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Digital News & Analysis

Digital Agency Rebrands to Become More 'Connective'

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Jeff Cram said the 18-year-old web content management and digital experience agency he co-founded is known as a straight-shooter.

How's this for straight talk: Vendors spin a lot of BS about customer experience and digital marketing, he said. Personalization, a 360-degree view of the customer, on and on.

When you look under the hood, he said, the tech doesn't always work.

"But why not?" the co-founder of the agency that just today rebranded as Connective DX told CMSWire in an interview. "This is 2015. This should be working better from our point of view. And it's not on the agencies or the MarTech vendors. It's on the organizations to own this. And there is not enough focus on what this all really means and there's oftentimes not enough commitment internally to see that through."

Portrait of a Chief Data Officer

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Want to find the perfect Chief Data Officer? Look for an empathetic big brain to harness the power of big data for your business. Here’s why.

Can DOZ Help You Find the Best Local Marketers?

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The DOZ online marketing platform allows organizations to go to the bullpen and get a relief for their marketing campaigns.

(It's Opening Day. We couldn't resist).

So what does it really do?

DOZ, a product of Lyon, France-based Capseo, claims it can help any website reach audiences in foreign markets through automatically curated and localized marketers.

It helps small and medium size businesses access marketers on-demand and launch online marketing campaigns. The platform launched in 2013.

In a vast marketing technology landscape, DOZ enters the mix and offers up actual marketers -- and marketing campaigns.

"Other platforms connect businesses and agencies with freelancers, but the quality of the work is rarely guaranteed and the freelancers bid against each other in a race to the bottom," said Anji Ismail, CEO and co-founder of DOZ.

"Sure, it’s cheap and it’s even sometimes good, but it’s rarely great. DOZ has curated a network of marketing experts that now numbers more than 5,000. All must provide proof of their abilities and expertise, and all are vetted before being assigned tasks by DOZ’s matching algorithm."

Which of the 3 Personalization Types Are You?

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The approaches to personalization number almost as high as the number of businesses out there. Organizations vary wildly in the ways they optimize and personalize experiences for every customer, product and expectation. 

And the differences aren't just industry-to-industry. Take a look at retail -- what I'd argue is the pioneering industry when it comes to digital personalization -- the differences are remarkable.

Where a brand falls on the personalization spectrum depends on technology adoption, brand and commerce priorities, digital maturity and executive support. But in my conversations with brand leaders, marketers, consumers and data scientists, I've come to recognize three distinct approaches to personalization which we'll break down into personas: 1. The Reliable Recommender, 2. The Loyalist Lover and 3. The Progressive Personalizer.

So where does your brand fit?

Is Advertising Losing Its Appeal?

Are we reaching a point in society where advertising is being superseded by search engines and social media? 

Analytics, Big Data and ... Hocus Pocus?

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Businesses that are scrambling to keep up with the quickly changing e-commerce world are turning to big data and analytics as important, if not primary tools. Collect enough data and apply complex analytical methods to it, the story goes, and you will find the answers you need to understand today and plan for tomorrow.

We’ve given these tools catchy names. Big Data Analytics (BDA) has an authoritative ring -- but the underlying disciplines haven’t changed in decades. Whatever we call it, analysis involves sampling what’s happening now and using statistical methods to derive trends that allow us to make changes to improve our results. If it doesn’t do that, it isn’t worth much.

In a BDA world, you grab every piece of data you can from your commerce, Web-based and otherwise, and then apply statistical techniques to it to tell you why your customers behave as they do and what they are likely to do if you change your approach.

What could be the problem? 

Can You Engage Customers Earlier in the Sales Cycle?

It's been a few years since Forrester Research came out with the eye-popping statistic that "buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through their purchase journey before they reach out to the vendor."

What's more, for many product categories, "buyers put off talking with salespeople until they are ready for price quotes."

But it wasn't until the last year or so that the customer relationship management (CRM) industry really took note of this trend and started making changes to its product sets and functionality. There were some exceptions, of course – and it's in this group that Demandbase chief product officer Avanish Sahai includes himself and his company.

