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Web Experience News & Analysis

Global Navigation is Less Useful on Large, Complex Websites

As a website becomes larger and more complex, navigation should focus on helping customers move forward. Helping them move backwards or sideways can cause major distraction and confusion.

Education Trumps Promotion in IT Buyer Marketing

customer experience, Education First, Promotion Last in IT Buyer Marketing

Courting experienced B2B IT buyers through marketing campaigns?

Don't promote yourself. Well, at least not right off the bat. Offer prospective buyers something educational — and that could be your ticket to actual product promotion.

"Educational works best," said Jonathan Handler, principal of Jonathan Handler and Associates and a specialist in healthcare information technology sales who has experience as an IT buyer. "Especially for experienced B2B buyers. They simply expect educational content."

CMSWire talked with Handler about IT buyer habits after IDG Connect released its report, "Connecting Conversations to Content." This is the third part of a three-part series examining ways to connect IT buyers with the right marketing messages. Wednesday, Erin Bolton told us it's important to use social media, and yesterday, Geraldine Gray stressed the need to show, and don't tell, buyers what makes products great. 

News Bites: Mobile Native Ad Exchange, More Salesforce Integration

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What's new? Well, there's the first global exchange for mobile-first native ads, another way to integrate Salesforce with Google Apps, a digital asset management (DAM) conference in New York and help for mobile users  interested in editing Microsoft Office documents and other common file types.

If You Dress SharePoint Differently, Is it Easier to Use? #SPC14

new clothes.jpg

SharePoint 2013 has a lot going for it … "if only it wasn't so hard to use." Ask anyone who uses it routinely — and doesn't work in IT — and you're likely to hear something along those lines.

Non-technical users tend to describe SharePoint as easier in theory than practice (unless someone invests the time to become an expert.) "It can get really complicated if you want to go past posting documents or adding a list," one user explained.

Some users give up, relying on share drives or their own hard drives and email rather than a tool that integrates both these functions. "It's hard to persuade them to go a more digital route," another user said.

Others take the easy way out and ask someone in the IT department to generate or post content, even though that's not an IT function.

But what if there was a better way? What if there was a way to retain the functionality of SharePoint in a simplified package — to dress it, as it were, in different clothes? That's what Akumina claims it can do.

Too Much Fun: Things to Check This Weekend

CMS, big data and everything in between can be not only work, but also fascinating, practical in your personal life and a whole lot of fun. We’ve selected a few our favorites to share with you.

This Week: Marketers Depend on IT + Dropbox Strikes Gold

Survey Says? Make Surveys Better
Forcing survey-takers to opt-out. Creating surveys that take longer than 15 minutes. Not including any open-ended questions. Doing any of this? Here are five ways to make your marketing surveys better

Oracle Gets BlueKai. What's Next?
Oracle Corp. appears to have an insatiable appetite for marketing technology. Its latest deal is BlueKai. Marketing wonks should keep their eyes on Marin Software, a provider of a cloud-based digital advertising management platform, as a possible buyout target

Making BYOD Work
BYOD is all but inevitable today, but you must create a comprehensive BYOD strategy that identifies which mobile devices, applications and services to support. It should also provide policies and procedures to guide help-desk and customer-service employees. 

Long Live Email Collaboration
With all the anti-email push out there, we need to allow people to collaborate with the tools that they are comfortable using. Email is comfortable.  

Why IBM's Cloudant Acquisition Matters
Feeling the pressure to innovate, IBM bought infrastructure-as-a-service brand SoftLayer last year, and it’s why they purchased big data-database provider Cloudant this week.  

Golden Days of Enterprise IT
These are golden days for enterprise (and wanna be enterprise) IT vendors. You don’t have to look any further than the (now confirmed) $350 million Dropbox raised last month to prove it. 

Tech Brief: Agile Digital Marketing for the Enterprise
Learn how integrating your marketing tools into one system can benefit your business.
> Download the Brief

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Connecting: Content is the Secret of Marketing Success

Connecting with Bill Sobel

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."

CMO Survey: Marketing Analytics are a Waste of Money

This won't help the marketing executive at the C-Suite table: Only about a third of organizational projects include marketing analytics. And there has been no significant gains for how marketing analytics contribute to a company's overall performance.

Those are two of the findings from this month's CMO Survey, the bi-annual report by Duke University, the American Marketing Association (AMA) and McKinsey & Company.

