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Digital News & Analysis

Lithium to Buy Klout in $100 Million Deal?

A report published today has social customer experience enterprise software provider Lithium Technologies acquiring social media ranking influencer Klout for about $100 million.

Reached by CMSWire, Klout did not confirm or deny the report. Lithium did not immediately return an email.

"We don't comment on rumor or speculation," Jon Dick, head of marketing for Klout, told CMSWire today in an email.

5 Reasons Social Media, Blogging Catches IT Buyers' Eyes

Thumbnail image for rsz_shutterstock_131601941.jpgIT buyers are getting social. They want to know what their peers are doing. They want educational content, not promotional.

The message to those trying to sell to them?

"... Have a clear, consistent game plan that ties in with all their other demand generation activities and targets potential buyers on their own turf," Bob Johnson, principal analyst with IDG Connect, wrote in his report, "Connecting Conversations to Content." 

Enterprises should distribute information via a variety of social channels, utilizing relevant communication networks to help IT buyers locate peers and independent experts alike.

"But above all," Johnson wrote, "they will need to integrate their messaging within the social media framework, so that when IT decision makers come looking for information, the vendors will be there ready to answer their questions."

Put Your (Twitter) Cards on the Table

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You see a lot of cards decorated with red hearts this time of year. But businesses may be more interested in the type of cards that can optimize their Twitter results.

Twitter Cards take tweets to a whole new level — and enable them to express more than 140 characters ever could. It's a way to capture more attention and engagement, even on mobile. Twitter introduced the cards two years ago, but just last month it added something new that should make this feature even more intriguing to marketers.

Twitter is providing analytics to let users understand how the cards are performing and analyze the impact the cards are having on their key metrics.

10 Books Every Great Digital Content Creator Must Read

10 Books Every Great Digital Content Creator Must ReadOh, one of those lists, Ahava. Really?

Wait. Just hear me out. There’s an immense amount of dialogue right now in the content creation, content marketing, content strategy, content space. Some of it is important. Some of it will sink to the bottom, hopefully washed away by the pixels of the Interwebs. But, if you’re following closely, you’ll see that best practices still rise to the top, like the proverbial cream.

How Marketers Get Inside Your Head

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Much of the marketing technology vendor landscape out there includes platforms tracking customer behavior habits. When they make purchases. How. Where.

A software provider out of Cambridge, Mass., believes it has the answer a question those vendor platforms can't: Why?

Why do customers make purchases? What's their motivation? What are they thinking?

Connecting: Columbia University's David Rogers on Digital Marketing

Connecting with Bill Sobel

David Rogers is a globally recognized leader on digital strategy and brands, known for his pioneering model of customer networks. Based at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, he is the faculty director of the school's Executive Education programs on Digital Marketing Strategy.

He is also the founder and host of the Center on Global Brand Leadership's BRITE conference, which brings together leaders from media and business to discuss the ways innovation and technology are transforming the ways we build great brands.

His recent research has focused on in-store mobile shoppers, digital marketing ROI and big data. He is the author of three books on brands and digital strategy, most recently, The Network Is Your Customer: 5 Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age. His next book will focus on how businesses adapt and survive in an era of constant digital disruption.

New England Patriots Content Chief Talks Social, Video, Analytics

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Fred Kirsch, vice president of content and publisher for the New England Patriots — the NFL team —knows a little something about moving and managing content. Huge amounts of content.

In the emerging omnichannel world, that's a complex job -- not only the production and management of content itself, but how it is marketed and distributed over multiple platforms including web and mobile. He's a great guy to talk to, and CMSWire.com was fortunate enough to interview him last week.

Roadblocks to Epic Customer Experiences: Embracing Technology

Roadblocks to Epic Customer Experiences: Embracing TechnologyThe final key to great customer experience is something that both intimidates and eludes many marketers: technology. Many individuals responsible for customer experience have not been trained or educated in the platforms that unite channels and customer touchpoints, analyze data, manage customer profiles and deliver targeted content. They’re being asked to learn on their feet, and adapt to rapidly changing technologies in order to meet -- let alone exceed -- customer expectations.

What Marketers Can Learn from Flappy Bird

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No one had anything nice to say about Flappy Bird, the "mindless but infuriating" smartphone game that an astounding number of people — 50 million plus, to be exact — played in spite of themselves. So why are so many people so sad that it's gone? And what lessons can the game's rise and fail have for the rest of us, including digital marketers?

If you frustrate your customers enough that they want to smash their mobile phones with a hammer, and then take away the source of that frustration, will they love to hate you and your product?

Or is it all just a weird inversion of human psychology: We simply want what we cannot have, not matter how bad for us it apparently is?

