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Web Engagement News & Analysis

Belated Holiday Gifts for E-Marketers: Data Reports

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By now, big retailers have dumped the last of their holiday decorations and e-marketers have already started making plans to boost revenue the next time around.

This makes it the most wonderful time if the year to look at the data to find out what worked and what didn't in e-commerce for the 2014 holiday season. Conveniently, two predictive marketing vendors, Custora and Kenshoo, just released complementary studies that are chock full or data points.

Taken together, they confirmed the generalities that other studies have reported: e-commerce is growing rapidly, mobile is grabbing a bigger share the pie and desktop is still dominant. However, they also threw in some granular details about such things as ROI on paid search, revenue in social channels and the growing role of product listing ads (PLA) in the increasingly competitive e-commerce marketplace.

Companies Desperately Seeking IT Talent

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It would be a simple matter, it would seem, to hire a senior developer with Microsoft Dynamics skills. Yet, Kelly Bedrich, the director of IT for the non-profit firm APQC (the American Productivity and Quality Center), has been having difficulties filing the position.

He has his theories.

One is simply that local talent who can perform development, training and tier 2 support is scarce, he tells CMSWire.com. Another: organizations are starting to realize how critical the customer relationship management (CRM) function is to effective sales and marketing "so they are protecting their resources," he said.

It's not as though the non-profit was trying to hire one or more data scientists, a highly-sought skill. But then again, it might as well be. In general, the demand for IT talent has typically outstripped the supply and as the economy continues to recover that is hardly changing.

Do You Really Need a College Degree to Work in IT?

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is known for her insistence on hiring employees with stellar college credentials. She even reportedly turned down actress Gwyneth Paltrow for an editing job with Yahoo for that reason, according to The New York Times. Paltrow is also the author of cookbooks and head of the lifestyle blog Goop—making her a natural fit, it would seem, to be a contributing editor of Yahoo Food.

Mayer "balked" at hiring Paltrow, though, according to the Times, because she "disapproved of the fact that Paltrow did not graduate college." According to the Times, Mayer "habitually asked deputies where they attended college."

Mayer might be taking her views on education to the extreme with Paltrow, but surely this opinion is appropriate for the numerous tech jobs that are filled at Yahoo every year. Right?

Not necessarily, say some in the industry. Granted, certain positions that require engineering skills, for example, call for not only a degree but advanced education as well. 

Rethink Your Redesign Strategies to Hit Your Targets

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The central message of 2014 for digital marketers couldn't be much clearer:  give customers the information they need on whatever devices they're using.

That theme surfaced again Tuesday in a CMSWire webinar sponsored by Ektron, "Website Redesign: Strategy First, Tactics Second." Two Ektron executives, CEO Bill Rogers and CMO Lou Jordano, provided a roadmap they said will help marketers attract more business from different types of customers. You can watch the webinar here or at the end of this story.

"It's tactics that win marketing battles, but strategy that wins wars," said Jordano, who led the first part of the presentation. "You have to have your website strategy clearly in mind before kicking off any redesign or rebranding project." 

How to Make Boomers, Millennials and Everyone Else Get Along

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There are a lot of stereotypes about today's workplaces, including the unsubstantiated notion that you have to be in your 20s to understand today's technologies

But all those misperceptions are taking their toll. 

All is not well in today’s multi-generational workplace. Tensions are brewing between age groups, according to a Harris Poll survey on behalf of Ricoh Americas Corp., a global technology company.

Is Your CRM System Failing You? 4 Ways to Tell

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Would you invest in something that has a failure rate of 46 percent? If you've recently acquired a customer relationship management (CRM) system, then whether or not you realize it, that is what you have done.

That 46 percent is the high end of the failure rate range for these systems. At the low-end, there is an "optimistic" 16 percent chance of failure, according to a white paper by C5 Insight, which analyzed the various studies on CRM failure.

C5 Insight itself believes the failure rate is 38 percent.

Are You Too Old to Work in Tech? IT's Midlife Crisis

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IT has the reputation of being a young person's game.

Average tech workers are portrayed in media and industry lore as  20-somethings who spent their youth tinkering with code and playing video games.

