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Customer Experience News & Analysis

ChannelAdvisor Helps Drive E-Commerce

ChannelAdvisor claims it "empowers retailers to sell more." Founded in 2001, the company is a provider of cloud-based solutions deployed by retailers and manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimize their merchandise sales across various online channels. 

In early May, ChannelAdvisor delivered strong results for the first quarter, with revenue up nearly 30 percent — including core revenue growth of 32 percent, the fastest organic growth in seven years — and record bookings. But investors weren’t impressed: the stock fell as much as 25 percent over the three sessions following the report.

Organizations use the ChannelAdvisor platform to do everything from manage their product listings and check inventory availability to optimize price changes and select the best search terms across multiple comparison-shopping sites, e-commerce marketplaces and search engines.

The company supports roughly 150 shopping engines, 35 marketplaces worldwide and all of the major search engines.

According to CEO and cofounder Scot Wingo, customers usually come to ChannelAdvisor with an acute need to solve a specific pain point across their e-commerce businesses. They almost always want to automate and expand online, then optimize return on investment across the various channels. 

E-commerce is growing. Is ChannelAdvisor poised to capitalize on it?

Better Get Social If You Market Content to Millennials

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It's official – social media has overtaken email as the mechanism for sharing content among millennials. That's the word in a new survey from SDL, a provider of content management, analytics, social intelligence and translation.

The global survey, "Content Finds the Customer," is the third in a series from SDL called "Five Truths for Marketers." It found that six pieces of content are now being shared through social media to every five pieces shared through email.

It is yet another piece of evidence that marketers should emphasize social when targeting content at millennials. Social networks are also now the dominant means of content discovery for that age group — over customizable newsfeeds, email and search engines.

Salesforce Promises 'Amazing' Customer Service with Desk.com

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Using customer service platform Desk.com is like being adopted into a large family. The adopters happen to be Salesforce.com.

Salesforce has updated its acquired platform with a new intelligent agent console and a mobile app and reporting engine among other enhancements for all-in-one automated customer service. 

"The No. 1 wow factor is that we can grow with you," said Leyla Seka, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce Desk.com. "You can start on Desk.com and grow any which way you want to grow."

Seka described Desk.com as "awesome" and "amazing."

And then there's this -- a lot of point solutions, Seka added, do not have the speed and power of Salesforce behind it.

Amazon Opens a Brick-and-Mortar Cloud Store

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Retailers along San Francisco's Market Street have struggled to make a buck over the past decade, in large part because of competition from online stores like Amazon.com. So it isn't without irony that Amazon Web Services opened a brick-and-mortar pop-up store in their midst.

At first, the 30-foot wide, three-story high storefront looks empty compared to the carefully decorated windows and sales banners in neighboring stores. Then you spot the burly bouncer guarding the door, suggesting that something private is going on behind the whited-out windows. Finally, you see the modest lettering for Amazon Web Services somewhat above eye level. And still, you wonder, what is this?

This is a month-long experiment for AWS that blends one part Apple Genius Bar, two parts hip startup and a smidge of trade show marketing to produce a coffee-scented, loft-like environment where Amazon's cloud clients can ask for some free advice, attend events, get some training or, perhaps, just wash down a handful of M&Ms with a complimentary cappuccino. Day-long boot camps, normally $600, are free, like everything else here.

Are Best-Of-Breed Customer Experiences Really Best?

2014-6-17 e-spirit.jpgAt the end of May, e-Spirit upgraded its web CMS offering to make it easier for content creators to provide personalized content. It followed hot on the heels of the v5.1 release which aimed to significantly boost companies online time to market and improve the overall customer experience.

Both announcements form part of a wider strategy to offer users a best-of-breed web CMS. E-Spirit has from the start pursued the best-of-breed approach as opposed to creating an enterprise suite. But why best-of-breed?

We asked Oliver Jaeger, vice president for global marketing and communications at e-Spirit why his company has consistently taken this approach and where this strategy will take the company in the future.

Davra Does Internet of Things Data in the Cloud

Startup Davra Networks has launched a cloud services platform to help networking equipment resellers make sense of all of the data potentially streaming from the Internet of Things (IoT).

Called RuBAN, Davra's new cloud service will help connect potential IoT devices to a business intelligence platform that can analyze the data.

Davra CEO Paul Glynn sees wide applications for the product, which can help managers in industries as diverse as transportation, agriculture and telecommunications to monitor and manage their products and services remotely. 

