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Digital News & Analysis

Leveling the E-Commerce Playing Field

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Brick-and-mortar stores have an advantage over e-tailers when it comes to keeping customers engaged --it’s much harder for prospects to walk away from a face-to-face interaction than to click away from a website. In-store customers also go to greater lengths to shop there than online browsers, so they’re likely to be more receptive to immediate sales messages. E-commerce is clearly on the rise with growth estimates of 13.9 percent from Nov. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

Companies Plagued by Mobile Marketing Mediocrity, Altimeter Finds

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Hold the (cell) phone.

Despite all the talk about the importance of mobile, the ubiquity of mobile devices and the merits of optimizing mobile experiences, most companies and brands are still failing to capitalize on mobile technologies — and losing the potential to benefit from what is arguably one of the greatest opportunities for customer experience innovation.

That's the surprising conclusion of research being released today by San Mateo, Calif.-based Altimeter Group, a research firm dedicated to helping companies understand and act on technology disruption.

In a report entitled "The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience" (registration required), co-authors Brian Solis and Jaimy Szymanski warn that many companies and brands are still underestimating and underinvesting in mobile.

What's more, they conclude, clearly defined and unified mobile strategies remain largely elusive to most executives and strategists, who tend to view mobile as the latest “bright, shiny object" rather than both a means and an end to incredibly improved customer experiences.

It’s a recipe for disaster, they argue — and an imperative for companies and brands to address right now if they want to remain relevant, competitive and continue to survive.

Want to Make a 6-Figure Salary in Tech? Think DevOps

DevOps practitioners are among the highest paid IT professionals today, and the market demand for them is growing rapidly. That's the conclusion of research from information technology (IT) automation provider Puppet Labs, which released its DevOps Salary Report (registration required) yesterday.

The research is based on salary data gathered from the State of DevOps Report that it released last June. Analysis of some 9,200 technology professionals around the world shows that nearly half of development and operations (DevOps) professionals (which include a wide range of titles) make at least six figure annual salaries, at least in the US.

Emotion + Analytics = Speaking Your Customer's Language

2015-22-January-Laughing-Eyes.jpgIn a recent interview with Jeannette Ho, vice president of revenue management and analytics at FRHI Hotels and Resorts, she spoke about using analytics to quantify guests’ emotions, with the goal of understanding motivations for traveling. FRHI’s aims for an ideal of turning “moments” into “memories” when guests are staying with them -- a great way to create a truly delightful customer experience.

But the question is how do you keep that customer experience healthy even when a customer isn't on property?

Bing/Yahoo Tramples Google in Paid Search

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Google is losing ground in the paid search market to the Yahoo/Bing partnership, according to new report by IgnitionOne (IO) a cloud-based digital marketing technology provider.

The IO Q4 2014 Digital Marketing Report calls the growth in Yahoo/Bing share “historic.” It jumped to 26.3 percent of U.S. search spend — a 25.8 percent jump over consecutive quarters.

“I am a little surprised by the success of Yahoo!/Bing at chipping away at Google’s lead. They're still a distant second to Google, but they have made some serious gains this quarter – mostly due to their gains in mobile and tablets,” said IO president Roger Barnette.

Discussion Point: Security Experts Respond to the State of the Union Address

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Cybersecurity wasn't even the stuff of dreams when George Washington delivered the first State of the Union message to Congress on Jan. 8, 1790. But fast forward to 2015 and there it was, playing a prominent role in Barack Obama's annual address to the nation.

Obama called for better cybersecurity in his televised address last night, urging Congress to pass legislation that will improve computer protection. “No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” he said.

Telerik Exec Dishes on New Release, JavaScript's Momentum, More

Progress Software just debuted the latest version of the Telerik application development platform for mobile development. It's an important release for Bedford, Mass.-based Progress, which bought Telerik, the makers of the Sitefinity web content management system (WCMS), late last year.