The 40-something tech worker who cut his teeth on such technologies as mainframe computing? Let's hope he cashed in on the first dot-com boom or this second wave, because otherwise, his tech career is coming to an end.

In truth, nothing could be further from the truth, say IT recruiters and human resources staff contacted for this article.

Jeffrey Bowman on Demographics, Diversity and Reaching Customers

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You don't have to look far to realize the US has changed — and we're not talking about social and mobile. We're talking something far more basic … specifically, the people behind all those emerging technology trends.

There's more diversity than ever before, US Census data confirms. In fact, during the next five years, 80 percent of the country’s growth will come from multicultural and under-served audiences. 

So how can marketers and advertisers reach this changing population? 

Ask Jeffrey L. Bowman. Bowman is a senior partner and managing director at Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising, marketing and public relations agency based in Manhattan. He's also the founder and chairman of the Cross Cultural Marketing & Communications Association (The CCMCA).

Gabie Boko: Be Bold, Courageous and Creative

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Gabrielle "Gabie" Boko defines leadership as being passionate about an idea that you can change hearts and minds. She thinks almost everyone is an expert in one way or another, and encourages people — especially women — to embrace their inner confidence. 

Boko is the executive vice president of marketing at Irvine, California-based Sage North America, which provides software to small and medium-sized businesses. Before her appointment in July 2013, she held senior marketing roles in a number of major software companies including SAP and Cognos. 

She also has marketing experience in smaller, entrepreneurial start-up businesses in areas such as performance management and business process management.  

Dave Ramsey: On Winning, Losing and Getting Personal

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What does Seth Godin — who writes the most popular marketing blog in the world — have in common with Dave Ramsey — financial author, radio host, TV personality and motivational speaker? They're two of the three co-hosts of Business Gets Personal, an event this week in New York City.

On Thursday, Ramsey, Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of Wine Library TV — a daily video blog about wine — will host Business Gets Personal at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. It will offer keynotes, panels and networking opportunities. The subtitle of the event: People, Passion and Perspiration.

Stock Photo Agency Adds Social to Search

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Sure a picture is worth a whole lotta words. But how do you find the right picture to use in your marketing?

As anyone who has combed the archives of a stock photo site can attest, it isn't easy. 

But Dreamstime, a stock photography agency based in Brentwood, Tenn., claims it has a solution. It's factoring social media into its search function.

Want to Understand Your Customers? Talk to Seth Godin

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Seth Godin writes the most popular marketing blog in the world — and he gets customer experience.

As he once noted,  "The complaining customer doesn't want a refund. He wants a connection, an apology and some understanding. He wants to know why you made him feel stupid or ripped off or disrespected, and why it's not going to happen again." 

And he knows that an apology means more than a mumbled "sorry." It has to include both compassion and contrition, he wrote recently:

We're sorry that your flight was cancelled. This must have truly messed up your day, sir." That's a statement of compassion. "Cancelling a flight that a valued customer trusted us to fly is not the way we like to do business. We messed up." That's what contrition sounds like. We were wrong and we learned from it. The disappointing thing is that most people and organizations that take the time to apologize intentionally express neither compassion nor contrition."

Godin is the founder of Squidoo.com, a fast-growing recommendation website, and the author of 17 bestselling books. He is responsible for many words in the marketer's vocabulary, including permission marketing, ideaviruses, purple cows, the dip and sneezers.

Combine what has been called his "irrepressible speaking style" with his "no-holds-barred blog" and you can understand how he has developed a worldwide following. 

gShift Adds Twitter Trend Module to Its Marketing Arsenal

Does the marketing world need another trend-spotting tool for Twitter? Toronto-based gShift thinks so and today added a Social Keyword Research module to its web analytics platform for high-end clients.

The tool is designed to keep up with the 58 million daily posts on Twitter and help marketers create content that drives traffic by reflecting the interests of the targeted audience.

3 Basic Business Values of Customer Communities

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Online, customer-facing social communities are offering more options and greater complexity than ever before.

But what are the core business values to keep in sight? To find out, CMSWire.com spoke to a software vendor and an analyst. 

A CXM Retrospective: How the Customer Experience Has Evolved

Tis' the season for retrospectives. This year, I'm taking it to a whole new level. 

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