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Digital News & Analysis

5 Things You'll Probably Hear More About at #SXSW

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Say what you want about SXSW Interactive (and plenty of people have said quite a lot). But a couple of things are clear.

The annual mega conference in Austin, Texas later this week is too big for marketers to ignore — and nirvana for tech aficionados, early adopters and the easily distracted.

As Tim Leake, SVP of Growth and Innovation at RPA, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based ad agency, wrote yesterday in Adweek, "brands, startups, bands, speakers, agencies, films and events engage in a battle royale to get noticed."

SXSW, he added, is "an eye-opening metaphor for the cluttered media landscape that marketers have to deal with in today's world."

A swirl of music, film and interactive events, the event starts Friday and runs through March 22. Of course, for anyone in marketing or advertising, the focus is on the interactive portion, which runs Friday through next Tuesday.

Why You Can't Ignore Employee Engagement in Your CX Model

What if you could build your next product together with your prospective customers?

If you could, you would build precisely what they want. You would tailor it to their specifications and undoubtedly have a happy customer.

This simple principle lies at the core of our next-generation customer experience tools and the new look desktop views frontline Verizon employees use to serve our customers.

As an IT team, our clients are Verizon employees who set out to serve our customers everyday. Our shared goal is simple: Reduce customer effort.

Tery Spataro: You Have to Know What Your Customers Want

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Tery Spataro is passionate about digital marketing. For 20 years, she's been providing strategies that define the role digital and technology play with the brand and in the life of the customer.

Her current title is director of research at ATOMdesign/STREAM Research in Scottsdale, Ariz., a product development and design firm. She oversees the method, strategy, identification of insights, analysis of data for product and marketing research to aid in the experience design process.

But if you ask her what she does, she's likely to put things much simpler.

"I bring digital and tech to life in the physical world," she explains on Twitter.

What's New for You This March in Open Source CMS

Is open source the next big thing? At least that's what it seems, based on a burst of unrelated news in the past month. As CMSWire writer Miles Kehoe explained a few weeks ago, "Open source software has gone from quirky and free to mainstream for the enterprise."

Just think about it. 

  • Open Whisper Systems announced the latest iteration of its secure open source messaging app
  • Pivotal Software announced the Open Data Platform (ODP), an initiative that brings together GE, Hortonworks, IBM, Infosys, Pivotal, SAS, AltiScale, Capgemini, CenturyLink, EMC, Splunk, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Teradata and VMware (and is open to other companies that want to join).
  • And SiteSupra, headquartered in Riga, Latvia, released its software as an open source CMS and development framework.

What else is going on in the open source world, specifically related to open source CMS? Let's find out.

2 Research Firms Think They Can Serve You Better Together

San Francisco-based Constellation Research and Digital Clarity Group of New York City have formed a "strategic alliance" to better compete with legacy research firms like Forrester and Gartner. 

The arrangement combines Constellation's strength in enterprise research and advisory work with DCG's brand and customer experience knowledge. 

It is not a merger, but a partnership that focuses on helping organizations on the buy-side.

"We feel like it's ripe for disruption," Scott Liewehr, CEO and co-founder of three-year-old Digital Clarity Group (DCG), told CMSWire about the research landscape. 

You, Too, Can Be A Data Scientist, Courtesy of Airbnb

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No, Airbnb won’t be providing you with a bunch of clean data sets and algorithms when you arrive at your destination. But the rental lodging site is doing something that will delight analysts a whole lot more.

Today it announced that it is open sourcing Airpal, an internally developed web-based query execution tool that leverages Facebook's PrestoDB to facilitate data analysis.

It puts data scientist-like powers into more hands, and that’s not just talk. One-third of Airbnb employees have issued a query using the tool.

G/O Digital, Altimeter Partner to Support Your Local Marketing

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A Chicago-based digital marketing agency has formed a research-based collaboration with the Altimeter Group to advance its understanding of local marketing.

G/O Digital, the umbrella brand for Gannett Company's digital marketing services, announced the relationship with San Francisco-based Altimeter today.

"For brands and retailers, connecting digital and physical is tough. With the Altimeter relationship we’re taking on the weighty challenge of understanding how brands think about content and digital assets to drive local store traffic and sales," Jeff Fagel, CMO of G/O Digital, told CMSWire.

Fagel said the arrangement includes a joint research study, which will rely on surveys and interviews with senior brand marketers to assess gaps between the perceptions and realities of local content and digital marketing tactics. The study is scheduled to start in the second quarter this year.

"The idea of local marketing has been elusive, but it seems that local stores and physical retail is a differentiator for folks against pure plays threats like Amazon," he continued. "Today’s consumer is different, but in many ways, the same. About 90 percent of the time, she still shops within three to five miles of her home."

