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Digital News & Analysis

Microsoft Ups Its Customer Experience Play

Microsoft is flexing its customer experience muscles. Last night it announced the spring release of Parature will come with more than 30 new “high priority” customer capabilities. They're designed to help businesses streamline and improve their customer experience strategies.

The release follows the acquisition of Parature by Microsoft last February for a reported $100 million. The purchase price is a relative pittance in comparison to many current tech deals — especially since the value it will bring to Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) portfolio is incalculable.

Marketers Beware: Terrifying Pitfalls of the Viral Meme

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Viral content has gone viral.

Several people, including many of my Facebook friends, have referenced or forwarded the King of Clickbait article by Andrew Marantz in the New Yorker. It's taking off like wild fire. Yes, it's gone viral.

Readers here may have noticed I'm obsessed with clickbait and have written about how it is denigrating the value of media and advertising. But people love the story. They read about these young viral geniuses working in their underwear making millions of dollars, and they think, "I want in!"

Be careful. There's a lot of hype, but mostly the people making money off this are the viral hype artists, not the marketers or even the readers. One problem is the disconnect between viral content and real audience engagement. Viral content is low engagement content. The other big problem is whether or not viral content even aligns with your marketing goals. Chances are, if you are a B2B marketer or industry executive, viral content does not apply to you.

What's New in January for Open Source CMS

WordPress, the Goliath of free and open source content management systems (CMS), closed the year with the release of a new version named in honor of yet another musician.

Version 4.1 — aka "Dinah" — honors singer and pianist Dinah Washington, one of the most popular black female recording artists of the 50s. She was posthumously inducted to both the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Matt Mullenweg, the founder and CEO of WordPress' parent company, Automattic, and a musician himself, blogged that the new version "helps you focus on your writing" and that the new default theme, appropriately named Twenty Fifteen, "lets you show it off in style."

Mullenweg said the blog-focused theme is designed for clarity and has "flawless language support" through the use of Google’s Noto font family.

Writing is work — and this version aims to make it easier through something called a distraction-free writing mode. When you start typing, all of the editing tools disappear, "letting you focus solely on your writing." The tools "instantly return when you need them," Mullenweg explained.

Not sure if this will actually make writing any easier, but it's a novel option that perhaps some of the platform's massive user base might find worthwhile. For the record, WordPress powers more than 46 percent of the World Wide Web, according to BuiltWith, which monitors such things.

What else is new in free and open source CMS this month? Plenty.

The Washington Post May License its CMS Platform

The Washington Post's team of developers and engineers have done such a stellar job of building out a new content management system (CMS) that it's now considering licensing it to other news organizations, according to a recent article in The Financial Times.

The FT reported that the paper has been approached by other publications about licensing the software.

Just How Much Must the CMO and CIO Work Together?

Forrester Research says a strengthened relationship between the CMO and CIO will be paramount for companies' success in 2015.

Shocked? Neither are we. This executive relationship -- and how it must be tightened, glued, bonded and sealed -- has been bandied about before. 

Marketing and information technology leaders reached by CMSWire agree the CIO-CMO is an important relationship in the executive scheme of things.

But just how important depends, they say.

"While there is no doubt that the CIO-CMO relationship is key to success in the digital age, the same applies to relationships across the C-suite," said Ian Cox, a London-based author who was a finalist for the British Computer Society’s CIO of the Year award in 2011 and was also ranked among the top 100 UK CIOs for 2012 by CIO Magazine.

The Scoop on Pinterest Analytics and Engaging Pinterest Followers

It's easy for people to spend time on popular social media platforms — and, increasingly, the platform of choice is Pinterest.

The growing use of the image sharing social media platform has created a high quality of influence on retail and branding. And that means it's essential for marketers to learn the basics of Pinterest Analytics.

Examining repins and researching follower interest with Pinterest Analytics can make Pinterest engagement more meaningful, help you increase online activity and enhance the digital experience for your customers.

CMSWire's Top 25: The Hits of 2014

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Another year has come and gone — and with it, an amazingly diverse selection of stories from CMSWire staff writers and contributors. Over the past 12 months, our team has worked hard to inform, entertain, inspire, provoke debate and encourage discussion about a wide range of B2B topics.

Before we make the usual predictions about how much more we expect to accomplish in 2015 (which we do) or how we expect CMSWire to become an even better source of information for everything related to digital experience, marketing, social business, big data and more (which it will), we'd like to step back and collectively say the most important thing possible.

Thank you.

Thank you for reading our content, posing thought-provoking questions and participating in our webinars and Tweet Jams. We appreciate your support, your informed discussion and all the many ways that you, our readers, have helped make CMSWire a go-to source for industry information.

And now, a selection of some of the stories and authors you enjoyed the most in the past 12 months.

CMSWire Top Contributors 2014 - Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer

3ef26a4.jpgTjeerd Brenninkmeijer predicted that 2014 would be "a great year for Web Content Management" one year ago and from this vantage point, it looks as if he was right. Tjeerd's passion for all things digital experience and 14 years of business experience keeps him in demand as a speaker at conferences and in demand as a writer on CMS related topics. 

