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Digital News & Analysis

Length is Everything [Infographic]

All that stuff about size is silly. The real thing to worry about is "How long should it be?" — the question every student has asked since a teacher assigned a report on topic (fill in the blank) for homework. 

Length has grown nothing but more important in the online world, a fact anyone who has struggled to trim a too long tweet understands. 

So how many characters long should a tweet be to get the most engagement, or how many words long should a blog post be so that it actually gets read? The team at SumAll, a company that markets a social media analytics and business dashboard, knows.

Customer Success is a Failure

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Customer success is a stupid concept … a catchphrase that shifts the focus from people to profit.

Unlike customer experience — a phrase that suggests giving something of meaning and value to the people who matter most — customer success implies taking.

It shifts the focus from customers to companies. Or, as the Customer Success Association so bluntly states on its website, turns "customer relationships into strategic portfolio assets" with an emphasis on "sustainable corporate profitability and growth." It asks:

  • How can we gather and use personal data and market intelligence to get the most from our customers?
  • How can we lure potential new customers and entice the ones we already have to spend even more?

Customer success isn't about helping customers or resolving their complaints. It's not even about creating win-win scenarios for customers and companies. Rather, it embraces and celebrates the exploitation of customers for a company's own benefit.

At least that's how it seems. And in this so-called age of customer centricity, it's tiresome.

Getting Closer to Customers Drives Web Success

Being successful today means being with the customer. The closer you are to the customer the more power and influence you have. 

Discussion Point: Is the Cloud Really Secure?

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Cloud computing is on the rise, but with it comes new fears about data security. Cybercriminals are always looking for an in, so cloud services constantly need to stay ahead of potential vulnerabilities.

Nothing has driven that point home more than a flurry of recent high-profile breaches. But because cloud computing comes with many advantages, including cost, ease and convenience, companies have an incentive to find security solutions. But it’s a daunting challenge.

In this week’s Discussion Point we ask experts to weigh in about the risks versus benefits of the cloud. Is true cloud security an unattainable dream?

Sooner or Later We'll Learn How Smart Jeff Bezos Really Is

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Shareholders are getting increasingly impatient with Amazon and its casual attitude toward profits. The company just delivered a disappointing earnings report that surprised the Street -- even though Amazon warned in its last report that the third quarter would be grim.

The numbers, which we will get to in a moment, are almost beside the point. There are larger issues at stake as the shareholder disgruntlement against Amazon grows.

As its losses mount, will Amazon be forced to stop making myriad — and expensive — investments in other companies and technologies and settle down to business, namely its e-commerce empire?

Or will shareholders be proved wrong about their growing ire over Amazon's investment spree?

Or, to put it in its most stark terms: will Jeff Bezos' vision for the company, no matter how seemingly schizophrenic right now, be proved correct in the end?

Consumer Packaged Goods: Stay Ahead of the Digital Marketing Curve

2014-24-October-Serpentine-Benches.jpgFor many years, consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers didn't have much need to be on the cutting edge of digital innovation. But this is no longer the case, as the CPG industry now leverages digital technology to its full capacity. In areas such as mobile commerce and mobile measurement, it’s even ahead of the curve. And we’re continuing to move in the right direction: eMarketer projects that US CPG digital ad spending will top $4 billion in 2014 -- proof that the package goods industry has recognized the competitive edge entering the digital age gives marketers.

Sold! 5 Salesforce Apps to Transform Your Sales Team

2014-24-October-Auction.jpgAs a testament to Salesforce’s popularity, more than 100,000 sales professionals traveled to San Francisco for Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual conference for customers and end users. A diverse group of business leaders, politicians and artists gave keynotes, but the focus for most attendees was how to make their own operation better by using Salesforce.com and the tools and applications that can be integrated with the system.

News Bites: Tweeting it, Rising Above it and Movin' Up

The latest in integration, innovation and transition from the Golden City, Silicon Beach, Gotham and the Great Wen and Athens of America.