Netbiscuits Claims Update Addresses Your Content Marketing Challenges

Netbiscuits, a provider of analytics tools for the mobile web, has added a tool to its web analytics platform that "goes beyond traditional analytics."

Netbiscuits CEO Daniel Weisbeck told CMSWire the update offers insight about website visitor behavior — information marketers can use to hone their content marketing programs. 

Called Visitor Flow for Customer Journey Mapping, it looks at engagement from referral points such as social media, digital advertising, press and search marketing. It breaks it down by device type and visitor attributes, including location, connection speed and time on site.

"This gives marketers instant insight into which digital content is driving the highest traffic and time spent on site," Weisbeck said.

The 50-employee Kaiserslautern, Germany-based company launched its analytics platform last April.

YouMail is $5M Richer and Eager to Grow

YouMail, a visual voicemail provider, plans to use the proceeds from a $5.5 million Series B funding round to expand its user base. The Irvine, Calif.-based company already boasts more than 6.5 million registered users.

YouMail CEO Alex Quilici told CMSWire the company we’ll plans to spend money to "drive awareness and use" in its target markets.

"YouMail has grown organically through a very lean team -- that is, we’ve spent no money to drive user acquisition, and we’ve had a limited development team. We’re now able to much more rapidly iterate on the service," he added.

Madison Logic Expands Its Platform With B2B Ad Network Buy

Madison Logic has been providing enterprise solutions for publishers and demand generation for the past six years.

But CEO Tom O’Regan told CMSWire that the company's customers wanted more — specifically "solutions that would help them target more efficiently and deliver more effectively when running brand campaigns."

With the acquisition of Linthicum, Maryland-based BBN Solutions this week, O'Regan claims New York City-based Madison Logic will give customers what they want.

How Is Your Customer Service Team Doing?

You can't underestimate the importance of customer service.

After all, your products and services are only as good as the customer service team ready to support them. So what does your business need to know?

Let's take a look at CFI Group's Contact Center Satisfaction Index (CCSI), which notes trends in US customer satisfaction.

Discussion Point: Can Marketing Technology Grow Any Bigger?

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Scott Brinker did the heavy lifting. The rest of us jumped on the bandwagon and began to weigh in.

Brinker's yearly marketing technology supergraphic hit the streets in January. It featured 100 percent growth in the number of vendors in this space, climbing to 1,876.

People are frightened. People are excited. People love this MarTech stuff. It's all over the place -- marketing technology ads on Pandora, FM radio and of course all the rage in trade shows.

But is it an unprecedented tech landscape? Has this kind of explosion ever happened before? We thought this would make for another good discussion this week.

Want to Engage Your Customers? Shift Your Digital Marketing Spend

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Marketers are adjusting their budgets and tactics to become more consumer-centric. But they need speed and agility to keep up with today’s demanding customers, according to a new report.

Leapfrog Marketing Institute, a unit of Evanston, Ill.-based digital agency Leapfrog Online, published the report, Evolving Strategic and Financial Plans for the Always-On Consumer (registration required).

It's based on a December survey of marketing and digital executives who all identified themselves as budget owners or budget influencers. More than 65 percent also described themselves as executive managers.

Doreen Lorenzo: What a Cat Herder Can Teach You About Leadership

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Doreen Lorenzo is a little quirky – and not just because she lives in Austin, Texas, the city that embraces weird like no other. Her eccentricity is mostly professional (with a nod to the fact she describes herself as a kitten herder on Twitter.)

But here is the bigger bit of quirkiness: From 2013 to 2015 Lorenzo was President of New York City-based Quirky, where she oversaw product development and operations for this fast-growing invention company.

Before that, she spent 16 years at frog design, a San Francisco-based product design and brand strategy company. For seven of those years, she was the company president, driving strategy, overseeing worldwide operations and delivery, and leading the design firm to record growth.

Beyond kitten herder, Lorenzo is a business leader, advisor to multiple start-ups and a strategic thinker. Her passion: "Helping creative people succeed."

Who Wants to Be the 'Getty Images of the Instagram' Generation?

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A crowdsourced, stock-image platform launched today, aiming to connect advertisers and content marketers. Twenty20, a Marina del Rey, Calif.-based provider, wants to become the "Getty Images of the Instagram generation."

Backed by an $8 million funding round led by Canaan Partners, the company launches out of beta today with a "mobile-oriented, crowdsourced approach to stock imagery." 

"We launched Twenty20 in 2013 with the goal of connecting digital creatives in search of authentic, real-world imagery for their marketing and advertising campaigns with content from mobile photographers all over the world," Matt Munson, founder and CEO of Twenty20, told CMSWire.

"Mobile has changed the way we see the world, and creatives are looking for content that reflects this to their consumers. Original, user-generated content allows brands to better engage and connect with their audiences, and Twenty20 offers the largest catalog of that content."

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