"The question we are continually asking ourselves is how to raise the marketing funnel, " he tells CMSWire. "How can we better engage with the prospect in that part of the cycle, when buyers are so aggressively seeking out information but bypassing sales."

The Key to Seamless Customer Experience? Defining Your Goals

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We've told you before and we'll tell you again: it's not easy getting all your technology to work together.

Customers engage businesses through different devices — and this can cause a lot of confusion when you want to deliver seamless customer experiences.

But while integrating all of your technology can be a challenge, it will ultimately pay off with lower costs, increased customer satisfaction and, in many cases, increased revenues. These benefits are not only immediate but long-term, too, industry experts concur.

Strategic Leadership Sets CMOs Apart from Heads of Marketing

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The celebration was surely muted when Forrester Research predicted that in 2015, the average tenure for a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) would reach five years. That’s not long, but it’s nearly double the average reported as recently as 2006.

Why are CMOs still being replaced so quickly?

It’s because many still aren’t acting like CMOs, but rather as heads of marketing departments. What’s the difference? Plenty.

Are You Ready for Market Consolidation and MarTech Spending?

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Foundation Capital General Partner Ashu Garg predicts that over the next 10 years, marketers will spend 10 times what they currently spend on marketing technology. Specifically, he wrote in “MarTech and the Decade of the CMO,” that the $12 billion that CMOs currently spend on martech will grow to $120 billion by 2025.

For CMOs, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. We all know that the need for organizations to drive superior customer experiences is greater than ever. Brands need to be personal and contextual, while at the same time being efficient and finding new ways to innovate and differentiate.

The CMO's Roadmap for Content Marketing Success

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Almost every marketing leader will tell you that content is essential to sparking meaningful engagement with prospects and customers. But content marketing as a practice is still evolving -- marketing teams don’t have a clear blueprint for how much investment to make or how to determine the ROI.

Success takes exploration, dedication and continuous testing. Content marketing is challenging. It takes time to grow your program into a steady and predictable growth engine.

The CMO plays a critical role in content marketing. We need to guide our teams to adopt an analytical approach and help them determine which topics, types, formats and delivery methods will be most effective. We can help content producers and program managers turn ideas into powerful audience-building campaigns.

Here’s how you can lead your team to success.

A Data-Driven Look at the Open Source E-Commerce Market

Retail businesses are moving online in growing numbers. 

Compared to Q4 2013, last quarter’s US online sales rose 14.6 percent to a staggering $79.6 billion dollars. This accounted for 6.7 percent of the total US retail sales market. Major trends fueling this growth include the proliferation of mobile devices, faster online checkout flows and improved fulfillment practices.

The availability of open source e-commerce platforms is helping some offline business with the move online. Much like WordPress provides free, customizable CMS solutions, popular open source e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and PrestaShop offer a variety of pre-built templates and plugins that DIY retailers can customize to build and grow an online business from scratch.

To get a feel for the size of this trend, here’s a current snapshot of the top providers and number of websites they power.

If Your Social Media Marketing Tools Could Think

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If you spend several hours a week trying to determine the best day and time to post to social media, posting content and trying to make sense of the analytics afterward, you might want to listen to Brennan White.

He’s the CEO of Cortex, a new artificial intelligence tool for social media marketing that he claims can save marketers so much time, they can finally get back to the root of social media: creating content.

White believes we’ve entered into an era where marketers should demand more from their marketing tools, and use less of them.

CMS Vendors Partner on Open Customer Data Sharing Standard

What the web has always lacked is a reliable and secure way to identify you. 

Sure, there are ways for you to log onto services, and there are servers in the business of letting you borrow their login mechanisms. But that’s just for letting you in the front door. 

What about when a commercial site wants to know something about you?

3 Reasons a CMO's Digital Projects Fail

2015-26-March-face-plant.jpgIf you’re a CMO, you know better than anyone how your role has transformed over the past few years. CMOs are no longer an advertising cost center, isolated within their organizations with accountability for secondary digital projects.

Today, they are full-blown digital players, charged with profit and loss and caring for the entire customer lifecycle. If your company has a digital customer-facing project underway, it’s a sure bet that the buck stops with the CMO.

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