The Truth About Competitive Analysis

2014-23-October-Pitch.jpgAs I write this, the World Series is about to get underway, which reminds me of a famous quote by Satchel Paige, one of the greatest baseball pitchers in history:

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

And think about how a runner on first base can disrupt the pitcher’s concentration from throwing a strike to a batter.

The result in both cases? Distraction from what you’re trying to accomplish.

The Customer Intent Wake Up Call

2014-21-October-Alarm-Clock.jpgAs companies evaluate their growth strategies for the New Year, the conversation ultimately comes down to which set of dials to turn. Does the company invest in more sales people, product features or marketing programs?

Companies aspiring to be customer-aligned add a few more dials to the conversation -- what should the chief customer officer be measured on, beef up the customer success team, invest in employee engagement / culture initiatives, innovate their customer engagement strategy, and/or shift from a product-feature-pushing sales model to a services-selling-path?

What all of these dials have in common is that they focus on the customer. Except each dial reflects an organizational silo that is focused on a slice of the customer experience -- none focus on the whole customer. Revenue growth depends on the organization’s ability to understand how to detect, decipher and act on the customers’ perspective of their intent.

IDC Predicts Big Changes, Fast Growth in Digital Marketing

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IDC expects the global market for enterprise marketing software to soar to $32.3 billion by 2018 -- a jump of more than 50 percent. But it won't come easy.

It will require a delicate balance of technology, creative talent and IT services for the market to reach its potential, said IDC Research Manager Gerry Murray, lead author of the IDC study. The 29-page report, which IDC sells for $4,500, is the first "comprehensive view of what the whole marketing technology envelope," said Murray. "It's a very big basket of technologies."

Due largely to multibillion investments by Adobe, Oracle, IBM, Salesforce and other giant software companies, the study predicts the marketing world will evolve from point solutions to marketing platforms. And, within a few years, we'll see Marketing-as-a-Service (MaaS) systems that will allow CMOs to farm out work in much the way they do now when they buy advertising, a shift that could trigger a shakeout involving many vendors.

Busy People Need Help, Not Interruptions

Getting attention is getting harder. The Web is a place where busy people do things. Help them, don’t disrupt them. 

News Bites: Real Science, Easy Apps, Get Togethers and Tree Hugging

The latest in powering, streamlining, partnering, enabling, communicating and saving the world from the Swinging City, San Francisco, the Big Peach, the Tall Stick, the Empire City and Silver Sprung.

Just Because You Can Steal Content Doesn't Mean You Should

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You just finished preparing your first presentation for that big seminar at the annual meeting with the coolest pictures you could find on Google images and Flicker, the slickest YouTube videos and the hottest tracks from Pandora. You’re all set, right?

Not so fast, according to Gretchen Klebasko, associate general counsel and managing director of Intellectual Property at Legg Mason. While those sites offer a wealth of media for the asking, much of the material may be considered pirated if you use it. The legal problems begin with the difference between “free to view” versus “free to use.”

The Copyright Clearance Center’s overly wordy titled webinar: “Video, Music and Text, Oh My...Managing Copyright Compliance in a Multimedia World,” does a good job of explaining those differences in plain language. It also explains how to avoid the plethora of media materials that could get an individual or a company in legal hot water.

Klebasko has an impressive litigation background, but stuck with lay-language and delivered helpful information in a succinct presentation that doesn’t talk down to the participants. (Her full disclosure includes Legg Mason’s “wonderful working relationship with CCC.”)

Deliver Big Data in Bite-Sized Pieces with Mainstream Apps

2014-16-October-Squirrel-Lunch.jpgHow can we transform Big Data into the Big Idea that turns into an opportunity in the digital revolution? How can we use this data gleaned from multiple sources and turn it into smart “consumer style” data driven, mainstream apps? The answers aren’t easy.

But without these answers we'll be unable to develop the data driven-apps that analysts are flagging as the next “Big Thing” in the sales and marketing arena.

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