Now barely a year old – this Telerik platform launched in February 2014 – it is difficult to imagine that major changes could be so quickly introduced. But as Aygun Suleymanova, head of Platform Product Marketing at Telerik, explained, the platform has gained significant traction. Specifically, some 20,000 apps have been built with it by more than 600 enterprises, to say nothing of the thousands of individual developers.

So scratch that supposition that little could have changed in the space of a year. In fact what Telerik has done is taken the usage data and customer feedback to development more capabilities to make development that much faster.

From 0 to 1000 in a Month: One Online Community's Story

Shortness of breath during a routine walk. A chronic cough or continual wheezing. The need for supplemental oxygen. These are common symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition that affects approximately 24 million Americans.

That number doesn’t count the friends and family members who help care for those affected. If walking to the corner store causes shortness of breath, then chances are that loved ones will need to accompany you to assist with routine tasks.

Signs on the Road to Digital Analytics Maturity

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There's a danger when we turn to competitive analysis to compare progress against others in the same industry. If you're in an industry where digital transformation is slow in coming, or digital analytics are considered "new," you'll never have an example to follow because everyone's trending at the same slow speed. We've already seen how competitive analysis can act as a distraction when coming up with digital strategies. So when we took the first pass at the data from the EY Digital Analytics Benchmarking Survey, we kept this idea in mind.

People are People, Not Users

Empathy is an essential skill for those who design and manage websites and apps. It’s hard to have empathy for a user.

Retail's Omnichannel, Data-Driven Revolution is Here

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The retail revolution is here. It’s always on, omnichannel, social, mobile and highly personalized. It’s informed by data — big data, small data, fast data, machine data.

The times, they are a changing. If you’re a retailer or a brand, the question is "Will you?"

You’d better. Because the consumer already has.

That was the general sentiment at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) BIG Show in New York City this week, where we heard speaker after speaker talk about data being the critical ingredient in creating customer experiences the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Customer Experience Means the Same Thing, Online or Off

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If you're like most people you experienced some great, and some awful shopping experiences over the past few months. But what made some experiences great and others less than average?

The answer is almost certainly that the good experiences were driven by exceptional service tailored to your specific needs, and the bad experiences were caused by poor and uncaring service. It's the difference between the sales associate that takes the time to understand what you are looking for and helps you find it, versus the sales associate that is too busy texting to be bothered by your questions.

The same characteristics of a good in-store experience also make for a good digital experience. The more personal and relevant the digital experience, the better.

News Bites: Apsalar, adaptiv.io, Vidyard, MEC, Celtra, More

The latest in hiring, funding, delivering, exchanging, partnering, filing and revoking from Silicon Valley, the Tri-City, Metropolis, the White City, the Peninsula, the Saltwater City, the Grape State and Snow’s Springs.

Deja Vu Research: CIOs, CMOs Need to Get Along

Gartner is echoing what Forrester Research revealed last week: CIOs and CMOs have to improve their abilities to cooperate.

In a report suggesting IT Leaders Will Need to Develop a Stronger Relationship with Marketing this year, Gartner analysts note that both CMO’s and CIO’s will be forced to work together as content personalization becomes increasingly important and enterprise invest in more marketing technology.

It duplicated findings from Forrester Research’s Cliff Condon, who suggested last week that the current relationship between CIO’s and CMO’s is too loose for company success — and that greater cooperation is essential. While more than 60 percent of CMOs and CIOs told Forrester that they enjoy a relationship of mutual trust and respect, only 46 percent of marketing leaders and 51 percent of technology management leaders have a single view of their customer across all the company’s touchpoints, Condon wrote.

What B2B Marketers Can Learn from Super Bowl Advertisers

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$4.5 million. That’s the record-breaking, going rate at NBC for a 30-second spot in this year’s Super Bowl, according to AdWeek. And brands are doing everything they can think of to squeeze the most value out their hefty investments.

From Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign, which will run two customer-created ads during the Feb. 1 game, to the multi-social media war room and event strategy of Bud Light, B2B marketers can learn a lot from Super Bowl advertisers — including the fact "puppies never fail."

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