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Digital News & Analysis

Microsoft and CXM: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

2014-12-June-Swings.jpgThere’s nothing quite so surprising in life as the about-face. You know how it is: someone or something spends years building up a certain set of expectations, and then -- seemingly out of the blue -- pivots almost completely away from those expectations to behave in a totally different manner. It’s the Beatles releasing Sergeant Pepper, Vince Vaughn playing a role other than “Vince Vaughn” or the English national team lining up in something other than a 4-4-2 (yes, that’s my timely World Cup reference for this column).

When it comes to a Customer Experience and digital marketing platform for internet sites, that’s exactly what Microsoft has done over the course of the last year. 

The Evolution of Marketing Automation

2014-11-June-Refrigerator.jpgAs a marketer, I have a different outlook on digital communications than most consumers.

I see the connections between omnichannel marketing strategies that trigger emails and display campaigns and site personalization tailored to me based on my previous behaviors. I understand how looking at a refrigerator on a major retailer’s website provides enough data to target me through marketing automation platforms via emails and Facebook campaigns, personalized to the model and prices that I viewed. I have witnessed the progression from one-sized fits all digital communication to the personalized experiences we have today.

I also realize how far we still have to go to reach the promise of true marketing automation -- the optimization of customer management.

Talkin' Trash: Curbing Comment Spam and Crazy People

2014-11-June-upside-down-man.jpg.jpgNothing like the illusion of anonymity to give the nastiest, angriest, most disagreeable people on the planet a voice. From slanderous, libelous and racist comments to the simply offensive and juvenile, trash trolls and link baiters create never-ending challenges for content producers.

Addressing comment spam is a frustrating and time-consuming task for organizations. Typically, companies are required to manually edit spam out of content after it has been posted or rely on moderators to filter individual posts to ensure they are legitimate, Internet security firms concur.

And every decision to delete a comment creates at least a momentarily struggle between conflicting goals. What's more important: free speech or the overwhelming desire to stomp out stupidity?

Yes, content producers have a difficult job — and it extends far beyond the challenge of finding writers who actually know how to write. Now a new report from Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Imperva reveals 80 percent of comment spam traffic is generated by 28 percent of attackers.

Yep, Brands Talk Like 5th Graders on Facebook

A majority of Facebook posts by brands -- 67.3 percent of them, to be exact -- are written at an elementary school level — with 1st grade being the grade level most frequently targeted. That's the not so surprising results of a study by Track Maven, a competitive intelligence company.

Grade level is determined using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, which analyzes passages and rates them on a scale from 0 to 100 according to difficulty. Passages suitable for 11-year-olds —  most of what is apparently on Facebook — score between 90 and 100. 

Marketing Automation Helps You Own the Experience

2014-10-June-Spongebob-Attacks.jpgWe've all been there: After buying something a bit goofy on Amazon or another online retailer -- like a SpongeBob DVD box set for your kids -- related merchandise chases you around the Internet with vexing results.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Anticipating people’s next moves online can vastly improve the user experience and is the holy grail of digital commerce. Usage of data and marketing is becoming sophisticated enough to mine people’s interests and social signals, and serve them what they are looking for at the right moment. And customers’ offline, online, mobile, desktop and brick-and-mortar experiences all come into play.

It's This Simple - and This Hard: Know Your Customer

2014-10-June-Hello.jpgAs someone who’s been deeply involved in using, implementing and analyzing various technologies that support Customer Experience Management strategies, I take CXM seriously – both professionally and personally. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how little most organizations actually know (or care to know) about their customers … and how annoying that can be for the said customers.

If you know me, you know I'm a frequent flyer of one of the major airlines in the world. I’ve spent many years and many miles flying with it. The company should know a lot about me, right? At the most minimalistic level, it should know my name and my phone number. And sometimes it does. But when it doesn’t, it’s the most confusing and baffling thing.

Online is Self-Service

Self-service is the essence of the web. People go online in order to solve problems and complete tasks on their own. 

Major League Baseball Team Used Tobii's Eye-Tracking Technology

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How often do Cleveland Indian fans look at the main scoreboard and LED signs at the team's ballpark? To find out, the team employed a device designed to take the guesswork out of marketing -- the Tobii eye-tracking glasses.

The study leveraged Tobii’s researchers and wearable eye-tracking technology to provide team advertisers and sponsors with first-of-their-kind media values based on the actual fan experience. Tobii’s Insight team helped the Indians "develop and execute a comprehensive and cost-effective eye-tracking market research study that conveniently and accurately determined how often fans looked at in-park signage," the company maintains.

Stockholm, Sweden-based Tobii recently released version two of its proprietary glasses for wireless live eye tracking. The company claims its "real world gaze data" provides new opportunities for marketing, behavioral science and usability research that goes beyond the capabilities of the original model, which was released in 2010.

