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Digital News & Analysis

Yes, It's True: Microsoft + Salesforce are Hooking Up

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has a new BFF — and he’s none other than Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

You have to give Benioff credit for leveraging his Zen Buddhist learnings and urging Microsoft to regain its “beginner's mind.” Last year, at TechCrunch Disrupt, he called Microsoft “such a disaster” that only Bill Gates could save it.

In 2010, Microsoft sued Salesforce for nine patent infringements and Benioff called Microsoft a patent troll.

Today Benioff was busy on Twitter, posting pictures of himself and Nadella in various settings, sometimes even looking like lovebirds. 

Mobile Publisher Onswipe Highlights Mobile Behaviors

The ways people interact with content and functions on a mobile device are, of course, different from a desktop or laptop. But different how? Two new reports from mobile publishing platform Onswipe help to fill in a few data points about mobile behavior.

For instance, what are the most popular financial stories on the iPad?

How Social Media Cuts through the Noise

2014-29-May-Marching-Band.jpgWhile most companies spend a lot of time and energy celebrating the success or agonizing over the failures of their direct sales forces, much of that energy is misspent. Studies show that the indirect channel -- resellers, VARs, distributors, consultants and partners of all stripes -- accounts for 70 percent of sales worldwide -- but channel programs are seldom showered with the attention that direct sales teams get.

5 Types of Influencers B2B Marketers Need to Engage Now

2014-29-May-Horse-Race.jpgYou've seen the stats: 60 to 80 percent of the buying process is done before anyone wants to chat with your chomping-at-the-bit sales reps. To make matters worse, more people than ever are now involved in the process of buying complex products. So where does that leave you?

Most likely trying to craft a never-ending stream of content marketing to influence this very process. And that helps, for sure.

But let’s be honest. You need to do more than turn your brand into a publisher … especially as most publishers are having their own issues these days. With that in mind, there’s another approach to influencing the buying process while also supporting your could-be-better content marketing efforts.

Start engaging the influencers.

Build Tomorrow's Agile Marketing Organization Today

2014-28-May-Agility-Bull.jpgThis will probably be the 47th article you read today that tells you how marketers need to learn to adapt -- that consumers have too many choices, too little attention and no patience for a poor experience. Let me remind you that the world is changing, rapidly. You can change with it or be left behind.

We've explored how to address uncertainty in many areas of business. Agile methodologies have done a great deal to help software development teams adapt to inevitable uncertainty. Lean manufacturing has transformed how we create physical goods.

Innovative organizations are beginning to understand how applying those philosophies to marketing can produce similar outcomes.

Men Want Products, Women Want Help and No One Wants to Wait

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No one has time for patience when it comes to customer service. But beyond that universal truth, there are significant gender differences between men and women when it comes to customer service.

According to a new survey from Kana, a provider of customer service solutions, both sexes are frustrated by wait times and slow response.

Beyond that, men are most annoyed by out-of-stock inventory, unknowledgeable or incompetent employees, lack of assistance and the bad attitude of customer service representatives. Women rate their frustrations, in order, as lack of assistance, bad attitudes, out of stock inventory and unknowledgeable or incompetent employees.

Buyers Want Technical, Accurate Content

The good news: 88 percent of business buyers believe that online content has played a major to moderate role in vendor selection. The bad news: Only 9 percent of buyers trust vendor websites. 

Less Can Be More for Email Marketing

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Did you ever know someone who was over keen? Who didn’t respect your space? Maybe they had something valid to say, but in the end you just had too much and tried to avoid them somehow?

As marketers, we have to be careful not to fall into this category with our email campaigns. It’s a fine line between staying top of mind with your reader and, well, bugging them. Quite simply if you “blast” them with too many newsletters, your image will suffer and eventually they’ll probably either unsubscribe or hit spam.

Pinterest Boosts Offerings for Marketing Tech Firms

Continuing its effort to turn its platform into a revenue generating service, Pinterest is enhancing its API platform to give marketing companies more insight. 

