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CMSWire Interviews

Which Comes First: Engaged Employees or Customer Success?

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Customers, customers, customers, customers, employees.

When you look at the spending on business technologies, that's roughly the emphasis that companies place on one side of the sales wall versus the other.

On one level, it makes sense. Customers spend the money and, as we've all heard, they're always right. Then again, there's nothing that can improve the customer experience more than employees who serve customers face-to-face, in customer service centers, or even behind the scenes in technical or management roles.

Remember that flight attendant who watched your screaming kid while you took a sanity break? How about that waiter who served a joke that lightened a miserable  day? Or the bus driver who stopped where she wasn't supposed to because it was raining? Do we have the technological cart before the proverbial horse? Gartner Research Director Yvette Cameron thinks so. 

Connecting: Dave Kerpen, the Most Influential Guy You Never Met

Connecting with Bill Sobel

It must be nice to be more important than Bill Gates … not to mention Jack Welch, Mark Cuban, and Barack Obama. That's the enviable position that Dave Kerpen is in, at least according to LinkedIn.

Kerpen, an entrepreneur and author, earned recognition as the No. 1 LinkedIn Influencer of all time last summer, ahead of all those other guys. He had the most popular article on LinkedIn at the time — "11 Simple Concepts Become A Better Leader," which had been viewed 1.8 million times and "liked" by 21,000 people.

But that was eight months ago. Today that post has been viewed nearly 2.6 million times and "liked" by 25,500 people.

It's a lofty position for a really down to earth guy. Kerpen is the founder and CEO of Likeable Local, a social media software product for small businesses, and the chairman and former CEO of Likeable Media, an award-winning social media and word-of-mouth marketing firm that has had triple digit revenue growth for four consecutive years. He's also a New York Times bestselling author of three books and an international keynote speaker.

Fractal CEO: Consumers Want Control of Their Data

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The next time you’re downtown, stop and look around you: people, stores, banks, transit, restaurants, stoplights -- all of them constantly generating and consuming data. Now think back to the people, all of them with their own destinations, purpose, concerns, needs and schedules -- more data.

Since 2000, when he co-founded Fractal Analytics in Mumbai, Srikanth Velamakanni has been looking closely at the data that defines our lives, our jobs, our towns, even ourselves. Fractal has helped scores of clients sort it all out to better serve each customer, analyzing client data along with its in-house data warehouse to provide near real-time solutions. 

Fractal moved to New Jersey in 2005, then relocated again to San Mateo, Calif. in 2010 to be closer to Silicon Valley. It just opened an office in Rome, will soon expand to Switzerland and has already opened in Canada. Today it provides data analytics services to companies with revenues of $10 billion to $100 billion in sales, deriving 55 percent of its revenue from the retail/packaged goods sector, 40 percent in financial services/insurance and 5 percent from technology and telecom.

Connecting: Sprinklr's Social Nerd Talks Digital Tech

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Two years ago, Esteban Contreras sold most of his earthly possessions on Craigslist, walked away from a city he loved – New York – and moved to Canada. He happily resettled about 30 minutes from Vancouver, British Columbia but stayed connected with his adopted hometown by by advising and working with NYC based Sprinklr, a provider of social media management tools.

We told you about Sprinklr last month when it bought Austin, Texas-based Dachis Group, a social analytics company, and formed the largest independent end-to-end social relationship platform in the market. Contreras is director of strategy at Sprinklr.

He's a native of Guatemala, but he has little concern for geography — and said he's "glad we live in a day and age in which it is possible to work from virtually anywhere."

And he's probably just as glad we live in an age when it's possible for one person to do so many interesting things. Before moving to Canada, Contreras was the first social media marketing manager at Samsung USA.

He's also the author of the book "Social State," founder of Social Nerdia Consulting, which focuses on the convergence of technology, marketing and social, and an advisor to multiple tech startups.

