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Digital News & Analysis

Is Newly Sold Ektron Merging with EPiServer?

It's hard to separate fact from fiction in the continuing saga of Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

But we wanted to share the newest rumor this morning — namely, that the company that just bought Ektron is also buying EPiServer and has plans to combine the technologies.

Company President Tim McKinnon, the guy who runs the day-to-day operations at the web content management firm, told CMSWire today that he doesn't know anything about the alleged merger.

But McKinnon also told us yesterday that Ektron's minority investor — a private equity firm called Accel-KKR was not buying the company — just before a document that refutes that statement surfaced online. You can view it in the story here.

Once Red Hot Ektron Reportedly Sells for Paltry Sum

Privately held companies have it easy: they can vaguely boast of double-digit growth, record profits, strong cash balances and bright futures even when reality seems to suggest otherwise. At least that seems to be the case with Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

The web content management firm, which was consistently ranked one of the fastest growing tech companies in New England in the early 2000s, seems to have come to a stunningly disappointing end.

(UPDATE: Ektron confirmed to CMSWire this afternoon that it closed a second round of equity funding with Accel-KKR, but stopped short of acknowledging a sale.

In a conversation with CMSWire's Virginia Backaitis, Ektron President Tim McKinnon claimed the company is profitable and growing — and contended that rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

In a press release issued mid-afternoon today, McKinnon stated that the Accel-KKR investment "provides strong support for Ektron as it delivers upon its vision and mission to provide solutions to customers," and adding that the company is "well positioned for continued growth in 2015."

Greg Williams, managing director at Accel-KKR and a member of the Ektron board, noted in the statement that the private equity firm has been "more than impressed by the momentum, profitable growth in the business and the results the team at Ektron have been achieving."

The press release contains no comments from — or makes any mention of — Ektron CEO and co-founder Bill Rogers.)

Want to Retain Your Customers? Get Personal

Many marketers are stuck in the personalization slow lane. Personalization is no longer a luxury reserved for big players like Amazon but is an expectation. So marketers who want to keep up with the competition must employ a personalization strategy. The good part? It's easier than ever to get on board with personalization. A number of tools exist that will amass customer data for you and provide you with opportunities to tailor your customers' online experience.

But there's one area where personalization can have impressive effects -- customer retention.

Dear Marketers, Thanks for Ruining My Holiday Shopping Experience

2014-04-December-vintage-christmas.jpgMy earliest memories of my late father include heading out to scoop up bargains on the day after Christmas. What, I wondered at the age of four, could be better than buying plastic reindeer and strings of fat multicolored bulbs for 50 percent off — 364 days before you'd ever want to use them?

Nothing, I concluded. It was fun, even exciting, a way to effectively extend the magic of the holiday just a little longer.

And now, through a flurry of ill-conceived marketing, the fun is over. Some Master Marketer who clearly lacked access to a calendar decided that After Christmas Sales would be even better before Christmas. And that triggered a rash of related, equally annoying decisions to accelerate sales of all kinds.

Black Friday on Thursday, anyone? How about Cyber Monday on Saturday? Why don't we just have sales all month long?

But that's not all. After the sales are accelerated, many of them are extended — so all those Cyber Monday specials are still out there on Thursday.

5 Components of a Social Media Policy in a Regulated Industry

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A sound social media policy serves two key purposes: 1. to educate employees on use within and outside a company work environment and 2. to mitigate corporate risk through guidance on process and procedure as it relates to industry compliance and messaging.

For some more heavily regulated industries, the latter becomes extremely important.

Marketer, Meet Commerce Expert

2014-03-December-Meeting.jpgWe've established the importance of a strong collaborative relationship between marketing and IT. As we approach 2015, it's time to highlight another relationship that will become equally important in the year ahead: a strong partnership between marketing and commerce teams.

Commerce experts today are laser-focused on implementing the best platforms and portals to facilitate online transactions safely and securely. Meanwhile, marketers concentrate on telling strong brand stories to increase sales and build customer loyalty. While both teams have similar goals when it comes to increasing a company’s business, their efforts are often siloed. They don’t realize the benefit of integrating efforts closely in order to create bottom-line business impact.

Why Your Fantastic Website is a Flop #KenticoConnection

So you’ve got a stellar website design with copy that virtually sings. So why is it such a fantastic flop?