Big is the Next Big Thing: 6 IT Trends Driving Digital Business

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The definition of "digital business" is a lot broader than you may think. "It's not just about technology companies and start-ups anymore," said Michael J. Biltz, an executive at Accenture, a firm specializing in consulting, technology services and outsourcing. "Every company is a technology company at its core and in the process of converting to a digital business."

Think of a company that's looking for new ways to weave social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies into its next generation business strategy — and don't stop at Google. Instead, consider how almost every business of any size — from multinational conglomerates like General Electric to fledgling neighborhood retailers and restaurants — are reimagining themselves, exploring opportunities and embracing the digital wave.

And while businesses differ in size and scope, they share common goals. As Andy Markowitz, director of Global Digital Strategy at GE, noted: "The objective of our role, from a global perspective, is to help our businesses — no matter where they are and what they do — connect with our customers or sell more product."

Can you afford to sit on the sidelines? Not if you believe Biltz — director of Accenture Technology Vision and co-author of the Accenture Technology Vision 2014 report, the firm's annual take on the future of technology and how it will affect businesses in the next three to five years. He thinks mastery of digital technologies is an essential core competency for any successful business.

Evidence-Based Decision Making at Cisco Support

Evidence-based decision making is something that very much suits the Cisco culture. “Consider the alternatives to evidence-based decision making and it is hard not to be a believer,” Bill Skeet, senior manager of customer experience for Cisco Digital Support states. “If you aren't using evidence to make decisions, then decisions are subjective (rather than objective) and imposed by fiat. The evidence-based approach promises to be more scientific and therefore predictable and reliable.” 

Businesses Lose $41B from Bad Customer Service: Here's What to Do

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The US is a nation of "serial switchers" — and that lack of loyalty is costing businesses an estimated $41billion a year, according to research from NewVoiceMedia, a cloud contact center vendor.

Blame it on bad customer service: 44 percent of customers leave because they feel unappreciated, fed up, frustrated and convinced no one really cares about their problems.

You can read more about the study here (registration required). 

But you don't need to dig deep to understand that better customer service can have a big impact on a company's bottom line. So what should you do? For advice, CMSWire turned to customer experience expert Shep Hyken, a best-selling author, motivational speaker and Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations.

7 Essential Skills for Great Marketers

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Marketers need technology skills — or at least a keen understanding of the technologies that make them better marketers.

“If you're not a digital native, you're not going to go far,” Jim Durbin, vice president of digital marketing at Plano, Texas-based Brandstorming.com told CMSWire. “Technology is already moving faster than any of us can adjust to, so if you can't use technology to make yourself more productive, you're no good to anyone.”

Bennet James Bayer, Global CMO and vice president of strategy for Huawei Carrier Software, also based in Plano, Texas, said technology skills are not the “end-all” for marketers.

But he noted that even someone as experienced as his wife, who managed $6 billion in brands for consumer food products during her career, would probably not be able to work at a junior level without a basic understanding of mobile, social, search and email marketing. 

“I don’t believe it is necessarily technology skills so much as an understanding of the related technologies, how and when to employ them,” Bayer said. “That has changed dramatically.”

Content and Campaigns: Marketing's Complementary Bedfellows

In today’s increasingly digital environment, marketers have moved towards content marketing – a strategic approach that emphasizes the brand over any single product which that brand sells – as the best way to boost demand and increase sales. This requires engaging and relevant content in order to succeed and, in recognition of this fact, marketers have ventured into the fields of storytelling and consumer psychology. Marketing Magazine, picking up on this trend, went so far as to name these the “must-have skills” for marketers in 2014.

This Week: Marketing Automation Meets Gmail + Hybrid Clouds and SharePoint a Good Marriage?

IBM: Nothing Like Us Out There
IBM's vision with Mail Next? Upgrading mail with social business capabilities and giving mail users the ability to share with a wide audience, IBM told CMSWire this week.

Marketing Automation Meets Gmail
Cirrus Insight's integration of Pardot and Hubspot marketing automation with Gmail means Pardot and Hubspot customers who use Salesforce will have access to all of their marketing automation intelligence in their Gmail inbox. Meanwhile, Forrester produces its top nine marketing automation vendors.

Better Yammer-ing
Using Yammer? Here are four suggestions for improvement and ultimately better social collaboration.

Telecommuting and its Downside
Working from home is the best job ever … as long as you're willing to tether yourself to technology, produce twice as much as you would in an office, blur every possible work-life boundary and have the discipline to bite your tongue when someone asks you if you ever plan to get a "real" job. 

Save Your Big Data from Landfills
Dealing with your big data landfill requires a new strategy that goes beyond the current data preparation methods used by IT.

Hybrid Clouds for SharePoint?
The hybrid cloud is the talk of the industry for 2014, and a hybrid cloud for SharePoint/Office 365 is no exception. But not everyone is going hybrid, at least not permanently.

Maximizing the Value of Online Marketing Video
Tips for content marketers considering adding video to their content marketing strategy.
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