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Marketing Automation News & Analysis

Facebook Shuts the Gate on Likes

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Here's disappointing news for every consumer who likes to "like" a page on Facebook just to get a $10 off coupon or a by-one-get-one-free offer.

The social network has blocked companies from requiring customers to like a Facebook pages in exchange for contest entries or other company rewards — a practice known as like-gating.

According to a Facebook developers blog post, effective Aug. 7, companies are prohibited from incentivizing customers to “use social plugins or to like a page.” It's still acceptable to ask people to like your page — but they have to like it because, well, they actually like it. Existing apps have until Nov. 5 to comply with the new mandate.

Jim Belosic, CEO of ShortStack, said the move shouldn’t be a big surprise to most seasoned social media marketers. “The overall reaction has been great because I think that many businesses saw this coming, or if not, had turned away from Like-gating on their own over the last six months to a year,” he said. 

So, why have companies moved away from like-gating, and what can marketers use in its place? 

CPM Rises, CPC Drops for Facebook Advertisers

Advertisers are becoming more sophisticated in their Facebook advertising strategy. That's one of the key takeaways in the latest data about global Facebook advertising from social marketing software provider SHIFT.

Of course, Facebook is a big target, with seven percent of the total digital ad spending in the world. The data in the report is based on activity from SHIFT's advertising platform, its Open Marketing Cloud for social ad campaigns that was introduced in spring of last year.

"Advertisers are beginning to learn how to leverage the user data available to them," SHIFT co-founder and CEO James Borow told CMSWire. They are also "applying that data to set the strategies around ad creative, content, ad type and device type," he said.

Salesforce Adds Mapping and Data Features to Journey Builder

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Salesforce announced plans for a new drag-and-drop mapping option to Journey Builder today, one of several new features that should make the tool more user friendly for marketers.

The new tool gives users a canvas that they can use to map the customer journey across channels such as social media, web, mobile and desktop devices.

Salesforce also added a Journey Triggers function based on predictive analytics that can automatically send special offers and other content based on shifts in customer behavior. The idea is to nudge consumers back onto the purchase path if they abandon a shopping cart, leave a web page or indicate a change in product affinity.

Marketo Q2 Results Show Growth of Marketing Automation

digital marketing, Marketo Reports Numbers Growth in Marketing Automation Space

It's probably too early to tell if Marketo's latest customer experience-driven offering will be a slam dunk.

But it isn't hurting the company.

On the heels of its latest major platform announcement -- its new customer engagement platform unveiled at its annual Marketo Nation Summit in April -- the San Mateo, Calif.-based marketing automation provider reported revenue growth this week for its second quarter.

“Across the board, we delivered a strong quarter as customers adopted our customer engagement platform and purchased new applications such as our Real Time Personalization product, which we released early in the quarter,” Phil Fernandez, chairman and CEO of Marketo, said in a statement. "From new customers in the business-to-consumer category such as Unilever and 3-Day Blinds, to major business-to-business leaders such as Cisco, Principal Funds and SGK, marketers are choosing our innovative solutions to build individual and personal long-term relationships with their customers.”

Salesforce Unveils Sales Reach with New Tools for Mobile

"Instant marketing and selling." That's the idea behind Salesforce's new Sales Reach offering, announced today. 

It combines the Salesforce1 Sales Cloud, marketing automation suite Pardot and Communities into on-the-spot marketing and selling tools. Salesforce1, announced last fall, is described by the company as its "next-generation social, mobile and cloud customer platform" with more APIs and options for mobile development and cloud development.

Oracle Release Breaks Down Data Silos

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Oracle has just come good on the BlueKai acquisition, but probably not in a way anyone really expected.

Yes, Oracle was going to use BlueKai’s database of 700 million consumer profiles to improve its marketing technology. But Oracle has taken this one step further and is using it to improve the performance of all its data-centric applications.

Oracle will do this through its newly released Oracle Data Cloud, a Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform that enables business users drive more competitive action from their data. For data junkies, it also offers the potential of unsiloed access to data located inside and outside the enterprise.

Marketers Like Oracle Cloud's Summer Releases #interact14

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It's one thing to spend a couple of billion dollars acquiring digital marketing technologies and another to make them truly useful to today's marketers.

Nobody knows this better than companies like Oracle or Adobe, who went on multiyear shopping sprees to beef-up their capabilities in email management, social listening, customer analytics, email management, omnichannel messaging and other areas. The big question was could these companies quickly integrate these products in a meaningful way amid a fast-changing marketing industry.

Oracle, a newer player in the "marketing cloud" arena, showed off a series of its summer releases today at its Interact 2014 show in San Francisco, drawing boffo reviews from many of the 1,000-plus marketers in attendance. Clearly, the unofficial theme of the conference is "we are very, very good at integrating," as marketing cloud General Manager Kevin Akeroyd told us last evening.