Why Digital Marketers Need Couples Therapy

2014-17-June-Ari-Brandt-MediaBrix.jpgDigital marketers sound like they've been going to couples counseling lately. 

They want emotional connections, a new survey finds. Emotional connections to digital media. And emotional connections between their marketing and their users. 

Cue the sappy Richard Marx tune, please. 

Millward Brown Digital, which polled 300 digital marketing decision makers at Fortune 5000 companies and US advertising agencies, found that 88 percent of digital marketers would increase ad spend for digital branding if they could make emotional connections with users.

It also found that 81 percent indicated that targeting users based on their emotions, or emotional targeting, would help address the issue of "banner blindness," when users surf past banner ads without acknowledgment.

Millward Brown Digital surveyed digital marketers 25 years and older in April.

Marketers: Embrace the Extended Customer Lifecycle

2014-17-June-Capilano-Suspension-Bridge.jpgIn the past, marketers had the job of using a handful of channels to create brand awareness and offers to engage customers on a broad level until a sales team could come in and take control of individual accounts, or until a customer visited a local store. Sales teams or store employees were then responsible for delivering a personalized experience and for building the relationship.

Not any more.

Jahia Extends Web CMS Platform with Portal Factory

Open source content management system (CMS) vendor Jahia has released four new products off the Jahia 7 platform that debuted in April.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based provider released today Portal Factory, its new enterprise portal solution. 

SDL's Paige O'Neill: Customer Experience Getting Cheaper

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If you've been paying attention to the customer experience management arena over the past two years -- and what marketer hasn't -- you've probably noticed the tools have grown far more sophisticated and far less expensive.

That helps to explain why 750 marketing practitioners signed up for SDL's Innovate conference in San Francisco, where CMO Paige O'Neill hosted three days of activities around CXM from training sessions and keynotes to consultations and, of course, parties.

O'Neill has been at SDL for only about eight months, joining the UK-based company after a 3.5-year stint as vice president for marketing at Aprimo before its acquisition by Teradata. Before that, she was vice president for marketing at Aravo.

NextPrinciples: Bringing Context to Marketing Automation

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Marketing automation has its advantages, not the first of which is automating marketing channels and making things easier on marketers.

Satya Krishnaswamy gets it. But the CEO of NextPrinciples and former SAP vice president hears from marketers who say you miss context in automated marketing workflows.

Enter his company, which boosts marketing automation with its technology that generates better-qualified new leads and deeper insights into existing leads and customers. Its newest solution, an automated platform for social media marketing released this month, marries social media, marketing automation, demand gen and CRM.

Shaping the Future of Customer Responsive Marketing Automation

2014-16-June-Cast-Net.jpgMarketing automation (MA) has shown that it can be a smart tool -- when done right -- for shepherding and converting leads and automating marketing processes. As MA technologies have become more sophisticated, its near future role has evolved to deliver customer-responsive interactions on any channel. If this evolution continues, the name "marketing automation" will become inadequate to describe what can be accomplished when these technologies are combined with customer-focused processes, practices and strategies.

Why Transactional, Promotional Email Rocks for Marketers

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Numbers from Silverpop's survey on email marketing confirm what many vendors have touted -- automated messages triggered by behaviors work —and the success of manual, blind ones are fading.

The email service provider, who many say coined the phrase "behavioral marketing," released findings this month from its 2014 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Report that included emails sent by nearly 3,000 brands across 40 countries throughout 2013.

One of the big lessons from the results for marketers?

"Marketers really need to capitalize on transactional emails," Loren McDonald, Silverpop’s VP of industry relations, told CMSWire. "Don’t overload your customers with promotional offers, but try suggesting related products or encourage reviews within transactional emails. This allows marketers to gain better insight on their customers while also creating the opportunity for upsells."

Simplicity is Key to Self-Service Success

Simplicity should be to self-service as chocolate is to joy or sadness is to taxes. Human-to-human service (the "opposite" of self-service) is rich in flexibility, cues and empathy (unless you’re dealing with an ignorant service professional). Human interaction oils the path towards successful task completion. A self-service design must be very simple because it doesn’t have that human oil.

Discussion Point: Does Marketing Automation Enhance CX?

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The terms "marketing automation" and "customer experience" trip off the tongue of the modern marketer with increasing frequency. But it's not always clear how the former enhances the latter.

We took that question to several marketing practitioners who were in San Francisco for last week's Innovate conference, which focused on customer experience management across all channels.

The Question

How is marketing automation changing the customer experience for your customers?

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