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Digital Marketing News & Analysis

Your Customers - Or Your Best Friends?

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How many best friends do you have among your customers? Do your customers consider your company to be among their best friends? If the answer to these questions is no, then it might be time to make some changes.

According to recent research from Silverpop, you don’t have to invite your customers out for dinner or send them holiday cards, although this might help. All you have to do is communicate with them. The research found that how a brand corresponds with its customers is at the heart of relationship building -- and personalization is a business’ best tool.

Oracle: Our Marketing Cloud Is the Biggest #Interact14

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Oracle kicked off its Interact 2014 conference today by noting it has added 350 marketing applications and data partners in the past year. That's resulted in "the industry's largest marketing technology ecosystem."

As part of that, Oracle said its AppCloud now includes 235 fully integrated apps. Its BlueKai program has about 300 partners in data, media, privacy and technology that leverage BlueKai data for solutions that extend beyond ad targeting.

The announcements, issued hours before the conference opened, said the growth means clients can more easily build a personal dialogue with customers across channels, a goal that has evolved into something of a Holy Grail for digital marketers. Perhaps more significantly, the conference is also providing some clarity on Oracle's roadmap for integrating its costly acquisitions, including $871 million for Eloqua, $1.5 billion for Responsys and an estimated $350 million-plus for BlueKai.

Are You Up for the Omnichannel Challenge?

2014-16-July-Multi-Juggling.jpgIt’s no secret that we are living in an age of omnichannel engagement.  Customers today, empowered by a plethora of digital devices, can choose when, where and how they want to interact with brands. Millennials in particular expect their favorite brands to be easily accessible, all the time, via their channel of choice -- SDL research indicates that 67 percent of millennials touch two different devices daily and 60 percent agree “it should feel the same when dealing with a company whether you’re online, in a store or on the phone."

Expectations are higher than ever for marketers to deliver.

Q2/Q3 Planning: Top Marketing Technology, Social Business Conferences & Events (16-July-14)

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.)

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Act-On's Enhancements Focus on Reporting, Responsive Design

Another marketing automation provider is diving deeper into the space with enhancements to its platform.

Act-On Software, a Beaverton, Ore- basedprovider cited by Forrester as one of the top in the industry, added capabilities today that officials there say give marketers flexibility and control to customize individual user experiences and reports based on unique business processes.

This time last year Act-On added inbound marketing capabilities and a new mobile app.  

Forrester: Move Faster on App Development

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Developing great apps takes time, but in the age of the customer that time is measured in days and weeks -- not months.

Customers simply aren't going to wait for their smartphones to grow outdated while the IT staff designs, hand-codes, tests and finally releases a new app. No wonder there is simmering tension between marketers who want to enhance revenue and the IT staffer who must cope with shrinking resources and rising demands.

Enter "low-code" app development, a process that Forrester says will "speed up development by allowing application development and delivery (AD&D) teams to eliminate barriers to customer participation in projects as well as [expediting] handoffs between phases of projects."

5 Reasons Your Business Needs a Digital Platform

2014-15-July-Ace-Frehly-Platforms.jpgThink of how many ways a customer can interact with a company with just one mobile device. Text messages, phone calls, social channels, web browsing, e-commerce -- the list goes on. Whether phones, tablets, wearables, connected devices, etc., each offers an opportunity to deliver an experience based on the context.

The need for consistent experiences across these digital mediums leads to opportunities and challenges in delivering a consistent, seamless and compelling user experience across channels.

Customers Don't Care About Your Processes

2014-15-July-Milk-Processing.jpgIn January of last year, Macy's became the first major retailer to name a Chief Omnichannel Officer. In May of this year, Target announced the formation of a new Digital Advisory Committee to focus specifically on brainstorming omnichannel strategies.

Clearly the need to deliver true omnichannel experiences is something that retailers and their marketing teams are taking very, very seriously.

The Myth of Cooperation Between Marketers and IT Pros

digital marketing, Marketers Working with IT Professionals: Total Myth?

