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Digital News & Analysis

People Trust Strangers As Much As Friends

The ironweed and ivy vines taking over my garden tell me I need a better weed wacker. So I've been reading online reviews and consulting a lot of friends.

Like many consumers, I'm finding both sources are a good supplements to the raw data available on the web, like the size of the motor and the diameter of the cutting line.

When a stranger tells me "this machine broke after three uses," I take it very seriously. And if someone says "this cut through my ivy like butter," that makes me smile.

Facebook's Mind Experiments: Just Media As Usual

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Yes, "furor erupted" over Facebook's massive psychological experiment to control user emotions by changing the configuration of posts.

How naive are we, really? Of course Facebook wants to control your thoughts — that's the whole point of media.

Emotional manipulation in the media is nothing new. That's why we have Rush Limbaugh. Perhaps Facebook's experiment was more disturbing because of its scale, and the fact that it failed to alert or gain the consent of its users.

But anybody thinking that the trend of media companies using real time user data to control reactions of its audience is something new is mistaken. 

Businesses are Unprepared for the Internet of Things

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Much has been made in the past few years about the massive business opportunities that the Internet of Things (IoT) will provide. But capitalizing on this potential is going to be a challenge. 

Two recent research reports show that most enterprises are unprepared for the IoT.

Research from Infoblox showed the infrastructure to support the IoT is too weak. And research from Spiceworks found the IoT will put already overburdened networks under unbearable pressure. Combined, the studies suggest that far from being the financial cornucopia it could be, the IoT may in fact buckle enterprise infrastructure.

Do Omnichannel Principles Work for B2B?

2014-07-July-Magic-8-Ball.jpgYou may be familiar with the poster children for omnichannel B2C marketing -- Tesco, Macy’s and Nordstrom’s. The companies gained significant admiration for their ability to gain insights from shopping patterns and then offer that same user the perfect pair of shoes, or coupon, whenever they are ready to purchase -- be it in store, in-app or online.  

In the B2B world text messages, in-store shopping and coupons are close to irrelevant. Impulse buys never happen, acquiring a new customer unsolicited is unlikely, and while e-commerce does exist, its intent is entirely different. It’s not surprising that omnichannel is not a hot buzzword in this space.

The question remains “why?” Is it because it’s not relevant or because it’s relevant, but still too complex to generalize? Will omnichannel as a trend carry a significant shift in how we operate in the entire business world in the next few years?

Smoke, Fire and American Apparel: Avoiding Social Mistakes

2014-07-July-house-on-fire.jpgThe scariest words an executive can hear just might be "Your brand is trending on Twitter."

Absent a viral video, strategically planned marketing campaign or the spontaneous heroism of an employee, a global cacophony of disturbing tweets can mean only one thing. 

Somebody screwed up.

Somebody said or wrote or posted something racist, sexist, ageist, insensitive, political incorrect or, perhaps worst of all, simply stupid. 

And you have to look hard to find an example of greater stupidity than American Apparel's latest mistake — confusing an image of a space disaster that took seven lives with a fireworks display.

Go Big or Go Home with Customer Experience

2014-02-July-Firm-Handshake.jpgThe good news: Businesses understand that taking care of the customer experience is just one of the requirements of doing business today and surviving to see tomorrow. 

The bad news: Businesses continue to treat customer experience as a standalone concern, rather than as a holistic approach. 

When you think customer experience, do you think "obesity epidemic"? Didn't think so. But Forrester analyst Rick Parrish made the argument last week at the Forrester Customer Experience Forum in New York City that just as the obesity epidemic is a product of its ecosystem, so too is customer experience a result of every interaction a person has with a brand.

Building a Business Case for Self-Service

Self-service is for high volume, simple to do tasks. For less frequent, complex tasks, face-to-face is often the best option. 

5 Things Marketers Can Learn on the Fourth of July

2014-4-July-fireworks-in-Hobokan-NJ.jpgIndependence Day is an uniquely American holiday, replete with examples of exactly what happens when you give freedom to a rag-tag group of descendants of fanatics, misfits, debtors, dreamers and people relocated against their will.

