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Web Experience/Engagement Management (WEM) Articles

A Slimmer SDL Takes on the CXM Gorillas

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Sometimes less is more, as SDL claimed yesterday when it chopped its customer experience (CX) suite down to four parts from seven while boasting it now has the only global-ready CX suite.

SDL's Customer Experience Cloud V2.0 consists of Digital Experience, Knowledge Center, Customer Analytics and Language.

The strategy, which was first reported by CMS Wire in mid-November, plays off SDL's products in language to distinguish the US- and UK-based firm from bigger competitors on both sides of the Atlantic.

Told You So: Ektron is Merging with EPiServer

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Accel-KKR, the private equity firm that closed 2014 by buying Stockholm-based EPiServer and Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron, today confirmed what CMSWire reported more than seven weeks ago.

It's combining the two web content management systems (CMS) under the EPiServer name to "create the most complete digital experience platform in the cloud."

The news came at the exact time winter storm Juno was pummeling Ektron's New England headquarters — an irony not lost on former employee Fred Bals. Bals, who left Ektron in November after five years as manager of its customer advocacy and media relations programs, said simply, "One natural disaster deserves another."

But not everyone was as pessimistic. Ed Rogers, who joined Ektron shortly after his brother Bill founded the company in 1998, said it was potentially positive news. Rogers, who was fired in 2011 and went on to launch Akumina, told CMSWire, "New leadership signals a cultural change. I'm hopeful the new team will put the customer first, something that should be good for Ektron clients."

Fred Seibert: Ignore Anyone Who Calls Your Idea Crazy

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Fred Seibert likes to say that he's lived three FIVE lives … so far, anyway. He's been a cable TV pioneer, an ad agency owner, a TV and feature film cartoon producer, and, most recently, an Internet network executive. Oh, wait. We forgot "Jazz Cat" — a title he earned in the 1970s as the founder and head of Oblivion Records, a blues and jazz label.

In short, Seibert defines the title serial media entrepreneur. He was the first creative director of MTV, joining the parent company (then called Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment Company) in May 1980. And he was the last president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons.

One of his companies, Frederator Networks, is a leading independent online media start-up and cartoon production company. Another, Frederator Books, makes digital books for kids.

He's also the founder of multiple companies, including Channel Frederator, one of the first online animation networks, Next New Networks (acquired by YouTube) and Cartoon Hangover, the home of Bravest Warriors and Bee & PuppyCat (the largest animation Kickstarter in history). He's on the board of directors of Sawhorse Media and was the first investor in Tumblr.

But there is much more to Fred Seibert.

Turn Touch Points into Trust Points

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The bar gets raised in the retail world every year. Research from Statista indicates that retail e-commerce sales figures in the United States during the 2014 holiday shopping season reached $53.3 billion -- that’s billion with a capital B.

It used to be enough to sell good products, maybe have a website that describes them and a good customer service center. But these days, you don’t really succeed unless you do all that plus reach people on a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets, and get them to sing your praises on a slew of social media sites.

Insite Software: Data Analysis for 'People with Day Jobs'

Insite Software is releasing technology today that's designed for executives too busy to bury themselves in e-commerce data.

InsiteAnalytics will help the busy executives deliver key insights through big-picture strategic trends and more transactional micro analysis, said Phil Schrader, product manager of data commerce for Minneapolis, Minn.-based Insite Software. 

"InsiteAnalytics produces what we call 'data insights for people with day jobs,' eliminating the pain and complexity of data analysis and enabling organizations to quickly and easily actualize the value of their data," he continued. 

Pair Writing: A Revolution in Content Creation

There is an accepted wisdom that content creation must be a solitary activity if you want quality and creativity. But this is a consequence of the content tools (pens, typewriters) that have been available. As collaborative, network-oriented content tools emerge, we will see a lot more collaboratively created content. 

Will Microsoft HoloLens Change the Future of Virtual Reality?

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The concept of virtual reality (VR) has been fueling imaginations for decades — at least as far back as 1956 when an American filmmaker turned inventor named Morton Heilig began designing multisensory virtual experiences.

But even the most promising applications of VR to date have had limited commercial success — raising doubts about the real world potential for computer-simulated environments that replicate a presence in real or imagined worlds.

