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Digital News & Analysis

Amy Webb: From Gaming Online Dating Sites to Advising Marketers

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Amy Webb understands data. In fact, according to her book, Data: A Love Story, she "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony – and met her eventual husband.

But that's just the start of the interesting things about her. Webb is a digital media futurist and founder of Webbmedia Group, a digital strategy agency that spots near-term emerging technology trends and develops strategies for media organizations, Fortune 100 and 500 companies, large nonprofits, universities and government agencies.

She's also the co-founder of Spark Camp, which Fast Company described as "the ultimate summer camp for influencers" (only it actually happens year round). The camp encourages "creative conversations between genius strangers.”

This Week: Microsoft Loses with Google, Wins with Oracle

Make Customer Experience Seamless
The brands that can work out our new technology terrain will thrive.

Sharpen B2B LinkedIn Marketing 
LinkedIn the best B2B social media marketing avenue? Make the most of it. 

Google Docs Jabs MS Office 
Take that, Microsoft. Google Docs just got better at collaborating.

Collaboration, for Free?
A startup is offering a free service to add a Facebook-like collaboration tool to any web page.

Microsoft Owns Oracle
Oracle's big data customers are jumping ship for Redmond, Wash.

Big Big Data Marriage
Hortonworks announces a $50 million investment from HP, but it's not all about the money.

White Paper: The 3 Stages of Digital Marketing Maturity
Tame the complex problem of channel explosion and need for cloud speed.
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News Bites: Qstream's New Scenarios, CredSpark's Social Quizzes, More

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August beckons, and, in the news over the past week: Qstream has updated its sales-based scenarios, Vidyard is now playing nicer with Salesforce's Pardot, CredSpark has released embeddable social quizzes, and Exponential Interactive unveils three new interactive ad formats.

The Future is Programmatic

Since the first banner ad was served in 1994, digital media has been on a steady course of evolution.

In the past 15 years, the ways in which digital media has been bought, sold and measured changed at a reasonable pace, making it fairly easy for advertisers and publishers to keep up with the latest trends. However, the last six years, specifically, have seen a rapid shift in the digital media ecosystem.

New technology-based solutions have continued to propagate in an effort to provide buyers and sellers with more efficient and effective ways to buy digital media, and the explosive growth of the Internet has provided publishers with an unprecedented amount of ad inventory.

To manage the massive scale of this digital adverting jungle, new technologies are now easing the process of buying and selling advertising through automation or, as it’s termed today, programmatic.

Shift Your Thinking About Content Marketing

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For B2B marketers, there’s no question that content marketing is a key initiative. And these days, it seems everyone is sharing his or her content marketing best practices, promising marketers that if they could simply do X, Y and Z, then success is all but assured.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can never win at content marketing using best practices alone. 

Throwback Thursday: 10 Great Stories You Might Have Missed

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As a team that collectively suffers from FOMO — fear of missing out — we realize the angst that potentially missing great content can create. So if you've ever wondered: "What smart, insightful and relevant information slipped my attention on CMSWire recently?" ... We've got you covered.

On this summer Thursday, we invite you to kick back, relax and read (or re-read) 10 of our top stories from the past three months. 

Salesforce Adds Mapping and Data Features to Journey Builder

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Salesforce announced plans for a new drag-and-drop mapping option to Journey Builder today, one of several new features that should make the tool more user friendly for marketers.

The new tool gives users a canvas that they can use to map the customer journey across channels such as social media, web, mobile and desktop devices.

Salesforce also added a Journey Triggers function based on predictive analytics that can automatically send special offers and other content based on shifts in customer behavior. The idea is to nudge consumers back onto the purchase path if they abandon a shopping cart, leave a web page or indicate a change in product affinity.

Annual Reports: Marketing's New Best Friend?

Boring, Drab. Interminable. And the next big thing in marketing.

