwC’s Central and Eastern European region, overseeing client relationships, market targeting and new business growth initiatives.

The Problem with Personalization and Customer Experience

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“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” -- Hal, 2001: A Space Odyssey

At the recent Henry Stewart DAM Conference in Los Angeles, the best and the brightest in Digital Asset Management shared their stories and showed their wares to an eager audience. The subject that recurred in presentations and many conversations was that of "personalization" and customer service in technology.

Consumers want more than just an experience -- we want a personal connection that identifies with who we are, our interests, expectations and abilities. Personalization of experience, technology and delivered results depends on accessible, comprehensive data feeding the website. Getting the right data at the right time requires understanding and effort from people, process and technology. The difficulty of providing personalization lies in leveraging the data to provide stellar customer service, inspire trust, gain efficiencies and meet expectations.

7 Troubling Myths About CX - and Why It Could Fail

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Colin Shaw knows customer experience (CX) — and he doesn't like where it's headed.

Twelve years ago, Shaw co-founded Tampa, Fla.-based Beyond Philosophy, a consultancy and training organization devoted to customer experience (CX). The company specializes in helping organizations to create deliberate, emotionally engaging customer experiences that drive value, reduce costs and build competitive advantage.

In addition to serving as CEO of Beyond Philosophy, he's the author of four books on customer experience and has a new one, "Unlocking the Hidden Customer Experience: Short Stories of Remarkable Practices that Ensure Success," scheduled for release next month. He's also one of LinkedIn's top 150 business influencers worldwide. So he knows of what he speaks when he expresses concerns about the future of CX.

"I'm becoming increasingly concerned that the goal of improving the ‘Customer Experience’ is heading the same way as customer relationship management (CRM) ... into failure," he said.

Week in Review: Microsoft's Yammer Push + Open Source Strategy

Warm to Programmatic?
Have advertisers woken up to the potential of programmatic marketing?

What's in a Domain Name?
Bill Sweetman breaks it down.

Product Management Dissected
What's the current enterprise tool landscape look like?

The Yammer Push
Microsoft isn't sitting back in Yammer's enterprise future.

No Rainy Days for Cloud
The cloud space continues to flourish. 

Open Source is the Champ
So now what's your strategy?

5 Keys to Launching a Killer Website  
75% of Internet users judge a company by its website design.

 

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Bah Humbug: Could Your Holiday Emails Be Hurting You?

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Skip me if you’re sending out holiday emails, especially if we’ve never met. What you consider to be Seasons Greetings, I consider to be SPAM. And I have 512 such pieces in my inbox. I could have a part-time holiday job just opening them all.

And when I do open some of them and try to extend greetings of the season to you in return (it’s the least I can do, isn’t it?), the “To” box auto-fills itself with things like “customerservice@xxx.com”, no-reply@xxx.com, info@xxx.com and so on. It makes me feel so special, I can’t tell you.  What were you hoping to achieve?

The Holistic View of the Customer Experience

There's a consensus that if you want to be successful on line, you’re going to have to deliver an exceptional customer experience, something that leaves others trailing. Of course, there are many opinions on how to do that.

E-Spirit, for example, has a very particular notion of what customer experience involves. Many other vendors start by talking about technologies or silos. But for Oliver Jaeger, e-Spirit's vice president for global marketing and communications, it means the entire customer cycle from first contact to last sign-off.

While many companies just don’t get it that the whole process needs to be managed, e-Spirit is actively pursuing ways to provide that ultimate experience.

A Holiday Recipe for Successful Email Campaigns

2014-19-December-Baking.jpgThe holidays can be a particular challenge for email marketers as they face increased competition and the risk of over-saturating consumer inboxes with campaigns that may or may not be seen during the holiday crunch-time. If only there could be a reliable recipe for success, something as easy as one-part list hygiene, two-parts testing and “send” in small batches until done.

Is email marketing as easy as this? Well, no, but just like home cooks can feel like master chefs if they follow the instructions and use high quality ingredients, email marketers can greatly improve results if they stick to a tried-and-true recipe.

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