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Web Experience/Engagement Management (WEM) Articles

IDC's Look at the Future of Social Technologies

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It’s that time of year when everyone is looking back to see how they've done and looking forward to see how much more they can do. And according to Framingham, Mass.-based IDC (International Data Corporation), social technologies can be a major driver of organizational transformation in 2015.

Shep Hyken: A Guy Who Embraced Customers Before It Was Popular

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Anyone who knows anything about customer experience (CX) knows Shep Hyken.

Hyken is a go-to source for anything related to CX. He's also a professional speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build lasting relationships with their customers and employees.

In addition to writing in hundreds of publications, he is the bestselling author of "Moments of Magic," "The Loyal Customer," "The Cult of the Customer," "The Amazement Revolution" and, most recently, "Amaze Every Customer Every Time." He is also the creator of The Customer Focus program, which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

Did we mention he's the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations — a company he founded in 1983?

Organizational Ego is Eating Trust

I had reason to visit the International Monetary Fund website recently. Based on its content, the IMF is an organization overflowing with ego. Dominating the homepage was IMF chief Christine Lagarde with a very large picture of herself. In imperious language we are told that Lagarde “welcomes the pledge by the G-20 group of advanced and emerging economies to step up efforts to boost growth and create jobs.” 

Is Newly Sold Ektron Merging with EPiServer?

It's hard to separate fact from fiction in the continuing saga of Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

But we wanted to share the newest rumor this morning — namely, that the company that just bought Ektron is also buying EPiServer and has plans to combine the technologies.

Company President Tim McKinnon, the guy who runs the day-to-day operations at the web content management firm, told CMSWire today that he doesn't know anything about the alleged merger.

But McKinnon also told us yesterday that Ektron's minority investor — a private equity firm called Accel-KKR was not buying the company — just before a document that refutes that statement surfaced online. You can view it in the story here.

Once Red Hot Ektron Reportedly Sells for Paltry Sum

Privately held companies have it easy: they can vaguely boast of double-digit growth, record profits, strong cash balances and bright futures even when reality seems to suggest otherwise. At least that seems to be the case with Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

The web content management firm, which was consistently ranked one of the fastest growing tech companies in New England in the early 2000s, seems to have come to a stunningly disappointing end.

(UPDATE: Ektron confirmed to CMSWire this afternoon that it closed a second round of equity funding with Accel-KKR, but stopped short of acknowledging a sale.

In a conversation with CMSWire's Virginia Backaitis, Ektron President Tim McKinnon claimed the company is profitable and growing — and contended that rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

In a press release issued mid-afternoon today, McKinnon stated that the Accel-KKR investment "provides strong support for Ektron as it delivers upon its vision and mission to provide solutions to customers," and adding that the company is "well positioned for continued growth in 2015."

Greg Williams, managing director at Accel-KKR and a member of the Ektron board, noted in the statement that the private equity firm has been "more than impressed by the momentum, profitable growth in the business and the results the team at Ektron have been achieving."

The press release contains no comments from — or makes any mention of — Ektron CEO and co-founder Bill Rogers.)

Want to Retain Your Customers? Get Personal

Many marketers are stuck in the personalization slow lane. Personalization is no longer a luxury reserved for big players like Amazon but is an expectation. So marketers who want to keep up with the competition must employ a personalization strategy. The good part? It's easier than ever to get on board with personalization. A number of tools exist that will amass customer data for you and provide you with opportunities to tailor your customers' online experience.

But there's one area where personalization can have impressive effects -- customer retention.

Marketing to Millennials: You're Doing it Wrong

2014-05-December-Reader.jpgMillennials have it rough. Not only have they come of age in the worst economy since the Great Depression, but log on to any news site and you’re likely to find them assailed by older generations as selfie-taking, text-a-holic, unemployable idlers.

But perceptions of millennials are beginning to shift. A number of recent articles point out that millennials are not somehow worse than boomers or gen X, they’re just different. These differences touch many aspects of millennials’ lives -- from work ethic and prioritization, to spending habits and how they use technology.

As a demographic, they present obstacles for marketers. To understand these obstacles and overcome them, it’s important to first understand what makes millennials tick.

Dear Marketers, Thanks for Ruining My Holiday Shopping Experience

2014-04-December-vintage-christmas.jpgMy earliest memories of my late father include heading out to scoop up bargains on the day after Christmas. What, I wondered at the age of four, could be better than buying plastic reindeer and strings of fat multicolored bulbs for 50 percent off — 364 days before you'd ever want to use them?

Nothing, I concluded. It was fun, even exciting, a way to effectively extend the magic of the holiday just a little longer.

And now, through a flurry of ill-conceived marketing, the fun is over. Some Master Marketer who clearly lacked access to a calendar decided that After Christmas Sales would be even better before Christmas. And that triggered a rash of related, equally annoying decisions to accelerate sales of all kinds.

Black Friday on Thursday, anyone? How about Cyber Monday on Saturday? Why don't we just have sales all month long?

But that's not all. After the sales are accelerated, many of them are extended — so all those Cyber Monday specials are still out there on Thursday.

5 Components of a Social Media Policy in a Regulated Industry

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A sound social media policy serves two key purposes: 1. to educate employees on use within and outside a company work environment and 2. to mitigate corporate risk through guidance on process and procedure as it relates to industry compliance and messaging.

For some more heavily regulated industries, the latter becomes extremely important.

Is a Private Equity Firm Buying Ektron?

BOSTON -- Rumblings that a private equity firm is buying web content management system (CMS) provider Ektron swept through the Gilbane Conference at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Boston this week.

Although sources were not willing to go on record with CMSWire, one industry insider told CMSWire that an acquisition was forthcoming — and that it did not involve another technology firm. The source did not respond when asked directly if the sale involved a private equity firm. 

Earlier this year, Ektron closed a growth equity funding round led by Accel-KKR. The company stated at the time that this minority investment, the company's first institutional round, will enable it to accelerate product and company expansion. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Neither Greg Williams, managing director at Accel-KKR and a member of the Ektron board, or Ektron employees immediately responded to our email requests for comment.

Using DAM Content Migration to Maximize Asset Value

2014-04-December-Trained-Migration.jpgInstalling a new digital asset management (DAM) system can be overwhelming. It requires a great deal of planning and coordination across multiple departments and groups. One of the biggest tasks is the migration of existing assets from one or more sources into the new DAM system.

While your vendor may offer a simple way to migrate old assets into the new DAM, they'll rarely spend the time to see how your organization can get the most value out of old assets. So before you jump in, take the time to consider the opportunities a content migration can offer.

How to Engage Affluent Consumers

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With holiday spending in full swing, companies that are best able to engage affluent customers, especially online, will no doubt be a lot jollier than their competitors. In fact, according to a report on affluent audiences, online purchases by those with larger incomes have risen significantly in just the last year.

So, what’s the secret to getting (and keeping) the attention of affluent customers long enough for them not to abandon their online shopping carts?

From paid ads to guest blog posts, we gathered some great tips on the subject from four digital experts willing to share their ideas.

How a Juggler is Shaping the Future of the Internet

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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."

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