"There is a longstanding tendency for managers to not use marketing information in their decisions," said Christine Moorman, T. Austin Finch senior professor of Business Administration at Duke University and the founder and director of The CMO Survey. "We see that this holds for marketing analytics as well. Only 32.5 percent of marketing analytics that are either requested or available are used by managers to make decisions. This means that companies are spending more but not getting the full benefit of these investments."

Does Gmail's 'Unsubscribe' Link Spell More Trouble for Marketers?

Google rolled out a new feature last week that made it easier for Gmail users to unsubscribe from marketing email lists. Going forward, emails identified as “marketing” in nature will contain a prominent unsubscribe link in the header. When a user clicks the link, Gmail will notify the sender to remove the user from the mailing list without any further action required from the user.

Is this one more step in Gmail's campaign to torture marketers?

The Key to Attracting IT Buyers? Show, Don't Tell

customer experience, In Marketing to IT Buyers, It's a Show-Don't-Tell World

As a former IT buyer and current consultant for companies using Salesforce and other cloud deployments, Geraldine Gray knows what those in the market for IT products want.

They want to be showed not only what works -- but specifically where it has worked.

"Our customers love to see real life scenarios of product application through third party or user prerecorded webinars," said Gray, principal at Houston-based Endiem

And herein lies the message to the marketer. Show, don't tell. Show how your product has worked well for customers. Get out your rock stars, and turn up the amplifiers.

CMSWire talked with Gray about IT buyer habits after IDG Connect released its report, "Connecting Conversations to Content." This is the second of a three-part series examining ways to connect IT buyers with the right marketing messages. Yesterday, Erin Bolton told us it's important to use social media.

Adobe Expects New Integration to Improve Mobile Experiences

adobe experience managerDPS

How can you drive consistency across rich-content mobile apps and websites? Adobe thinks the answer lies in integrating its Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) and Experience Manager, part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud. The goal is to create a "unified design and publishing process."

Adobe announced the integration today.

In a conversation with CMSWire, Adobe's James Lockman, a senior solutions consultant, and Loni Kao Stark, director of product and industry marketing, described the integration as a way for publishers and brands to create, deliver and measure experiences for customers across content-rich apps like digital magazines and the web — using one set of assets. "We need to bring them together to create a seamless web experience," Lockman said.

5 Ways to Improve Marketing Surveys

customer experience, Five Ways to Deliver Effective Surveys for Marketing Campaigns

To survey or not to survey -- that is the question in this short-attention-span world of the customer.

Some people claim you can say goodbye to online surveys and argue solicited surveys are pointless. Others, though, say surveys are OK, as long as you tackle the mobile issue.

Are you or aren't you delivering surveys?

CMSWire talked with Jonathan Levitt, chief marketing officer of OpinionLab, about ways to improve your  surveys -- and your marketing campaigns.

WordPress Deal Transforms Bloggers to E-tailers

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WordPress is putting online retailing in the hands of bloggers by partnering with three e-commerce providers — Ecwid, Shopify and ShopLocket. The deal enables bloggers create slick, online storefronts.

The new plug-ins are only available to WordPress.com Business users, not to be mistaken with the self-hosted WordPress.org. That's the commercial arm of the WordPress parent company, Automatic, which offers fully hosted services to bloggers of all sizes, including TIME and CNN.

Your Customers Aren't Mindless Clicking Machines

Your Customers Aren't Mindless Clicking MachinesDatability -- the theme of CeBIT 2014 tradeshow taking place March 10-14 in Hanover, Germany -- is something of a mixed bag. On one hand, we have IBM Watson evaluating medical data in order to enable physicians to provide better treatment to patients. On the other, we have communications companies utilizing big data to simply continue blanket advertising by other means.

Use Social Media to Court IT Buyers

International ICT Expo

If you're not courting IT buyers in social media or online communities, then "you're missing out," said Erin Bolton, director of digital solutions for  MarketStar, a marketing consultancy in Ogden, Utah.

"It's imperative that technology vendors have a social media presence to engage and influence the IT buyer," Bolton told CMSWire. "This presence is critical to reaching buyers at every stage of the evaluation cycle."

CMSWire caught up with Bolton after the release of the IDG Connect report, "Connecting Conversations to Content," that called for those courting IT buyers to dive into social media. Today's catch-up with Bolton starts a three-part CMSWire series.

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