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Personalization News & Analysis

Personalized Content: Nice in Theory, Challenging in Practice

2014-23-September-Cookie-Cutter.jpgAmid the intense focus on vehicles for marketing -- social media, omnichannel merchandising and what have you -- heightened interest in content and its role in marketing is a welcome development. Perhaps content marketing hasn’t taken center stage before because everyone does it, and always has. If what you tell or show prospective customers has always been part of your marketing efforts, what has changed to justify the increased interest?

While the goals and concepts of content marketing have remained the same, the evolution of technology and the internet have largely taken over media and delivery channels, changing the execution of those concepts in ways that are forcing a radical rethinking of how best to engage rapidly changing target audiences.

Can Akumina Make SharePoint a Web CMS Contender?

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In the age of digital experience, not all companies are rushing into relationships with superpower providers like Adobe, Sitecore and Oracle.

Most, however, already have SharePoint, and many of those are trying to figure out how to extend its use to public-facing websites.

Enter Akumina, a three-year-old company whose founders have extensive experience in building and deploying such websites. It's led by CEO Ed Rogers and COO Steve Sherkanowski, who worked for years managing technical, operations and marketing activities at Ektron.

The Nashua, N.H.-based company recently introduced InterChange, a suite of role-based authoring and site management tools designed to give marketing teams control over SharePoint sites.

Use Human Data to Provide True B2B Personalization

2014-18-September-Crowds.jpgAn enormous shift is occurring in how B2B customers think about engagement and relationships. Customers expect marketers to achieve relevance by providing personalized communications based on their individual preferences, rather than continuing with irrelevant “spray and pray” marketing blasts. It’s this new way of thinking that’s unlocking the true potential of human data.

Three CX Consultants Share Strategies in 'Connect'

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As marketing shifts from campaigns and brand-building to analytics and cross-channel personalization, there's growing importance in understanding and shaping each customer's experience.

There are more than 1,000 technology vendors happy to sell products and services that promise to help, but ultimately all marketers must adopt their own plans to make the most of those technologies. And that can be the hardest part.

Lars Birkholm Petersen, Ron Person and Christopher Nash (shown L to R) have been working on this problem for years at Sitecore, where they consult with customers on how to make the most of the company's customer experience platform. Now they've shared their thinking in a book: "Connect: How to Use Data and Experience Marketing to Create Lifetime Customers." The book will go on sale Monday. 

Sitecore Takes on the Competition with Version 8 #SYMNA

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With about 1,000 digital marketing vendors competing in an arms race, Sitecore's CEO made it clear today that he intends to be among the superpowers.

Michael Seifert complained at the start of the Sitecore Symposium that the current chaos among vendors isn't serving marketers.

"Frankly, I think it's getting absurd," he told the throng of customers who've come to Las Vegas for the show. "Marketing technology is starting to fail the marketer ... Each digital marketing tool is limited to the channel on which it operates."

What's Behind Microsoft's MSN Portal Revamp?

2014-9-9 msn redesigned portal.jpgTwo decades after it launched MSN, Microsoft is applying its "mobile-first, cloud-first" direction to the MSN portal, which it claims has over 425 million users daily. The enhanced personalization capabilities will provide advertisers with a single place to buy space that can be synched across devices and audiences.

Is Your Brand's Personalization Really Customer-Centric?

True personalization makes brands competitive, but what does true personalization mean?

True personalization gives brands the opportunity to be wholly customer-centric at every point of engagement. Rather than just increasing conversion rates, personalization involves a continuous effort to improve your customer experience so that visitors will return, purchase and become loyal.

It's not about collecting mountains of data or testing based on legacy assumptions about visitors, but the actionable insights which improve customer experience and drive revenue. These insights don't come from a single A/B or multivariate test, but rather the evolution of how you understand your customer micro-segments. It’s a chance to develop a dynamic understanding of how visitors mature, and not just who they were during their last click.

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?

How Marketers Can Get a Better Handle on Data

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Web analytics means nothing without website content to measure. But over the past few years, web developers and designers have increased the ways in which website content can be curated and marketed.

The result is an overwhelming number of options for measuring how well digital media such as websites, social media and apps serve customer needs. But marketers can get a better handle around all this data by understanding data structure.

How can marketers do that? The solution starts with a light overview of HTML and object oriented programming protocols, which specify data type and format.

The Evolution of Marketing Automation

2014-11-June-Refrigerator.jpgAs a marketer, I have a different outlook on digital communications than most consumers.

I see the connections between omnichannel marketing strategies that trigger emails and display campaigns and site personalization tailored to me based on my previous behaviors. I understand how looking at a refrigerator on a major retailer’s website provides enough data to target me through marketing automation platforms via emails and Facebook campaigns, personalized to the model and prices that I viewed. I have witnessed the progression from one-sized fits all digital communication to the personalized experiences we have today.

I also realize how far we still have to go to reach the promise of true marketing automation -- the optimization of customer management.

Remaking Marketing With Remarketing

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In the post Making the Most of Dynamic Tag Managers, I shared how tag managers address dynamic campaigns, a refining element for better analytics. One benefit from that refinement is enabling a better response to website visitor segments that can appear.

Certainly one segment that appears is the casual customer who browses a number of websites. That customer needs a reminder of why your site is worth a conversion — a purchase, a download or what action that you are undertaking.

The usual string around the finger is digital advertising. But the best string to use is a remarketing campaign.

By using remarketing features in Google Analytics, you can reinvigorate paid search campaigns and cross-device strategy.

The Marketing Cloud Battleground Isn't Quite Set

customer experience, Is the Marketing Cloud Battleground Not Quite Set?

It’s SAP’s turn to go fishing for marketing software.

“SAP really needs to step it up on the marketing side of things,” Ian Michiels, principal and CEO of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Gleanster Research, told CMSWire yesterday as SAP announced it acquired behavioral marketing cloud provider SeeWhy

“Both Adobe and Oracle have extremely compelling stories to tell, but they are largely just stories,” Michiels added. “Only a handful of clients, if any, are using comprehensive suite offerings."

It's Easier than Ever for Your Customers to Ignore You

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Hey marketers: we're living through an age of unprecedented consumer power. If you don't adapt to that fact, you may not be in business long.

That's the simple message from Incite Marketing and Communications' recent white paper, "Peacekeeper, Navigator, Student: The Marketer to 2015."

The report was written by Nick Johnson, founder and CEO of Incite, and was put together after hours of conversations with senior brand executives from companies such as L'Oréal, MetLife, Wells Fargo and Sears/Kmart in addition to conversations from 1,000 other marketing executives from companies worldwide.

How to Make Your Customers Love You This Valentine's Day

Play Matchmaker this Valentine's Between Customers and Contact Center AgentsAnyone who has dealt with a customer service representative knows it’s rarely a match made in heaven. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite.

Between long hold times, mismatched agents and unresolved issues, it’s no wonder why most interactions with a company’s contact center get off to a rocky start. Neither party is totally at fault for this unhealthy relationship -- customers simply want their issues resolved in a timely fashion, and agents have few insights into the people and problems that they are expected to address.  

The Salvation for Snack Attacks: Smart Vending Machines

The Salvation for Snack Attacks: Smart Vending MachinesI don’t know about you, but when I walk by a vending machine and see one of my favorite snacks, I immediately have a snack attack. Often times these attacks go unanswered because I typically don’t carry cash in my pocket, or for the times when I do, the machine is broken.

Well, enter smart vending -- and the answer to my vending machine woes!

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