Clients include Microsoft, Time Warner, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, the US government and, yes, the Cleveland Indians.

If E-Commerce is Your Engine, Content is the Driver

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Remember when e-commerce was all we talked about?

Ten years ago, it seemed as if every company in the world was trying to figure out its "e-commerce strategy”. Analysts were touting the newest 3D catalogs, where shoppers could twirl images around to check out sizes and colors from all angles.

And it seemed like every day there was a new startup offering e-commerce related solutions. Then, the talk turned to social and content, and the search for e-commerce optimization declined.

Deployment Happens: Revolution by Evolution

2014-9-June-George-Jetson-at-Work

One hundred and four. That's the number to beat.

I use the number 104 because that's the number of keys on a physical keyboard. You know the keyboards I'm talking about.

Not the little touch based ones on your smart phone — the keyboards you use if you write and support the software that runs the Internet and makes it a fun and interesting place to play.

But here's the interesting thing. If you're as old as me or if you just like classic cartoons, you'll remember George Jetson of "The Jetsons" fame only had to press one button.

IDC: The Internet of Things Will Grow to $7.1T [Infographic]

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Predictions about the potential size of the Internet of Things (IoT) keep changing. According to IDC, the market for IoT applications reached as much as $1.9 trillion last year — and the value of the market will more than triple in the near future, reaching $7.1 trillion by 2020. 

There have been some absolutely staggering predictions about the IoT already from the likes of Cisco CEO John Chambers, who is throwing around numbers like $19 trillion.

A lot of "things," apparently, despite the fact it is not even clear at this point what the IoT is going to look like or include. 

This Week: Microsoft as Collaboration King + De-Junking Content

Don't Lose Your Marketing Vision
Sure, you've got marketing automation. But you can't abandon your strategy

Google Brain?
We're only about 15 years away from computers handling natural human language and experiencing emotions, a Google exec said.

Hey, Yammer, Let's Collaborate
Microsoft's "document conversations" for Office 365 combines Yammer and business document collaboration.

Microsoft Plays Numbers Game
Cisco and Microsoft each claim to have the best enterprise collaboration software. But Microsoft's first-quarter numbers ended the argument, for now.

Simply the Best?
SAP was all about keeping things simple and making things free at its annual conference this week. Meanwhile, its former HANA chief may soon have a new gig.

De-Junk Your Content
You need to be smart about what information you keep and how you keep it. 

Get a Real ROI From Social in 5 Steps
A 5 step plan to help you get the most out of your social investment.
Download the White Paper

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6 Steps to Drive Inbound Leads with Marketing Technology

2014-06-June-Hypnotized.jpgIf moving a prospect to a sale takes 10 steps, buyers are already on step seven before they even come in contact with your company.

That’s a serious game-changer for marketing managers and CMOs who are accustomed to luring prospects to their website for content and information. It’s no longer enough to have a great website: now that the entire web is one big library with everything served up equally, you have to provide great content in places outside your own website, where you have less control, in the hopes of driving inbound marketing leads.

We Media's Andrew Nachison: Helping Companies Connect, Innovate

Connecting with Bill Sobel

When you read the “about me” section of Andrew Nachison’s personal website, you get a brief glimpse into an incredibly eclectic person. In his own words, he’s a “a thinker, explorer, creator, futurist, catalyst, convener, producer, educator, geek, photographer, musician, artist, husband and dad.” In short, he’s a man of many interests.

He’s played clarinet on stage at Carnegie Hall, studied wildlife, development and environmental policy in Kenya, managed Lawrence.com, among the world's first digital newspapers -- a job that earned him a reputation as a pundit in the emerging digital news sphere -- and reported for a bevy of highly influential newspapers and magazines.

Right now, Nachison is the CEO of We Media, a digital media company and creative agency, as well as iFOCOS — The Institute for the Connected Society — both of which look to help companies make better use of the many, many connected devices in improved and new ways.

It's Time for Digital Transformation

2014-05-June-Illusion.jpgAccording to Forrester Research, over 70 percent of the companies that were on the Global 500 list 10 years ago have vanished.

Netflix killed Blockbuster. Amazon killed Borders. The iPhone killed Polaroid. Digital innovation is no longer just a way to differentiate against your competitors, it is a fundamental disruption to everything in modern business, transforming how we market, sell and support our customers. Digital helps us deliver increased revenue and better customer satisfaction, while lowering costs and improving margins. Every business process is being radically transformed by digital and successful companies understand that to compete, they must think “digital first.”

But, many large organizations are doing it wrong. They’re adopting digital the wrong way. 

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