Adobe and Neolane, 1 Year (and a Few Days) Later

Thumbnail image for 2014-16-July-Stephan-Dietrich.jpgSay “Adobe” 10 years ago and people would think “pdf” or “Photoshop.” Heck, say “Adobe” five years ago and people would think “pdf” or “Photoshop.”

While those words still come to mind when you hear Adobe today, chances are you are just as likely to think Marketing Cloud.

Adobe has come a long way since its acquisition of Omniture in 2009, which set the groundwork for its current Marketing Cloud.  

With last year's purchase of Neolane, Adobe came one step closer to realizing its goal of bringing the right and left brains of marketing together. Vice President of Adobe Campaign, Americas and Neolane co-founder Stephan Dietrich sat down to discuss the progress made in the first year since the acquisition announcement and the road ahead for the Marketing Cloud.

Oracle: Our Marketing Cloud Is the Biggest #Interact14

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Oracle kicked off its Interact 2014 conference today by noting it has added 350 marketing applications and data partners in the past year. That's resulted in "the industry's largest marketing technology ecosystem."

As part of that, Oracle said its AppCloud now includes 235 fully integrated apps. Its BlueKai program has about 300 partners in data, media, privacy and technology that leverage BlueKai data for solutions that extend beyond ad targeting.

The announcements, issued hours before the conference opened, said the growth means clients can more easily build a personal dialogue with customers across channels, a goal that has evolved into something of a Holy Grail for digital marketers. Perhaps more significantly, the conference is also providing some clarity on Oracle's roadmap for integrating its costly acquisitions, including $871 million for Eloqua, $1.5 billion for Responsys and an estimated $350 million-plus for BlueKai.

Act-On's Enhancements Focus on Reporting, Responsive Design

Another marketing automation provider is diving deeper into the space with enhancements to its platform.

Act-On Software, a Beaverton, Ore- basedprovider cited by Forrester as one of the top in the industry, added capabilities today that officials there say give marketers flexibility and control to customize individual user experiences and reports based on unique business processes.

This time last year Act-On added inbound marketing capabilities and a new mobile app.  

Constant Contact Becoming a Platform Vendor

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Known mainly as a provider of cloud-based email marketing solutions for small businesses, Constant Contact has been expanding its product offerings, transforming itself into a platform vendor.

With more than 605,000 customers (including roughly 40,000 net new additions in 2013 and 10,000 in the first quarter), Constant Contact has the ability to sell a greater number of solutions (covering event registration, online surveys, coupons and social media campaigns) into an increasingly large installed base.

Now it has the potential to do even more with a product called Constant Contact Toolkit, which it claims which brings together all of the online marketing tools needed to drive new and repeat customers across key channels.

Why Marketing Automation is a Must

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Imagine engaged and nurtured customers, who enjoy personalized, quality content that you deliver to them at the right place, at the right time, on the right device … customers who love your brand so much they just keep buying your products.

Meanwhile, your sales and marketing teams feel empowered to do their jobs better and act accordingly to sell your products more effectively.

Fantasy? Not exactly. One of the technological ways to get to this digital marketing Garden of Eden is marketing automation.

Do We Still Need Sales Reps?

2014-30-June-Sales-Reps.jpgWith widespread adoption of CRM and marketing automation, what is the purpose of sales reps? Do we even need them anymore?

A rhetorical question, but the expectations we should have with automation are worth examining. According to Forrester Research, companies worldwide are spending 19 percent of their SG&A (selling, general and administrative) costs on average in sales support-related activities. With a nearly 14 percent growth in worldwide CRM sales in 2013 -- and over 30 percent growth for Salesforce.com itself in the past two years -- companies are connecting the dots between marketing and sales automation efforts, and the desire to streamline the process of securing and winning customers.

Good News for B2B Marketers to Share with the C-Suite

Marketers are usually a paranoid bunch, we've come to learn. Will I go extinct? Does my work even matter?

Bizo says it does. Its annual State of B2B Lead Nurturing Report revealed 60 percent of marketers deliver at least 20 percent of B2B company revenues — and almost 25 percent contribute more than 40 percent. 

"Marketing organizations everywhere are taking on more influential roles when it comes to supporting company revenue growth targets," Jennifer Agustin, senior director of marketing at Bizo, told CMSWire. "Data like this supports the idea that marketing is more accountable than ever, and can play a more active and strategic role in the way companies are run."

Feed the Marketing Automation Machine with Interactive Content

2014-26-June-Hungry-Gator.jpgMarketing automation is a powerful technology. But to extract the most value out of it, you need two things: 1. content that magnetically attracts your audience -- both initially and throughout your nurturing program -- and 2. data that reveals the specific interests and characteristics of each prospect.

Without that, marketing automation is a blender with nothing to blend.

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