Connecting: Stealing Content and Other Copyright Issues

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The Internet has turned a lot of honest people into thieves. People who wouldn't dream of walking out of a retail store without paying for a pack of gum have no remorse about stealing online content. Pictures. Blog posts. Funny videos. 

And that's turned copyright issues from "an obscure corner of the law" to "the subject of conversation at picnics and parties," said Christopher Kenneally, director of Business Development at the Danvers, Mass.–based Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), a global licensing and content solutions organization.

Despite what many of us think in this age of incessant sharing, people who create “original works of authorship" — literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works ­— actually have rights. Under copyright laws in the US and other countries, you need permission from the copyright holder to reproduce, distribute, display or perform these works.

So much for making that great aerial picture of a tropical sunset you stumbled upon the background for your Facebook page.

Robert Scoble: The Scobleizer Talks Life, Work and Technology

Thumbnail image for Connecting with Bill SobelRobert Scoble — aka The Scobleizer — works at Rackspace, where he's building a community for people fanatical about the Internet called building43. But that just scratches the surface. Scoble has been making a name for himself on the Internet for a while now.

"There’s a really excellent about page over on Wikipedia about me. I didn’t write a single word about it, but I do watch to make sure it’s accurate," he told me.

So let's start there. He's best known for his (late great) blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technology evangelist at Microsoft. It earned him a mention in the Economist in 2005, which noted Scoble had become

a minor celebrity among geeks worldwide, who read his blog religiously. Impressively, he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience."

RadiumOne CMO Eric Bader: Focus on Customer Relationships

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Eric Bader made company history last summer when he became the first CMO at San Francisco-based RadiumOne, a firm that builds software to automate media buying. Bader has been around the advertising block, so to speak. He's a veteran of adland, a community weblog and advertising archive, and has worked at Ogilvy & Mather, MediaVest, BrandinHand and Initiative, where he was chief strategy officer from 2010 to 2012.

But that's not all, folks: He's also CEO and founder of a startup called Mobilize, which creates, hosts and manages mobile applications and web sites for various customer interactions — from merchandising and transactions to CRM, loyalty programs, in-store and shopper marketing and promotions, social marketing and events.  

But his main task now, according to a story in AdWeek last summer, is to explain RadiumOne's "value proposition in a crowded marketplace of startups that claim to be able to spin social data into gold for marketers."

Connecting: Content is the Secret of Marketing Success

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Stephanie Frasco loves few things more than social media. But content is one of them. “Content Is King," she stated enthusiastically. "It's everything … The key to attracting the right customers, the best tool for building relationships with prospects, the most powerful way to convert prospects into sales, the No. 1 way to improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, online and off.

"Yup."

Frasco, a social media marketing consultant, is vice president at Los Angeles based Convert With Content. In the past 7 years, she has worked with clients worldwide to help them maximize their efforts from social networking and blogging. 

Through a rather tongue-in-cheek blog called Socially Stephanie, she offers advice like this to B2B businesses:

I want you to absolutely think about blogging within LinkedIn's new publishing platform. Yes, this is hot off the presses. LinkedIn's publishing platform is now open to the public. The possibility of getting in front of LinkedIn's 200 million plus users is exhilarating, but you have to do it right. Create unique content for LinkedIn. Look at it as a guest blogging platform and not a syndication network. Duplicate content doesn't bode well with the Google gods. I know that I'll be spending investing some good ol' blogging sweat equity there, and you should too."

Connecting: How to Build an Unforgettable Brand

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Julie Cottineau doesn't mince words. "My business is branding. I teach you how to improve yours," she said. Cottineau is the founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build their brands and leverage them as actionable business assets.

Before BrandTwist, she was vice president of brand at Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, overseeing branding strategy for new and established Virgin companies in North America. She also served as executive director of consumer branding at Interbrand and was a vice president and management supervisor at Grey Worldwide in both the US and France. She has been an adjunct professor of integrated marketing communications at Columbia and Cornell universities and is a frequent commentator on brand strategy and innovation.

