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Web Experience News & Analysis

How a Juggler is Shaping the Future of the Internet

Thumbnail image for Connecting with Bill Sobel

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten is a serial entrepreneur, blogger, speaker — and a guy who likes to "link to things that inspire me or make me laugh."

What else would you expect from a man who went to the circus school when he was 15, and once, in 1987, held the distinction of being the only person in The Netherlands who could juggle 7 balls?

He's also co-founder and CEO of The Next Web (TNW), a company that manages several initiatives focused on international technology news, business and culture. More recently he startedTwitterCounter.com, which he describes as a combination of Feedburner and Google Analytics for Twitter.

Starting companies is apparently something the Amsterdam-based businessman just likes to do. In 1997, he launched his first company, V3 redirect services, a redirect service that was acquired by Fortune City in 1999. In 2001 he founded HubHop, a WIFI hotspot service, which was acquired by the Dutch telecom operator KPN.

Since he has started several projects and companies in addition to The Next Web, including TNW Conference and Fleck.com.

Marketer, Meet Commerce Expert

2014-03-December-Meeting.jpgWe've established the importance of a strong collaborative relationship between marketing and IT. As we approach 2015, it's time to highlight another relationship that will become equally important in the year ahead: a strong partnership between marketing and commerce teams.

Commerce experts today are laser-focused on implementing the best platforms and portals to facilitate online transactions safely and securely. Meanwhile, marketers concentrate on telling strong brand stories to increase sales and build customer loyalty. While both teams have similar goals when it comes to increasing a company’s business, their efforts are often siloed. They don’t realize the benefit of integrating efforts closely in order to create bottom-line business impact.

Why Your Fantastic Website is a Flop #KenticoConnection

So you’ve got a stellar website design with copy that virtually sings. So why is it such a fantastic flop?

“Copywriters and designers are often not the users of a site,” said Vita Janecek, online marketing product owner for Kentico Software. This means that their designs and words, while they may look and sound good, may not appeal to your target audience.

So how do you get it right? It’s about going right to the users and asking them what they want, said Janecek, who spoke at Kentico Connection in Boston recently. Early testing can ensure that you’re hitting the mark.

After all, in the words of an old African proverb that Janecek quoted, “Nobody tests the depth of a river with both feet."

Has Personalization Hit a Dead End in CX? #Gilbane

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BOSTON -- Martha Elliott started to catch on through her bank's home page. Each time she logged on, the home page included images of African-Americans. 

Elliott is African-American.

"I didn't like it. I like diversity," the technologist told CMSWire today at the 700-registrant Gilbane Conference at the Boston Renaissance Marriott Hotel. "I want a bank that's diverse."

Instead, she got some back-end personalization she felt was "disingenuous." Pretty much the opposite of personalization, right?

Forrester: 2 Lead the Pack in DAM for CX

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In a flooded market for digital asset management (DAM), Forrester Research has named two leaders.

OpenText and ADAM Software lead the pack in Forrester's Wave for Digital Asset Management for Customer Experience for the fourth quarter of 2014.

The DAM market is growing because these solutions "help marketers and eCommerce pros address media management challenges like video management, globalization/localization, rendition management, analytics tied to the content level and content creation workflows."

Leaders stand out in usability, strategic vision and direction, workflow and globalization/localization.

Analytics is Everywhere

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We saw the usual spate of announcements coming from the major software companies this fall. Lots of new extensions to the Salesforce.com and Oracle marketing clouds, Adobe extensions and updates to Creative Cloud, and most recently, IBM’s Launch of IBM Verse. And that’s just the big players.

All of the fall software announcements had one thing in common: analytics. Whether it’s sales analysis, data for making marketing decisions or prioritizing emails, analytics -- predictive analytics especially -- is everywhere. It’s behind the latest supply chain management tools and integrated into CRM systems. Analytics is in email too.