Wait, what? Only about one out of four marketers describe marketing and IT as strategic partners.

We thought we were in the "Marketing and IT, Sitting in a Tree..." era? All we seem to hear is how marketing and IT must work together, break down silos and even report to one another.

What happened to all that? But the statistics are hard to deny. A full 74 percent of marketers dismisses the wishful thinking about marketers and techies living happily together, according to the Teradata Data-Driven Marketing Survey 2013.

So what to do? Teradata thinks it can help.

The analytic data platforms, marketing applications and services company in partnership with Forbes Insights today released a new research study for CMOs and other senior marketing decision makers worldwide titled, “Breaking Down Marketing Silos: The Key to Consistently Achieving Customer Satisfaction and Improving Your Bottom Line.”

Crying for Help? MindTouch is Listening

How can you get into the mind of your customers? MindTouch, the company that's trying to redefine the help center, has released two updates for better understanding of customers.

The company, founded by two ex-members of Microsoft's Advanced Systems Research Team, describes the occasion when customers reach out for help – when they obviously want to use your product, but just don't know how – as an opportunity.

What Matters (and What Doesn't) for Flexible, Agile Solutions

2014-14-July-Many-Languages-Love.jpgEnterprises don't lack for choices. In one of his final blog posts before leaving Forrester as an analyst, David Aponovich summed up the importance of web content management to creating digital customer experiences.

He wrote that “WCM has become an essential foundation for enabling successful digital experience efforts. And by doing so, it’s supporting one of the last things that corporations and brands can use to differentiate themselves.”

Cloudwords Offers New Solution for Global Marketers

Marc Benioff-backed Cloudwords is continuing its quest to help global marketers manage multi-lingual content. The cloud-based translation management application today announced Campaign Manager, an enterprise-ready solution designed to help marketers "plan, execute and track" the localization and translation of marketing content for global campaigns.

Benioff, the CEO of salesforce.com, was one of the original investors in the San Francisco-based company. 

Cloudwords was founded in 2010 by "individuals who gave birth to cloud computing," including Scott Yancey, a key architect on the salesforce.com platform, and Michael Meinhardt, a consultant who advised numerous enterprise customers on their global translation strategy, including Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems, Apple and Symantec.

Discussion Point: What's the ROI on B2B Social Media Marketing?

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I always tell the story of the day a supervisor at a former company told me, "We should get on Twitter."

Get on Twitter. Why? Because others are doing it, of course. 

There was no game plan. How much should we tweet? When should we tweet? What should we tweet? Are our clients on Twitter? Nope, not even that question was considered. 

Today, of course, social media seems to be all we can talk about when it comes to marketing. Even B2B marketers have caught on. Having a presence in social circles is a must.

Constant Contact Becoming a Platform Vendor

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Known mainly as a provider of cloud-based email marketing solutions for small businesses, Constant Contact has been expanding its product offerings, transforming itself into a platform vendor.

With more than 605,000 customers (including roughly 40,000 net new additions in 2013 and 10,000 in the first quarter), Constant Contact has the ability to sell a greater number of solutions (covering event registration, online surveys, coupons and social media campaigns) into an increasingly large installed base.

Now it has the potential to do even more with a product called Constant Contact Toolkit, which it claims which brings together all of the online marketing tools needed to drive new and repeat customers across key channels.

2 Final World Cup Lessons in Marketing Agility

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Every four years, the world watches in anticipation to see who will rise victorious in the World Cup. Here in the US, we’ve spent the past month pretending our best to be avid soccer or futbol fans. (Kidding, of course, as our affinity for the “beautiful game” has clearly grown since 2010.)

But to be honest, the competition this year has been amazing. Teams have spent years building a solid foundation of teamwork, talent and coaching prowess to earn spots in the World Cup. Countless hours of preparation have come down to a few inches to determine who wins or loses — responsiveness and agility capture the golden opportunity.

Just like the World Cup teams, our marketing organizations have prepared to be agile enough to take advantage of every opportunity to connect users to our brands, convert new customers and engage with social media.

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