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Digital Marketing News & Analysis

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.

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.

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."

Week in Review: No More BYOD + Egnyte Ups EFSS Stakes

Ready for the CX battle?
One awful customer experience taught us lessons.

Mark Cuban: Wired for Competition
CMSWire's Bill Sobel sat down with the legendary NBA owner.

Forget BYOD, HP Says
HP doesn't want your personal devices at work.

Terminate the Status Meeting
It's time for more productive gatherings in the workplace. 

Stealing Box's Thunder?
Can Egnyte light an EFSS fire? 

US Crackdown on Cybersecurity
Security experts analyze President's State of the Union. 

The Definitive Guide to Engaging Content Marketing 
Create Valuable, Relevant Content to Attract, Acquire & Engage Your Audience

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The 3 C's of Personalized Customer Service

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Customer service is a key differentiator for many companies. But as the number of communication channels and devices increases, so do the challenges of delivering personalized service across those channels.

A unified view of the customer is needed for omnichannel customer service -- something that can't be achieved with siloed systems and disconnected information. Channels can't merely coexist, but must inform one another to provide the needed context that makes each customer experience better and more personal. To succeed at customer engagement you must meet three fundamental requirements: being consistent, complete and contextual.

News Bites: MartMobi, OpenText, @AnalyticsWeek, More

The latest in synonyms, agreements, AKAs, designs and choices from Deutschland, the Hub of the Universe, the Beehive State, El Dorado State and the ‘Loo.'

Leveling the E-Commerce Playing Field

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Brick-and-mortar stores have an advantage over e-tailers when it comes to keeping customers engaged --it’s much harder for prospects to walk away from a face-to-face interaction than to click away from a website. In-store customers also go to greater lengths to shop there than online browsers, so they’re likely to be more receptive to immediate sales messages. E-commerce is clearly on the rise with growth estimates of 13.9 percent from Nov. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

Companies Plagued by Mobile Marketing Mediocrity, Altimeter Finds

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Hold the (cell) phone.

Despite all the talk about the importance of mobile, the ubiquity of mobile devices and the merits of optimizing mobile experiences, most companies and brands are still failing to capitalize on mobile technologies — and losing the potential to benefit from what is arguably one of the greatest opportunities for customer experience innovation.

That's the surprising conclusion of research being released today by San Mateo, Calif.-based Altimeter Group, a research firm dedicated to helping companies understand and act on technology disruption.

In a report entitled "The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience" (registration required), co-authors Brian Solis and Jaimy Szymanski warn that many companies and brands are still underestimating and underinvesting in mobile.

What's more, they conclude, clearly defined and unified mobile strategies remain largely elusive to most executives and strategists, who tend to view mobile as the latest “bright, shiny object" rather than both a means and an end to incredibly improved customer experiences.

It’s a recipe for disaster, they argue — and an imperative for companies and brands to address right now if they want to remain relevant, competitive and continue to survive.

Emotion + Analytics = Speaking Your Customer's Language

2015-22-January-Laughing-Eyes.jpgIn a recent interview with Jeannette Ho, vice president of revenue management and analytics at FRHI Hotels and Resorts, she spoke about using analytics to quantify guests’ emotions, with the goal of understanding motivations for traveling. FRHI’s aims for an ideal of turning “moments” into “memories” when guests are staying with them -- a great way to create a truly delightful customer experience.

But the question is how do you keep that customer experience healthy even when a customer isn't on property?

MarTech Realities: Integration, Build vs. Buy Decisions

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More people are talking about digital marketing technology. And that means more numbers.

We started the year with this "inspiring," "frightening" number -- 1,876, or the number of marketing tech vendors out there.

Today, we continue to the conversation with another number: 50. That's 50 as in the percentage of digital marketers who favor a marketing cloud suite -- the same number who like a best-of-breed solution approach.

That's the finding of the Winterberry group, which interviewed more than 50 advertisers, marketers, publishers, technology developers and marketing service providers last fall. Marketers, the research found, are evenly divided when it comes to the build vs. buy debate.

Bing/Yahoo Tramples Google in Paid Search

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Google is losing ground in the paid search market to the Yahoo/Bing partnership, according to new report by IgnitionOne (IO) a cloud-based digital marketing technology provider.

The IO Q4 2014 Digital Marketing Report calls the growth in Yahoo/Bing share “historic.” It jumped to 26.3 percent of U.S. search spend — a 25.8 percent jump over consecutive quarters.

“I am a little surprised by the success of Yahoo!/Bing at chipping away at Google’s lead. They're still a distant second to Google, but they have made some serious gains this quarter – mostly due to their gains in mobile and tablets,” said IO president Roger Barnette.

Q1 Planning: Top Marketing Technology, Social Business Conferences & Events (21-Jan-15)

Our industry event planner gives you the heads-up on what key industry events are coming around the corner. If we've missed something, don't hesitate to add your event to the list. (You can also view the full calendar here.)

You're Invited: Security and Compliance in the Cloud

Join CMSWire and M-Files with Doculabs tomorrow for a one-hour webinar to better protect your information in the cloud and ensure compliance.

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Digimind, Hootsuite Partner in Social Listening Tool Ecosystem

Who's talking about me, what are they saying and what should I do about it?

This is a software space now -- one Digimind jumped into one year ago.

This week, Digimind became the latest social listening provider to integrate with Hootsuite in a partnership officials said helps marketers by combining social listening capabilities (Digimind) and engagement features (Hootsuite).

"It allows users to identify the conversations about their brand that matter, such as customer complaints, bad reviews or potential customer opportunities with sentiment analysis and potential audience," Jerome Maisch, product marketing manager for Grenoble, France-based Digimind, told CMSWire. "From there, they can respond to customers accordingly and publish on multiple channels in real-time." 

Are You Ready to Compete on Customer Experience?

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Friends of mine were remodeling their master bath. After searching for a claw foot tub in stores and online, they found the perfect one that fit their space. It was only available for purchase on the retailer’s e-commerce site, they bought it online.

When it arrived, the tub was too big. The dimensions online were incorrect. They went to return it to the closest store, but were told they couldn't -- because it was purchased online, they had to ship it back.

The retailer didn’t have a total customer relationship view or a single view of product information or inventory across channels and touch points. This left the customer representative working with a system that was a silo of limited information. She didn’t have access to a rich customer profile. She didn't know that Joe and his wife spent almost $10,000 with the brand in the last year. She couldn't see the products they bought online and in stores. Without this information, she couldn't deliver a great customer experience.

Put the Tech Back into Tech Shows

CMSWire Op-Ed

It was sometime after Neil Young, Ariana Huffington and Al Gore had finished their bits on the Dreamforce stage. The speaker now was Eckhart Tolle, the most spiritually influential person in the world. But I wasn't feeling it.

I surfaced from the windowless basement of the Moscone Convention Center and found a cool gray October morning had turned into a warm, sunny afternoon. Hundreds of conference attendees lounged around an artificial-turf park on top of San Francisco's Howard Street. I watched two techies play ping-pong as Tolle's voice boomed from a nearby jumbotron.

That's when it hit me: In the world of big tech shows, the "show" now overshadows the "tech."

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