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Digital News & Analysis

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. 

What 2 Companies Rate Best in Customer Service?

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Financial services company USSA and uber-retailer Amazon took the top spots in the customer service ratings released by The Temkin Group, a detailed survey that evaluated 233 companies.

Chick-fil-A, Publix, H-E-B, credit unions, Starbucks, Costco, QVC and Trader Joe’s were among the companies with the best customer satisfaction, the survey found.

5 Reasons Google Beat Apple to Become the Top Brand

2014-5-june-arm-wrestling-champ.jpgYou just can't block the buzz about Google. In the past few weeks, the company surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable brand, according to Millward Brown Optimor's 2014 BrandZ ranking.

It was a big blow for Apple, which had held the top spot for the previous three years. But Apple fell 20 percent in brand value in the past year to an estimated $147.9 billion. Even worse, there is a "growing perception that it is no longer redefining technology for consumers," according to Millward Brown, a New York City-based research firm.

Meanwhile, Google's brand value rose 40 percent from a year ago to $159 billion. Apparently it's pretty profitable to avoid evil, even as regulators here and abroad are taking a closer look to make sure that slogan is true.

What's behind Google's climb, beyond Apple's loss of founder Steve Jobs?

Marketing Automation is No Excuse for Lack of Strategy

2014-05-June-Conch.jpgThe gap between marketers and their audiences is growing. With more access than ever before to information, product reviews and social recommendations, many see our current stage of marketing evolution to be the “age of the consumer.”

Thinking of audiences as empowered consumers, while accurate in many ways, clings to an old paradigm in which marketers held the conch. We are not an Internet of consumers to be manipulated into one-off transactions -- we are an Internet of always-connected individuals with an ever-growing array of tools and technologies that empower our ability to engage with life. And yes, these individuals at times buy things.

8 Things You Can Learn About CX on Your Summer Vacation

2014-4-June-Austin-Handshake.jpgI fell in love with traveling when I ran away from home at the age of five. (You would have run, too, if you were forced to eat my sister's creamed chicken.)

Years later, when I made a trip across the United States in a 1975 VW Super Beetle, I fell in love with technology, too.

There's nothing like a car without air conditioning to prove that simplicity has its limits — and that innovation is essential. 

Travel is one of the few things I suspect I won't regret on my death bed, at least now that I drive a car with all-season climate control — as well as GPS navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and a 120-volt power outlet. (Did I mention it's also Internet ready?)

And here's the thing: You can learn a lot about customer experience by traveling, regardless of whether you go by car or air. 

Measuring Social Marketing ROI: Possible or Pipe Dream?

2014-04-June-Windmills-La-Mancha.jpgPretty much any company worth their salt is engaged in using social media in some capacity for business purposes at this point. As someone who has built a solid consulting agency using social media and content marketing, I can attest to the value of it holistically.

But as with any marketing channel, return on investment comes into the conversation especially when discussing social strategies with medium and large business clients. Businesses as a whole have become metrics obsessed, and the day of saying we “have to do social media” regardless of the numbers is past (for the most part).

So how exactly does one measure social ROI? Is it even possible, or should we be evaluating its performance in some other way?

Acquia Enhances Personalization with TruCentric Buy

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Acquia is making the most of its revenue growth. The company, a provider of open-source software, services and technical support based on the open source Drupal web content management system (CMS), just acquired TruCentric.

TruCentric is a Toronto, Ontario-based vendor whose SaaS solution includes real time customer profiling for user engagement. The solution uses situational and historical data for marketers.

The buy comes on the heels of 20 consecutive quarters of revenue growth for Acquia. The company has grown its revenue by more than 48,500 percent during the past five years, according to Tom Wentworth, chief marketing officer. Revenue from sales was $44 million in 2012 and exceeded $68 million in 2013. 

Acquia, based in Burlington, Mass., had 450 employees before the acquisition. It did not disclose the number of employees at TruCentric nor the acquisition price.

Finding the Perfect Balance Between SaaS and In-House DAM

2014-04-June-Bearded-Juggler.jpgIt's a delicate balance to develop a hybrid strategy for Digital Asset Management. While Cloud SaaS solutions appeal to many organizations as a way to reduce costs and infrastructure, there are compelling reasons not to move all assets to the cloud. The secret to finding this balance lies in understanding what assets should be moved to the cloud and what should stay in-house.

The Latest Marketing World Casualty: Mass Marketing Campaigns

2014-04-June-Police-Line.jpgNo one is waiting to be wooed by your elaborate campaigns.

Marketing success today depends on customers seeing, engaging with -- and sharing -- your content within their trusted social networks. The path to purchase no longer looks the same to everyone, and it requires a very unique level of engagement. 

Shoe Shopping, Supply Chains and One Very Happy Customer

2014-03-June-Shoes.jpgFollowers of Gartner's yearly Supply Chain Top 25 list may have noticed signs of progress over the last few years toward a responsive, demand-driven supply chain. As a student of the supply chain, I watch to see who makes the list and what market advances it highlights for suppliers and retailers. Last week though I got to experience the progress firsthand.

Mobile Helps National Brands Master Local Marketing

2014-03-June-Brands.jpgAs a career-long marketing vendor, I've always been taught that large national brands and small-to-medium companies behave differently. They cannot be sold, marketed or serviced with the same principles. They have different targets, ideals, KPIs and most importantly -- budgets.

While this remains largely true, today’s always-connected consumer means that any size brand, anywhere, needs to be more mindful of a very important consumer detail: their location.

Marketing Automation: Don't Build It If You Can't Use It

2014-02-June-Construction.jpgThe problem with marketing automation is that it takes people and processes to use the technology and companies often treat that as more of an afterthought. The result is a much higher percentage of failed programs and implementations.

The problem is not the technology. The problem is being prepared to use it.

What's New in June for Open Source CMS

Thumbnail image for ed-schipul-with-helicopter.jpgWho has time to handle post-CMS deployment needs when there's so much to do developing the platform? That's the thinking of the creators of Tendenci, an open source content management system (CMS) project for associations and other nonprofits (NPOs).

Last week, the software development company spearheading the Tendenci platform launched a web alliance marketing program. It enables leading providers of marketing and website services to partner with Tendenci "to accelerate the success of the large installed base of websites powered by the Tendenci CMS platform," the Houston, Texas-based company claimed in a press release.

Establishing "an ecosystem of leading service providers" allows Tendenci to focus on developing its CMS platform, according to company founder and CEO Ed Schipul. He said Tendenci has more than 1 million users and powers "hundreds of websites" for NPOs, associations and other cause-related organizations worldwide.

Schipul quit his full time job as a software consultant for a large petroleum corporation in 1997 to start his own web marketing company. He began selling Tendenci CMS worldwide in 2004 and released it as an open source product in 2012. 

Schipul describes himself as an amateur photographer as well as a drone builder and pilot, who just wants to "Organize and Connect the World's People" — and "Do Good."

What else is new in free and open source CMS this month? Read on.

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