There's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, held at the fast food restaurant's original location on New York City's Coney Island every year since about 1972. The world hot dog eating record is held by Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., who ate 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes — a feat that at best can be considered bewildering.

This Week: The End of Disruptive Tech + Google's Dive into Enterprise

Goodbye to Disruptive Tech?
Is disruptive innovation crossing the chasm or jumping the shark

Set Social Media Marketing Goals
Most B2B marketers don’t understand there are four stages to social media.

You Could Work in Montana, Too
Working from home in rural remote areas has perks, too.

IBM's Social Software Advance
Forrester loves them. Gartner does, too. Now, IBM's Connections gets another boost.

Google's Enterprise Foray
Google just entered -- and may have won -- the file sync and share market in the Enterprise

Hadoop Vendor to IPO?
What will MapR do with $110 million?

Real ROI From Social in 5 Steps
Reap the Most Out of Your Investment
Download the Guide

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Avoid Logic Wobble in Your Data-Driven Marketing

2014-03-July-Human-Tower.jpgOnline, offline, point of sale, attitudinal, media, advertising -- bringing together all of these disparate data sources to create a cohesive, accessible whole to produce actionable insights requires dealing with a tremendous amount of ambiguity. What data source to use? Which records to filter out? Which dimensions should be included for segmentation and drilldowns?

When multiple independent actors make these decisions without centralized guidance, logic will start to wobble.

Gamification or Greenbacks: Motivating Channel Partners

2014-03-July-Wheel-of-Fortune.jpgWe've all seen portrayals of inept actors and actresses. These fictionalized thespians all have the same question for their exasperated directors: “what’s my motivation?”

While motivation is something imaginary to actors, it’s something very real to vendors and to their channel partners. Vendors face a wide array of distractions that jeopardize their ability to get partners to do what they want them to do: time issues, partners’ own selling activities and even the motivational activities of other vendors.

Note to Marketers: We're Not Waiting Any More

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The other evening, I found myself impatiently waiting on the supermarket checkout line. Although I waited just a few minutes while the clerk rang up the customers ahead of me, those minutes seemed to last much longer. Why?

Other customers seemed irritated, too, shifting from side to side, peering around one another, and making small noises when one woman pulled out her wallet after the clerk told her the total. How dare she waste five seconds? Didn't she know she'd have to pay?

It all made me realize that patience is wearing thin -- not just mine, but the patience of billions of Internet-empowered consumers who have grown used to instantaneous responses to such critical questions as "When will Earth be sucked into the sun?" or "What is Beyonce's shoe size?"

What's New in July for Open Source CMS [Infographic]

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You know it. You love it. And now Dominic Smith, a senior writer and content strategist at Rackspace, the Windcrest, Texas-based CMS hosting company, has confirmed what anyone reading this probably already knows.

"Chances are good that a big chunk of the content you’ll read on the web today is being delivered through an open source CMS," he wrote in a recent blog post. "FedEx and The Washington Post are using Drupal. Coca-Cola France and Sony Music are using WordPress. Harvard and IHOP use Joomla!"

Meet the New 'Multimodal' Customer Service

2014-02-July-Fortune.jpgOrganizations have been gearing up over the past few years to support the needs of today’s omnichannel customer service enterprise, with the goal of offering a seamless consumer experience through available shopping channels.

Excellent work.

Now it’s time to change. Again.

Omnichannel Marketers Trapped in a Multichannel World

2014-01-July-US-Soccer.jpgWith all eyes focused on World Cup matches, it got me thinking about how the teamwork and coordination in the games are not unlike running a multichannel marketing campaign. Beyond the fact that both have a specific start and end date, there’s also a team of designated players banding together to accomplish a very measurable result. While only one player puts the ball into the net, everyone on the team contributes to that result.

The parallels between the game and omnichannel marketing and attribution go even deeper. Let me explain.

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