Annual reports have traditionally filled a dull, unassuming niche in a company's marketing efforts -- if it held any place at all. That's changing. More companies are turning their annual yawn into a showcase for the company's culture, vision and business victories. And racking up sales and online influence because of it.

Survey Finds Gap in Targeting for Marketing Content

Thumbnail image for 2014-30-July-Target.jpgContent marketing is so perplexing to today's marketers that we've published 140 stories on the subject in the last year and a half. Yet a lot of marketers seem frustrated by lackluster results.

A new study (registration required) by the 614 Group and OneSpot may help explain why content often misses the target. Marketers aren't aiming for the target, or at least not very well.

Overall, 54 percent expressed dismay with their content marketing efforts. About two in three respondents said their content marketing efforts aren't driving business as well expected, and 56 percent were unhappy with the way results were measured. 

6 Ways to Derail Your Content Marketing Program

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Almost every business claims to have a content marketing program. But modern content marketing is not simply a matter of slapping up content as a part of your marketing program. Real content marketing is a modern thing, catalyzed by a combination of social technology, business analytics and the changing needs of customers.

A real content marketing program is developed in concert with the needs of both sales and marketing. It acts both as education and to generate leads. It should be interactive. And smart content marketers figure out ways to solicit ideas for content from the customers and from outside the business.

Fragmentation Is Holding Marketing Back

2014-30-July-Broken-Egg.jpgWhat do omnichannel marketing and winning a Formula One race on flat tires have in common? Simple -- both are impossible.

Trying to compete at 300 mph on flat tires is not only impossible but dangerous. Trying to deliver omnichannel consumer experiences on top of a highly fragmented foundation is not just difficult, but impossible as well.

Despite a strong desire to drive seamless and frictionless omnichannel consumer experiences, most brands are multichannel at best, while consumers have become omnichannel in both behavior and expectations. Hence the disconnect.

What prevents brands from making their omnichannel goals a reality? Fragmentation. 

Make the Most of Customer Journey Mapping

2014-29-July-Pins-US-Map.jpgWith the rise of customer experience as a corporate function, customer journey mapping is taking its place as a vital component of any program or process focused on enhancing customer centricity. Here are a few insights on how to get the most value out of your customer journey mapping efforts.

So Many Channels - and Customers Still Like the Phone

Despite the fact that customers have multiple ways to interact with companies, they still prefer the phone. At least that's the finding of a new study by NICE Systems, which rated contact centers as the most important customer channel.

It's worth noting that NICE is a provider of contact center solutions. Even so, there does seem to be some validity in the research: It confirms another study by CX Act, a customer experience improvement firm, which showed the most frequently used and most effective customer touch point is personal contact by phone.

BlueConic Reemerges

Some spinoffs come off as a desperate ploy to hold onto audiences. Did we really need The Golden Palace after The Golden Girls finished?

Others hold their own next to the original. The Mary Tyler Moore Show came from Lou Grant. The Daily Show begat both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.

BlueConic falls into the latter category. Four years ago, web CMS provider GX Software introduced it as a complimentary web engagement solution. In the years that followed, BlueConic broke off as an independent entity, received $3 million in Series A funding from Boston-based Sigma Prime Ventures, moved its headquarters and two of its chief executives to Boston.

So why don't we hear more about it?

Reimagine Retail Inventory to Remove Customer Hurdles

2014-28-July-Vintage-Sneakers.jpgThe retail industry is at a crossroad. We've discussed omnichannel behavior for some time now -- both from a consumer and organizational perspective -- but we need to turn that discussion into strategy and action. Retailers are now challenged to use insight from data created across these channels to drive better business performance and meet customer expectations. Technology is they key to enabling this.

Nowhere has the explosion of omnichannel been felt more deeply than retail inventory. Monitoring, moving and replenishing stock was relatively simple when the only end point was the physical store network. But consumers now discover, browse and buy from retailers through a variety of channels -- physical, mobile, online -- through marketplaces and from Drop Ship Vendors (DSVs), which is creating more range, storage and fulfillment options than ever before.

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