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Digital News & Analysis

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
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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.

School's Out: How Digital is Changing the Student Experience

2014-01-July-School-Out.jpgRemember when the end of the formal school year signaled the excitement of summer vacation? Whether you relate to the Glee performance or Alice Cooper's rendition of “School’s Out,” there was always a certain element of freedom imagined in leaving the walls of the schoolhouse behind. But it's starting to look as though digital has changed that dynamic -- for better or for worse -- forever.

With a bit of a twist on my usual customer experience focus, here’s my take on how digital is impacting the student experience.

Will OTT Messaging Apps Bring a Marketer's Gold Rush?

2014-01-July-California-Miners.jpgOTT (Over The Top) mobile messaging apps have recently garnered significant attention thanks to Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp for $19B back in February. But what everybody is really dying to know is exactly how these app companies make money -- what are the revenue streams?

While all offer free or nearly free messaging (and potentially calling) for consumers, at the end of the day someone needs to pay the bill. There are a lot of companies vying to prove that they have an answer to the revenue conundrum, but Salesforce’s recent partnership with LINE has, in my opinion, the most interesting potential. Through this deal, marketers will have a way to directly connect with customers. This is a massive step toward the one to one communication holy grail that is custom tailored to fit consumers’ interests and preferences.

The Secret to Performance Under Fire

catEyes.jpgEvery enterprise has them. They are as inescapable as cats on the internet. Enterprise fire drills on web performance are the norm for any corporate enterprise that has a website critical to their business model (even more so when your executives have laser powered heat vision).

Given that content owners, merchants and ad sales representatives are all trying to stuff 22 pounds of content into pages with a carrying capacity of only 20, business forces turn IT professionals everywhere into part time fire fighters. There is a standard method for minimizing both the frequency and impact of fire drills on your team -- the enterprise IT guys refer to it as "monitoring and alerting." Cagey veterans schooled in conversational dynamics refer to it as "getting in front of the question."

Contact Center Reality: Better CX, More Customers

Improving customer experience in the contact center — and keeping the customer — overtook the pursuit of operational gains as the top objectives over the past two years. That's a key takeaway from a recent Aberdeen Group report.

But the real value of the report, "Contact Center Workforce Optimization: Secrets to Unlock Agent Productivity & Performance," is showing how both objectives can work together.

While only 32 percent of respondents cited "improve the quality of customer interactions" as the top objective in the comparable report two years ago, 59 percent gave that response in the current report. The data is based on a survey of 83 businesses.

Do We Still Need Sales Reps?

2014-30-June-Sales-Reps.jpgWith widespread adoption of CRM and marketing automation, what is the purpose of sales reps? Do we even need them anymore?

A rhetorical question, but the expectations we should have with automation are worth examining. According to Forrester Research, companies worldwide are spending 19 percent of their SG&A (selling, general and administrative) costs on average in sales support-related activities. With a nearly 14 percent growth in worldwide CRM sales in 2013 -- and over 30 percent growth for Salesforce.com itself in the past two years -- companies are connecting the dots between marketing and sales automation efforts, and the desire to streamline the process of securing and winning customers.

The Changing Nature of Search Behavior

Search is just one part of the jigsaw puzzle of customer behavior. It needs to be considered in the context of the customer’s task.

Separating Fact from Fiction in Social Comments

Yelp, Angie's List, Amazon -- these companies and many others offer user reviews of local businesses. But the authenticity of many of those reviews is questionable, which is why an Israel-based company is offering a new service that it claims provides "honest, authentic referrals."

The company, WhoDoYou, uses machine learning and natural language processing to collect and sort public conversations -- mostly from Facebook, and mostly positive recommendations -- about painters, lawn services, restaurants and the like.

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