Personalization, Good. Silos, Bad - Tweet Jam Redux #cxmchat

If you're looking for the Cliff's Notes version of this week's Content and Commerce Tweet Jam, the title has it -- personalization good, silos bad.

But the panelists covered a lot more ground in the hour-long discussion of what it takes to stand above the crowd in the world of online commerce. Does your e-commerce experience make the cut? 

When Content Plays Support to E-Commerce's Lead

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Content has always been the primary focus of whatever setting and way it is to be used: novels are serial, broken only by chapters; non-fiction works are segmented by subject and accompanied by footnotes and references; work instructions are divided by processes, tasks and steps with references to parts, materials and commodities needed, and so on.

The content designer and creator always knew going in the role for the content being created. People --whatever their role -- have always been required to use the content as presented in order keep their job, succeed at their project or enjoy the story.

While it's true that some settings require content that can be used for multiple roles, this level of complexity is still confined to specific industries and settings.

With the rise of e-Commerce, everything has changed.

The 3 C's of Personalized Customer Service

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Customer service is a key differentiator for many companies. But as the number of communication channels and devices increases, so do the challenges of delivering personalized service across those channels.

A unified view of the customer is needed for omnichannel customer service -- something that can't be achieved with siloed systems and disconnected information. Channels can't merely coexist, but must inform one another to provide the needed context that makes each customer experience better and more personal. To succeed at customer engagement you must meet three fundamental requirements: being consistent, complete and contextual.

News Bites: MartMobi, OpenText, @AnalyticsWeek, More

The latest in synonyms, agreements, AKAs, designs and choices from Deutschland, the Hub of the Universe, the Beehive State, El Dorado State and the ‘Loo.'

Mark Cuban: I Don't Take Risks But I Sure Can Dance

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I've considered Mark Cuban a friend since September 1997, when I flew from New York to New Orleans to attend a broadcast news industry conference. At the event — the Radio Television News Directors Association convention — I came across a exhibitor then known as AudioNet.

Founded two years earlier by Cuban and attorney Todd Wagner, it was carving out a niche as the leading aggregator and broadcaster of streaming media programming on the web. I was intrigued by the idea of being able to listen to worldwide radio stations on the Internet so I struck up a conversation.

Two guys at the booth named Mark and Todd explained the concept — and I was hooked. So I made it a point to stay in touch. But the story was far from over.

Leveling the E-Commerce Playing Field

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Brick-and-mortar stores have an advantage over e-tailers when it comes to keeping customers engaged --it’s much harder for prospects to walk away from a face-to-face interaction than to click away from a website. In-store customers also go to greater lengths to shop there than online browsers, so they’re likely to be more receptive to immediate sales messages. E-commerce is clearly on the rise with growth estimates of 13.9 percent from Nov. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

Companies Plagued by Mobile Marketing Mediocrity, Altimeter Finds

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Hold the (cell) phone.

Despite all the talk about the importance of mobile, the ubiquity of mobile devices and the merits of optimizing mobile experiences, most companies and brands are still failing to capitalize on mobile technologies — and losing the potential to benefit from what is arguably one of the greatest opportunities for customer experience innovation.

That's the surprising conclusion of research being released today by San Mateo, Calif.-based Altimeter Group, a research firm dedicated to helping companies understand and act on technology disruption.

In a report entitled "The Inevitability of a Mobile-Only Customer Experience" (registration required), co-authors Brian Solis and Jaimy Szymanski warn that many companies and brands are still underestimating and underinvesting in mobile.

What's more, they conclude, clearly defined and unified mobile strategies remain largely elusive to most executives and strategists, who tend to view mobile as the latest “bright, shiny object" rather than both a means and an end to incredibly improved customer experiences.

It’s a recipe for disaster, they argue — and an imperative for companies and brands to address right now if they want to remain relevant, competitive and continue to survive.

After Acquisition and Investments, Datanyze Poised for Growth

Silicon Valley startup Datanyze acquired its first competitor last month and updated its sales intelligence platform this week in moves that company officials claim will aid its growth this year.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based startup, launched in 2012 with one employee, has plans to nearly triple its workforce of 18 this year.

The projection comes on the heels of the company's acquisition of competitor LeadLedger in December and this week's announcement of Datanyze Insider, which provides sales reps company officials said with up-to-date information on prospects during each step of the lead-generation process.

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