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Online Marketing News & Analysis

Amy Webb: From Gaming Online Dating Sites to Advising Marketers

Connecting with Bill Sobel

Amy Webb understands data. In fact, according to her book, Data: A Love Story, she "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony – and met her eventual husband.

But that's just the start of the interesting things about her. Webb is a digital media futurist and founder of Webbmedia Group, a digital strategy agency that spots near-term emerging technology trends and develops strategies for media organizations, Fortune 100 and 500 companies, large nonprofits, universities and government agencies.

She's also the co-founder of Spark Camp, which Fast Company described as "the ultimate summer camp for influencers" (only it actually happens year round). The camp encourages "creative conversations between genius strangers.”

The Future is Programmatic

Since the first banner ad was served in 1994, digital media has been on a steady course of evolution.

In the past 15 years, the ways in which digital media has been bought, sold and measured changed at a reasonable pace, making it fairly easy for advertisers and publishers to keep up with the latest trends. However, the last six years, specifically, have seen a rapid shift in the digital media ecosystem.

New technology-based solutions have continued to propagate in an effort to provide buyers and sellers with more efficient and effective ways to buy digital media, and the explosive growth of the Internet has provided publishers with an unprecedented amount of ad inventory.

To manage the massive scale of this digital adverting jungle, new technologies are now easing the process of buying and selling advertising through automation or, as it’s termed today, programmatic.

Shift Your Thinking About Content Marketing

2014-31-July-rubiks-cube.jpg

For B2B marketers, there’s no question that content marketing is a key initiative. And these days, it seems everyone is sharing his or her content marketing best practices, promising marketers that if they could simply do X, Y and Z, then success is all but assured.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can never win at content marketing using best practices alone. 

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.

Annual Reports: Marketing's New Best Friend?

Boring, Drab. Interminable. And the next big thing in marketing.

Annual reports have traditionally filled a dull, unassuming niche in a company's marketing efforts -- if it held any place at all. That's changing. More companies are turning their annual yawn into a showcase for the company's culture, vision and business victories. And racking up sales and online influence because of it.

Survey Finds Gap in Targeting for Marketing Content

Thumbnail image for 2014-30-July-Target.jpgContent marketing is so perplexing to today's marketers that we've published 140 stories on the subject in the last year and a half. Yet a lot of marketers seem frustrated by lackluster results.

A new study (registration required) by the 614 Group and OneSpot may help explain why content often misses the target. Marketers aren't aiming for the target, or at least not very well.

Overall, 54 percent expressed dismay with their content marketing efforts. About two in three respondents said their content marketing efforts aren't driving business as well expected, and 56 percent were unhappy with the way results were measured. 

Fragmentation Is Holding Marketing Back

2014-30-July-Broken-Egg.jpgWhat do omnichannel marketing and winning a Formula One race on flat tires have in common? Simple -- both are impossible.

Trying to compete at 300 mph on flat tires is not only impossible but dangerous. Trying to deliver omnichannel consumer experiences on top of a highly fragmented foundation is not just difficult, but impossible as well.

Despite a strong desire to drive seamless and frictionless omnichannel consumer experiences, most brands are multichannel at best, while consumers have become omnichannel in both behavior and expectations. Hence the disconnect.

What prevents brands from making their omnichannel goals a reality? Fragmentation. 

Twitter Claims It Offers Marketers Good ROI

2014-29-July Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.jpg

Twitter announced growth of 129 percent in advertising year-over-year in the second quarter. It signals an increase of investment in the social media platform and a strengthened belief in its results, Twitter executives said during a conference call. 

The platform -- now with 271 million users -- is becoming more appealing to marketers who continue to see more return on investment (ROI) from Twitter campaigns, said Mike Gupta, senior vice president of strategic investments at Twitter. 

"Marketers are increasing their budgets and spending based on the ROI they're seeing on our platform," Gupta told investors. 

5 Ways to Sharpen Your B2B Marketing on LinkedIn

digital marketing, Five Ways to Sharpen Your B2B Marketing on LinkedIn

Raise your hand if you've been told LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B social media marketing

So we've all heard that one.

And here is the thing. It might be true for your company. Or it might not be.

If it is, though, there are a few things you should know — not the first of which is the new marketing features LinkedIn itself produced last week that focus on testing and personalization.

And if your company is investing in it as a B2B marketing platform, here are a few things to know as you take the plunge.

BlueConic Reemerges

Some spinoffs come off as a desperate ploy to hold onto audiences. Did we really need The Golden Palace after The Golden Girls finished?

Others hold their own next to the original. The Mary Tyler Moore Show came from Lou Grant. The Daily Show begat both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.

BlueConic falls into the latter category. Four years ago, web CMS provider GX Software introduced it as a complimentary web engagement solution. In the years that followed, BlueConic broke off as an independent entity, received $3 million in Series A funding from Boston-based Sigma Prime Ventures, moved its headquarters and two of its chief executives to Boston.

So why don't we hear more about it?

Stay on Track: Avoid Valueless B2B Content Marketing

digital marketing, Stay on Track: Avoid Value-Less B2B Content Marketing

Forrester's report on B2B content marketing concludes that B2B marketers don't focus enough on a buyer's lifetime cycle and need to establish a formal editorial board to advance content marketing programs.

So let's get to work.

CMSWire caught up with Laura Ramos, the author of the Forrester report, "Compare Your B2B Content Marketing Maturity," for a Q&A on the topic.

3 Things You Probably Forgot in Your Mobile Strategy

2014-25-July-Water-Test.jpgMobile has moved beyond a “channel” and become a behavior. A verb. A necessity. It’s safe to say that if you haven’t moved to mobile in some form -- advertising, app, responsive name, you name it -- you've fallen way behind. So I’m going to assume we’re all on the same page and have at least dipped our toe in the mobile waters.

Mobile is now the dominant channel in online advertising. And while many companies at least have a mobile site, most are missing that clear strategy for mobile customer acquisition.

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.”

LinkedIn's New Marketing Tool Offers Testing, Personalization

Marketers using LinkedIn as a tool can now personalize and test content in the newsfeed without having to originate posts on their LinkedIn company page, the professional social media network announced today.

An expansion of LinkedIn's "sponsored updates" product, the new solution is called "direct sponsored content."

Sponsored updates are LinkedIn native advertisements, where company-created content is distributed to targeted audiences on the site. To assist companies with creating and distributing sponsored updates, two new kinds of content marketing partners were created in April -- sponsored update partners and content partners.

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