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Digital Marketing News & Analysis

Parents Aren't the Only Winners When Kids Return to School [Infographic]

2014-25-August-vintage-back-to-school.jpgAs a major office store so accurately suggested in a TV ad a few years ago, it's back to school season … the most wonderful time of year for parents everywhere.

But before the kids are back on the bus, crowded into classrooms and discovering all new reasons to whine and complain, parents have to engage in the annual ritual of back-to-school shopping.

While many parents look at back-to-school shopping as rituals in frustration, they are important drivers of revenue for companies and brands. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Back-to-School Survey, the average family with children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade will spend more than $669 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, up 5 percent from the nearly $635 average last year.

Total spending on back to school will drop slightly to $26.5 billion because the survey found there are slightly fewer students in households this summer.

So what do marketers need to know?

5 Questions to Consider Before Launching a DAM Initiative

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In a world with increasing numbers of rich media assets and a diverse set of distribution channels, organizations are taking a closer look at rich media management tools like digital asset management (DAM). However, the market is fragmented, and relatively few big-name vendors offer DAM solutions. The Forrester clients I speak with are often new to DAM (or new to next-generation, customer experience-focused DAM), and are looking for advice on where to get started. What questions should you ask when considering a new DAM system?

Rocket Fuel to the Moon and Back

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Investors in ad-tech specialist Rocket Fuel have been on quite a thrilling ride. Drawn by the buzz of the company’s automated platform, which uses artificial intelligence and big data analytics to purchase ad spots on digital exchanges, traders last September rushed into the IPO: the stock was priced at $29 and opened at $59.95.

Rocket Fuel shares by late January were at a new post-IPO high of $71.89, a gain of 147 percent from the offering price. Today, they change hands at around $14.50.

So what caused Rocket Fuel to run out of gas?

Discussion Point: Can One Firm Provide Complete Digital Experience?

discussion-point

The complete digital experience from one digital provider. Ah, sounds refreshing, doesn't it?

Or maybe it doesn't. Maybe being locked into one vendor sounds scary.

The truth is -- most experts think the industry is far from having an all-in-one.

Forrester Research reported this in its first Wave for Digital Experience Delivery Platforms last month. It determined no vendor offers a truly "end-to-end solution."

Heck, when even vendors admit they don't offer the complete digital package, you know it's the truth.

"Our end goal is a common user interface for everything end-to-end," one software company product manager told Forrester researchers. "Currently we only have that for the first third of the journey."

We asked three professionals in the digital industry to weigh in on this question of "all-one-in."

Ann Handley: Great Content is the Soul of Your Brand

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Ann Handley knows content is the secret to a successful website. In fact, she maintains, great content can be the soul of your brand. Her advice: show rather than tell, share insight or solve problems, reimagine rather than recycle.

As she explains, "Good writing and (more broadly) good content strives to explain, to make things a little bit clearer, to make sense of our world… even if it’s just a product description or a blog post or a video or a graphic novel."

Handley is Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, a company that likes to boast it provides real-world education for modern marketers. She's the author of the forthcoming book Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and co-author of the best-selling Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.

News Bites: DIYers, Over-Achievers, Testing-Providers

The latest in growth, apps and testing from the Little Cottonwoods City, the Big Scrapple and the Old Colony State.

Part II: Buy or Build a Marketing Cloud? What Practitioners Say

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Scott Brinker's marketing technology landscape graphic is the face of the space. It captured plenty of air time at Brinker's first Marketing Technology Conference in Boston this week.

Isaac Wyatt built his very own marketing technology landscape at New Relic, a San Francisco-based real-time application monitoring platform. It includes the approximate 30 technologies he uses to get his job done.

Sums it up, right? More than 1,000 digital marketing platforms in more than 40 categories. At the heart of it all is the "buy vs. build your marketing cloud" debate, sparked this week at #MarTech by presenter Travis Wright, chief growth officer for MediaThinkLabs.

Yesterday, we caught up with vendors on buy vs. build. Today, we conclude our series with marketing veterans who have had to face the question themselves.

Keeping Marketing Up with the Speed of Innovation

2014-22-August-Scooters.jpgFrom Google glass, to smart thermostats, self driving cars and beyond, digital innovation is on the move. The iPhone was introduced seven years ago, and today we’re predicting a thirty fold increase in Internet connected physical devices in the next seven years. 