“Copywriters and designers are often not the users of a site,” said Vita Janecek, online marketing product owner for Kentico Software. This means that their designs and words, while they may look and sound good, may not appeal to your target audience.

So how do you get it right? It’s about going right to the users and asking them what they want, said Janecek, who spoke at Kentico Connection in Boston recently. Early testing can ensure that you’re hitting the mark.

After all, in the words of an old African proverb that Janecek quoted, “Nobody tests the depth of a river with both feet."

What's New in December for Open Source CMS

It's a big day for Skien, Norway-based eZ Systems, which released the latest version of its flagship open source content management system this morning.

The company describes the new release, eZ Publish 5.4, as more agile, more powerful and easier to learn and use than previous versions. Just as significantly, it's the last of the current 5.x generation.

"With 5.4, we’ve carved out a clear path to upgrade to our next generation, which will definitely be a release you should consider upgrading to, whatever your plans are," Roland Benedetti, Chief of Product and Marketing at eZ Systems, noted in a recent blog post.

The next generation platform will replace the legacy kernel with a new kernel and new APIs and advance the Symfony framework introduced in eZ Publish Platform 5.x. It will also offer a new user interface that Benedetti claims will provide "a significantly improved user experience to anyone working with content."

The Continued Decline of the Homepage

Google is your new homepage. Every page you have is a homepage for someone. We must think beyond the traditional homepage.

For Google Algorithms to Mobile Insights, Digital Marketers Give Thanks

2014-26-November-Thank-You.jpgWith some $13.1 billion in sales expected over this long Thanksgiving weekend, brands and marketers have much for which to be grateful. With CyberMonday starting off the following week, digital marketers have additional reasons to give thanks.
 
In the spirit of the holiday, CMSWire took its own informal survey to quantify, what exactly, people most appreciate.
 
From the goofy to the incisive to the obvious-but-still-needs-to-be-said, we give you eight things about which digital marketers are thankful. 

Pushing the CIO and CMO Closer Together

2014-26-November-Closer.jpgIn years past the chief marketing officers and chief information officers had their own discrete functions to perform within the company -- with the twain rarely having to meet.

Clearly that is not true any more as digital marketing becomes a larger and larger component of a company's overall marketing operations. Despite this trend, CIOs and CMOs have not moved to anything approaching true collaboration, according to the findings of a Forrester/Forbes Insights survey. While progress has been made in establishing foundational aspects of trust, organizational skills and process, it concludes, "bold leadership is needed to turn this initial work into client results."

Personality Matters in Customer Service

Mike Ashe has a philosophy about CRM: “If we’re right more often than we’re wrong then we’re going to beat random.”

By that, he’s referring to the analytics behind his company Mattersight's Predictive Behavioral Routing which “predicts which (customer service) agent is best-suited to handle the next call based on individual customer behavioral data and agent performance data.”

Smarter Advertising Strategies for Facebook

2014-25-November-Facebook Screen.jpg

Facebook may be a source of daily amusement (or annoyance) for many, but it’s also a growing and evolving advertising platform for businesses.

Recent changes to the social media giant, including the decision to shut the like gate, are changing the way Facebook advertisers do business.

Experts say businesses who want to use Facebook effectively to attract customers are increasingly going to need some new strategies in their toolbox.

Digital Community is Key to Your Brand

2014-25-November-GoPro-User.jpgDigital tools and social networks are making communities stronger and more important than ever for brands.

Whether it's your local burrito shop or GoPro, nurturing a community of active users can accelerate the brand development and spread the word over digital channels. Now, this might seem obvious, but is everybody doing it? Businesses that don't focus on building a digital community will have a hard time getting over the hump.

Chicken or Egg: Passive Marketing or Passive Consumers?

2014-25-November-Chickens.jpgWhen it comes to passive interactions between consumers and advertisers who’s to blame? Today’s consumers consistently show a willingness to engage and participate with brand campaigns, so long as they’re convenient and tailored to their tastes. Nevertheless, a majority of advertisers are still deploying marketing tactics that don’t compel this type of user behavior. And even fewer seem to be aware of the different nuances demanded by different devices. The proverbial one-size-fits-all approach simply conditions consumers to approach engagement with brands cautiously.

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