The High Cost of Sales-Marketing Misalignment

2014-01-December-Lindy-Hop.jpgIt’s almost 2015, and we have a lot of things now we never thought we’d have: computers we can wear on our wrists, movies and television shows delivered to devices in our pockets, and the ability to print three-dimensional objects from computer files.

So why is it still so that, in this era of human accomplishment, many businesses can’t manage to get sales and marketing together?

The Continued Decline of the Homepage

Google is your new homepage. Every page you have is a homepage for someone. We must think beyond the traditional homepage.

For Google Algorithms to Mobile Insights, Digital Marketers Give Thanks

2014-26-November-Thank-You.jpgWith some $13.1 billion in sales expected over this long Thanksgiving weekend, brands and marketers have much for which to be grateful. With CyberMonday starting off the following week, digital marketers have additional reasons to give thanks.
 
In the spirit of the holiday, CMSWire took its own informal survey to quantify, what exactly, people most appreciate.
 
From the goofy to the incisive to the obvious-but-still-needs-to-be-said, we give you eight things about which digital marketers are thankful. 

Thankful for Louis Prima, Customer Honesty, Personalization and More

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Family and health. Are there any more reasons to be thankful this time of year?

Um, yes.

OK, the first two are the most important. But I gotta say, I'm starting to be more and more thankful for other things. The ability to switch from rapper Pitbull's Pandora station to trumpeter Louis Prima's in seconds. The new Taco Bell breakfast menu (no shame here; it's delicious). And the San Francisco Giants giving my beloved Red Sox good players.

Techies are feeling thankful this time of year, too. So are digital marketers, as you'll see in another story published here today. We caught up with some tech managers and CEOs about what's making them thankful this year:

Pushing the CIO and CMO Closer Together

2014-26-November-Closer.jpgIn years past the chief marketing officers and chief information officers had their own discrete functions to perform within the company -- with the twain rarely having to meet.

Clearly that is not true any more as digital marketing becomes a larger and larger component of a company's overall marketing operations. Despite this trend, CIOs and CMOs have not moved to anything approaching true collaboration, according to the findings of a Forrester/Forbes Insights survey. While progress has been made in establishing foundational aspects of trust, organizational skills and process, it concludes, "bold leadership is needed to turn this initial work into client results."

Focus Your Content Marketing on the Digital Dialogue

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To stand out and be relevant in the digital world, you need content. Sounds simple, but the reality is very different. According to the Content Management Institute, marketers in businesses both small and large face challenges that range from producing sufficient quantities of engaging content, lack of integration across marketing, budget restraints, insufficient executive buy-in, limited measurement capabilities and skillset shortages.

The Psychology of Personalization

2014-26-November-Personality.jpgLet's get right to the punchline, and then back it up with some facts. Automated personalization and the human touch are complementary, but systems will improve and automated personalization will handle more and more of the personalized interactions with customers. It’s not only because automated personalization is more efficient. Sometimes the results are better when human-to-human psychological baggage is subtracted from the equation.

Personality Matters in Customer Service

Mike Ashe has a philosophy about CRM: “If we’re right more often than we’re wrong then we’re going to beat random.”

By that, he’s referring to the analytics behind his company Mattersight's Predictive Behavioral Routing which “predicts which (customer service) agent is best-suited to handle the next call based on individual customer behavioral data and agent performance data.”

6 Things We Learned About Facebook's First Intern

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First, the good stuff.

Mark Zuckerberg has no secrets beyond what the public already knows about him.

The movie, "The Social Network" was BS. 

Justin Timberlake made Sean Parker seem like a rockstar when he's really just a nerd.

And the jury's out whether Darian Shirazi, Facebook's first intern, was portrayed in the movie.

(Ah. The self-indulgent reporter Facebook stuff is out of the way.)  

We caught up with former Facebooker Shirazi, now 27, to talk about the marketing software industry.

His two-year run as intern and employee at Facebook behind him, Shirazi went on to invest in several technologies before launching three years ago what's now Radius, a San Francisco B2B real-time marketing intelligence platform company that's up to about 60 employees.

Here's what we learned about Shirazi and his company: 

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