Connecting: Discover, Curate and Share the Best Content

Connecting with Bill Sobel

New York City-based Rallyverse has been described as the next generation in social media networking. The company helps marketers discover, curate and share content in owned and paid social media.

More specifically, it monitors trending conversations across the social web and recommends the most relevant content for marketers in real time — creating ready-to-publish status updates, tweets and social ads in a simple, visual interface.

Joe Doran is the company's co-founder and CEO. He's a seasoned senior executive with 15 years of experience managing interactive media, advertising and social media solutions in high growth companies like Microsoft and General Mills.

5 Questions for New Webtrends CEO Joe Davis

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Joe Davis, a web analytics pioneer best known for his work at Coremetrics, has taken over as CEO of his one-time competitor, Webtrends, with the goal of boosting revenue growth.

It's a task that contributed to the demise of former CEO Alex Yoder five months ago. That's when Yoder was replaced after five years in the corner office by board member David Mitchell, operating partner at Francisco Ventures, which controls the privately owned company. Yesterday's announcement caught many by surprise because the company gave no public indication Mitchell was serving on an interim basis.

Davis sold Coremetrics to IBM in 2010, and has been out of the analytics business while the big data revolution exploded over the past few years. Now he's back in the middle of it, hoping to do better than Yoder, who came to Webtrends with a sales background 12 years earlier and rose to the ranks to chief executive.

Connecting: Marketers Need to Talk Less, Listen More and Stop 'Selling'

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Wendi Caplan-Carroll understands the power of digital marketing. She has more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing marketing strategies for businesses and organizations in a variety of industries. She speaks regularly about ways small businesses can benefit from tools like email and social media marketing.

Since 2008, she has worked at Constant Contact, a provider of on-demand engagement marketing tools, including e-mail marketing, social media marketing, event marketing and online survey products. In late 2012, she was promoted from senior regional development director for the New York metro area to an area director with responsibility for a multi-state area across the Northeastern US.

More than half a million small businesses, nonprofits and associations worldwide use Constant Contact's online marketing tools to generate new customers, repeat business and referrals.

Connecting: Columbia University's David Rogers on Digital Marketing

Connecting with Bill Sobel

David Rogers is a globally recognized leader on digital strategy and brands, known for his pioneering model of customer networks. Based at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, he is the faculty director of the school's Executive Education programs on Digital Marketing Strategy.

He is also the founder and host of the Center on Global Brand Leadership's BRITE conference, which brings together leaders from media and business to discuss the ways innovation and technology are transforming the ways we build great brands.

His recent research has focused on in-store mobile shoppers, digital marketing ROI and big data. He is the author of three books on brands and digital strategy, most recently, The Network Is Your Customer: 5 Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age. His next book will focus on how businesses adapt and survive in an era of constant digital disruption.

New England Patriots Content Chief Talks Social, Video, Analytics

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Fred Kirsch, vice president of content and publisher for the New England Patriots — the NFL team —knows a little something about moving and managing content. Huge amounts of content.

In the emerging omnichannel world, that's a complex job -- not only the production and management of content itself, but how it is marketed and distributed over multiple platforms including web and mobile. He's a great guy to talk to, and CMSWire.com was fortunate enough to interview him last week.

Connecting: How to Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing

Connecting with Bill Sobel

If you don't know Bill Sobel, you should. Sobel is the Chief Connections Officer at SobelMedia and founder of NY:MIEG/The New York Media Information Exchange Group. He's has been described as a master connector — someone who opens the door to "an interconnected world of endless opportunity."

Starting this week, you'll get a chance to connect, too, through his column Connecting ... with Bill Sobel on CMSWire. "I'll be interviewing interesting, unique people who have a lot to say about customer experience management and social business tools and practices," he said. Enjoy! Noreen Seebacher, Chief Editor, CMSWire

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