The speed of innovation doesn’t only apply to the introduction of new gadgets and products. Today’s consumers turn to websites and apps for information, entertainment and services, so companies need to evolve their processes and toolsets to move faster in the digitally disrupted world of business. It used to be that digital excellence was a competitive differentiator. But now companies must move beyond excellence -- and move at a faster speed of digital innovation. Otherwise, they risk becoming extinct from Digital Darwinism.

How to Get Started in Web Experience Personalization

2014-21-August-PaintedLadies.jpgAll savvy marketers -- along with most shoppers -- understand the advantages of personalizing websites. Netflix, Amazon and other companies have trained us to expect a shopping experience tailored just for us.

When we get something else, reactions can range from mild disappointment to utter frustration. Shoppers take their business elsewhere. Click. Click. Gone.

This phenomenon has spilled over to B2B marketing, where business buyers expect the same sort of shopping experience that they have in their personal lives. Is that unreasonable?

No, says Noah Logan, senior vice president of Upland Software and the general manager of its Clickability unit, which provides services to NBC, Cantor Fitzgerald and about 500 others sites around the world. He spoke Thursday in a CMSWire webinar titled "5 Effective Ways to Personalize Web Experiences." The session was sponsored by Clickability.  (Click to watch)

Get Better Content Marketing Insights, FREE

Yes, the headline reads like link bait. And it may or may not work. Will it put you off so much that you’ll scroll past it without reading this article at all? Or will the word “free” be just enough to win a few seconds of your attention?

And if so, how do we know that it’s “Free” and not “Marketing Insight” that’s causing you to read on? Have our competitors tried tactics like this? How did they fare?

What if we knew the answers to questions like this before we even started writing?

DAM Confusion in the Marketplace

2014-21-August-Maze.jpg(UPDATED 8/27) With the announcement of Microsoft’s partnership with the DAM vendor ADAM last month, it would be easy to say that Microsoft has de facto conceded defeat for SharePoint, a MS tool often promoted as a DAM. This would be a mistake; SharePoint and ADAM were never really competitors. Despite the claims of some enthusiastic sales people, SharePoint has never really been functional as a true DAM system. This new partnership solidifies SharePoint’s role in an overall DAM strategy as a file sharing and workflow tool that can be integrated with true DAM system – and especially so with ADAM, as they share the .NET code base.

One question still lingers: will Microsoft continue to promote SharePoint as a DAM tool while using ADAM both internally and as the DAM solution in their cloud offerings? Both the question and its answer open up the complex world of DAM marketing and branding for those in the industry.

Tweets That Capture the Heart of Digital Marketing #MarTech

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Bravo to Scott Brinker and the folks putting on the first Marketing Technology Conference in Boston this week.

Great speakers. Great diversity. Great content. Great networking.

But let's face it -- there's some great tweeting, too. Much of live-event action these days happens in the Twitterverse.

Here, we dive in with some of our favorites:

Q3/Q4 Planning: Top Marketing Technology, Social Business Conferences & Events (20-Aug-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.)

You're Invited: Adobe and Razorfish Present Always-On Marketing

Join CMSWire and Adobe/Razorfish on August 26. In this one-hour webinar, learn how to become an AOM and why 80% of marketers fail.
 

> Register Now

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Connected Enterprises Provide Better Customer Service

Networking your organization -- making it more agile, more enabled and more responsive -- makes a ton of sense from a practical perspective. From an operational perspective, however, it is much more difficult. Microsoft introduced the catch phrase of “working like a network” through a video for its enterprise social offering. But “working like a network” goes beyond just the social channel -- and permeates every department within the entire organization.

So how does an organization transform how they work? How do you put the concept of working like a network into practice? Let’s look at the three key components of “working like a network” that Microsoft mentions, how organizations can support these components and how they will help create alignment across the company to serve your customers.

What Digital Marketers Really Think #MarTech

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Remember the Mel Gibson flick "What Women Want?"  The gist: Mel's character gets blessed with the ability to hear what women think.

We're kinda getting that power here in Boston today at the first Marketing Technology Conference at the Seaport Hotel. Only we're hearing what digital marketers think.

And so far, we've discovered two things they love to hear. First, that they can adapt to new technologies. Second, they are working well with IT professionals, despite what some may think

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