TechCrunch reported today that Pinterest is preparing to announce a new initiative that will allow businesses to gain a better understanding of Pinterest trends, along with the improved API platform. The new service is currently offered to a limited number of marketing technology firms, including Salesforce, HootSuite, Spredfast, Percolate, Piqora, Curalate and Tailwind.

The API is Pinterest's first effort to allow third parties to build over its services. The company will continue to offer its free analytics service.

By giving companies a more comprehensive understanding of Pinterest trends -- which images are most popular, which are driving the most traffic and which have been shared, or "repinned," the most -- Pinterest thinks companies could design more effective marketing campaigns and facilitate greater customer engagement.

Want Subscribers? Recognize Who Owns the Channel

2014-23-May-Social-Channels.jpgAccording to a recent study from EdgeRank Checker that analyzed 50,000 posts from 1,000 brand Facebook pages, Facebook’s organic reach has been on the steady decline over the past two years. Marketers should realize that this decline is not only natural, but unavoidable. While user growth -- the goal of every social network -- will increase the amount of social status updates, the total amount of time people have to view this content will not.

To remain successful, marketers have to understand the implications of social media data ownership and monetization. Brands have spent a lot of money building their "likes" so they could harness Facebook as a channel within an overall marketing efforts.

Long Live the Marketing Funnel

2014-23-May-Marketing-Funnel.jpgContrary to what you might have heard, rumors about the marketing funnel’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

The funnel is alive and well. And it should be leveraged extensively by marketers. It provides a consistent and universally understood (and somewhat accepted) framework. The funnel does come in a variety of shapes and sizes and colors -- with different twists and turns. Despite this variety, few marketers really leverage this powerful model.

This Week: SAP Boosts Marketing Toolkit + We Smell a Windows RAT

SAP Adds Marketing Muscles
SAP acquired behavioral marketing specialist SeeWhy this week. But is the marketing cloud battleground set?

Stormy B2B Selling
Anyone looking to sell IT technology B2B has it pretty hard these days

Mobile Enterprise Like Rome
While important strides are being made, we are still years away from realizing the full potential of the mobile enterprise.

Collaboration ROI Fool's Gold
Collaboration ROI miners who dig for fool’s gold and find it think they have hit the jackpot — only to find out later that it is worth nothing

Beware the Windows RAT
The latest warning from the FBI bears a strange resemblance to a trailer for a poltergeist experience. 

Big Gains for Big Data
Hadoop, Hadoop distros and the technologies and analytics around big data keep getting more widespread and more pragmatic to use.

The Definitive Guide to Content Migration (download free)
Intel migrated 300,000 web pages in only 8 weeks by automating their content migration.
Learn how they did it

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Busted: 5 Common Myths Of Customer Service

2014-22-May-Big-Fella.jpgThere are dozens of misconceptions about working in customer service commonly assumed by businesses. Whether a fresh young start-up or established conglomerate, mistakes like limited thinking or an overemphasis on one particular aspect of a customer strategy has the potential to weaken a business from the inside. And it’s amazing how many companies continue to make the same mistakes, resting on the appeal of their renowned brand name whilst they fail to address gaps in their service structure.

Go Digital - In 6 Easy Steps

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Finally, someone has stood up and said it. Digital business is not about IT,  applications, software, the cloud or even — as much as it pains us to say it — information management.

Digital business is a mindset. A different way of thinking about business. It includes all the above elements, but it is more than the sum of those parts. According to new research from Gartner, digital business is the new enterprise lingua franca, with digital expertise spread across the entire organization.

NICE Systems Wants to Hear Your Voice

Sometimes, proving who you are can be difficult. To make phone authentication easier, customer interaction management provider NICE Systems has unveiled its real-time authentication solution that requires only your voice.

The system's Seamless Passive Enrollment process creates a voice print from previous callings, so that users do not have to set up their own voice profiles.

"If a customer has called before, they can be automatically authenticated using their voice the very next time they call," NICE Enterprise Group Yochai Rozenblat said in a statement.

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