A Look Back: Still Searching for Optimal Customer Experience

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You couldn't escape talk about awesome, amazing, remarkable customer experience (CX) in 2014 — or, for that matter, related terms like customer satisfaction, customer focus, customer service or customer-centricity. It is, after all, the Age of the Customer — a reality that has caused businesses everywhere to embrace CX as a business goal.

But like the mythical 10 pounds we collectively vow to lose on New Year's Day, the customer centricity of most companies, as evidenced by their delivery of memorable customer experience, rarely evolved from a concept to a practice this year.

And no matter how hard companies tried — with new technologies, new programs and even new names ("customer success," anyone?), the dream of seamless, engaging, excellent cross-channel customer experiences often remained an illusion.

  • Why is it cheaper if I order online for in-store pick-up than if I just buy it off the shelf at the store?
  • Why do so many companies make me wait more than 30 minutes to speak to someone who might have the authority to resolve my problem?
  • Why are call center representatives unable or unwilling to understand when you plead "I cannot hear you – please adjust your headset?"
  • Why can't anyone listen to what I am saying?
  • Why are so many of my interactions with companies simply frustraneous?

Why, indeed?

Shining the Light On Dark Social

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You do it. We all do. You see an interesting story and share the URL with a friend. Or maybe you just copy a couple of sentences and paste that into an email.

You're just being social. But for the publisher, that's known as dark social because it results in traffic that comes from unknown sources.

Luis Aguilar has been on the trail of dark social for about three years now as a product manager for Po.st, an offshoot of  programmatic advertising agency Radium One. Po.st offers tools that help publishers track that traffic.

Who Needs a Ferrari? Oracle Buys Datalogix for Christmas

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Forget Hawaiian Islands, ski houses in Aspen and geeked out yachts, this year Oracle CEO CTO Larry Ellison is buying himself a data-tracking firm for Christmas.

This morning Oracle announced its intent to acquire Datalogix, a “Data-as-a-Service” analytics provider that helps brands glean insights on customer purchasing patterns. Datalogix's unique value proposition to the market is that it can help brands determine if ad clickers actually ever walk into stores to purchase the goods they’ve shown interest in.

Though the amount of the acquisition is unknown, earlier this month AdExchanger reported that Datalogix was shopping itself around for as much as $1 billion. It was rumored, at that time, that Nielsen, Adobe and even Facebook were kicking its tires.

Ekaterina Walter: Success Is a Team Sport

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The most influential Renaissance man in digital marketing is quite likely a woman.

Ekaterina Walter not only has an attention-getting title — global evangelist at Sprinklr — but is also a passionate marketer, bestselling author and highly regarded international speaker.

She's also proud of her roles as a wife and mother, enjoys dancing, camping and seeing the world, and "tweets with a European accent."

After spending more than 10 years as an integrated marketer and social media leader at Intel and Accenture, she went on to become the co-founder and CMO of Branderati, which was acquired by Sprinklr earlier this year. Somewhere along the way, she found time to write two books, "Think Like Zuck" and "The Power of Visual Storytelling" and also gained recognition for her innovative thinking.

Electricity Transformation Strategy

Imagine it’s the early 20th Century and electricity is all the rage. Companies are hiring Chief Electricity Officers and the hottest topic for boards is how to develop an effective Electricity Transformation Strategy.

7 Troubling Myths About CX - and Why It Could Fail

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Colin Shaw knows customer experience (CX) — and he doesn't like where it's headed.

Twelve years ago, Shaw co-founded Tampa, Fla.-based Beyond Philosophy, a consultancy and training organization devoted to customer experience (CX). The company specializes in helping organizations to create deliberate, emotionally engaging customer experiences that drive value, reduce costs and build competitive advantage.

In addition to serving as CEO of Beyond Philosophy, he's the author of four books on customer experience and has a new one, "Unlocking the Hidden Customer Experience: Short Stories of Remarkable Practices that Ensure Success," scheduled for release next month. He's also one of LinkedIn's top 150 business influencers worldwide. So he knows of what he speaks when he expresses concerns about the future of CX.

"I'm becoming increasingly concerned that the goal of improving the ‘Customer Experience’ is heading the same way as customer relationship management (CRM) ... into failure," he said.

Bah Humbug: Could Your Holiday Emails Be Hurting You?

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Skip me if you’re sending out holiday emails, especially if we’ve never met. What you consider to be Seasons Greetings, I consider to be SPAM. And I have 512 such pieces in my inbox. I could have a part-time holiday job just opening them all.

And when I do open some of them and try to extend greetings of the season to you in return (it’s the least I can do, isn’t it?), the “To” box auto-fills itself with things like “customerservice@xxx.com”, no-reply@xxx.com, info@xxx.com and so on. It makes me feel so special, I can’t tell you.  What were you hoping to achieve?

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