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Web Experience/Engagement Management (WEM) Articles

How to Blog - and Why You Should

What's the best way to reach consumers with marketing messages? An e-book from content marketer Uberflip has a one word answer: blogs. 

The e-book, "Blogging in the Age of Modern Marketing," states that blogs are "a proven, cost effective marketing channel for driving leads and generating customers – if done well."

Of course, "if done well" is the rub. It sometimes seems there are as many blogs out there as stars in the sky -- and they often seem as similar to each other.

Reading a blog is an investment of time by the user, and it's not easy to make it worth the effort. Uberflip points to the various reasons brands should attempt to establish a presence in the blogosphere – building brand awareness, supporting search engine optimization, thought leadership that makes your brand more visible and qualified leads.

Measuring Business Communities: Are We Doing It Wrong?

2014-18-June-Sandbar-Shark.jpg“What gets measured gets done” -- we've all heard the saying. And business communities are no exception. But how do you measure something that you don’t understand – or understand something that you can’t measure?

It's unfortunately still the case that most companies don't understand community, judging by job postings on job boards and attempts to measure its ROI.

But it’s not their fault. Because community is not a discreet set of activities but rather, a foundational communication platform. Calculating the ROI of community is a bit like calculating ROI of email – as difficult as it is pointless. And yet understanding the business impact of communities is critical to being taken seriously by company executives.

Brick-and-Mortar 'Cloud Store' isn't What it Seems #AmazonEvent

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It could be a coincidence, but then again, maybe not. Either way, it seems all but certain that Amazon will finally unveil its very own smartphone later today at a launch event in Seattle.

And that could have a great deal to do with the “day-long boot camps,” “classes” and tutorials that Amazon is conducting “free of charge” in its brick-and-mortar pop-up cloud store in San Francisco.

Reports indicate the new “device,” which was probably developed in Amazon’s Silicon Valley-based hardware Lab126, will be different than the iPhone and the Android devices we use today because it will have a 3-D, Google glass-type interface.

Chances are good that even the most experienced smart phone app developers might benefit from one-on-one tutorials (like you get at the Genius Bar at Apple) or need some related training to make the most of the new device’s capabilities.

After all, in order for a new smartphone to make a dent in today’s market, its apps and services have to be incredible. And it seems that at least some of those built for Amazon’s forthcoming device already may be.

This Tiny Restaurant Knows More than You About Customer Experience

Thumbnail image for 2014-18-june-Joe's-HomemadeIf you want to learn about customer experience, forget the next overhyped, overcrowded, tech-focused conference. Just eat at Joe's in Savannah, Ga.

Joe's Homemade Café, Catering and Bakery is the best of 750 restaurants in Savannah, at least according to TripAdvisor, a travel site that offers "trusted advice from real travelers." The 510-square foot gem of a restaurant is known for its sandwiches, salads, desserts and exceptionally warm and friendly service.

And while the food is delicious, it begs a customer to ask a question: "How did this tiny space with eight employees in a city of landmarked, exotic restaurants win the hearts of more travelers than any other?"

Don Holland, shown left, who co-owns the business with Ted Paskevich, shown right, doesn't have to think long when asked. "We believe that a strong commitment and delivery of quality food and exceptional service makes us appreciated by our customers," he said.

Oh, and one other thing. "We're big believers in social media."

ChannelAdvisor Helps Drive E-Commerce

ChannelAdvisor claims it "empowers retailers to sell more." Founded in 2001, the company is a provider of cloud-based solutions deployed by retailers and manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimize their merchandise sales across various online channels. 

In early May, ChannelAdvisor delivered strong results for the first quarter, with revenue up nearly 30 percent — including core revenue growth of 32 percent, the fastest organic growth in seven years — and record bookings. But investors weren’t impressed: the stock fell as much as 25 percent over the three sessions following the report.

Organizations use the ChannelAdvisor platform to do everything from manage their product listings and check inventory availability to optimize price changes and select the best search terms across multiple comparison-shopping sites, e-commerce marketplaces and search engines.

The company supports roughly 150 shopping engines, 35 marketplaces worldwide and all of the major search engines.

According to CEO and cofounder Scot Wingo, customers usually come to ChannelAdvisor with an acute need to solve a specific pain point across their e-commerce businesses. They almost always want to automate and expand online, then optimize return on investment across the various channels. 

E-commerce is growing. Is ChannelAdvisor poised to capitalize on it?

Better Get Social If You Market Content to Millennials

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It's official – social media has overtaken email as the mechanism for sharing content among millennials. That's the word in a new survey from SDL, a provider of content management, analytics, social intelligence and translation.

The global survey, "Content Finds the Customer," is the third in a series from SDL called "Five Truths for Marketers." It found that six pieces of content are now being shared through social media to every five pieces shared through email.

It is yet another piece of evidence that marketers should emphasize social when targeting content at millennials. Social networks are also now the dominant means of content discovery for that age group — over customizable newsfeeds, email and search engines.

Salesforce Promises 'Amazing' Customer Service with Desk.com

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Using customer service platform Desk.com is like being adopted into a large family. The adopters happen to be Salesforce.com.

Salesforce has updated its acquired platform with a new intelligent agent console and a mobile app and reporting engine among other enhancements for all-in-one automated customer service. 

"The No. 1 wow factor is that we can grow with you," said Leyla Seka, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce Desk.com. "You can start on Desk.com and grow any which way you want to grow."

Seka described Desk.com as "awesome" and "amazing."

And then there's this -- a lot of point solutions, Seka added, do not have the speed and power of Salesforce behind it.

Amazon Opens a Brick-and-Mortar Cloud Store

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Retailers along San Francisco's Market Street have struggled to make a buck over the past decade, in large part because of competition from online stores like Amazon.com. So it isn't without irony that Amazon Web Services opened a brick-and-mortar pop-up store in their midst.

At first, the 30-foot wide, three-story high storefront looks empty compared to the carefully decorated windows and sales banners in neighboring stores. Then you spot the burly bouncer guarding the door, suggesting that something private is going on behind the whited-out windows. Finally, you see the modest lettering for Amazon Web Services somewhat above eye level. And still, you wonder, what is this?

This is a month-long experiment for AWS that blends one part Apple Genius Bar, two parts hip startup and a smidge of trade show marketing to produce a coffee-scented, loft-like environment where Amazon's cloud clients can ask for some free advice, attend events, get some training or, perhaps, just wash down a handful of M&Ms with a complimentary cappuccino. Day-long boot camps, normally $600, are free, like everything else here.

Are Best-Of-Breed Customer Experiences Really Best?

2014-6-17 e-spirit.jpgAt the end of May, e-Spirit upgraded its web CMS offering to make it easier for content creators to provide personalized content. It followed hot on the heels of the v5.1 release which aimed to significantly boost companies online time to market and improve the overall customer experience.

Both announcements form part of a wider strategy to offer users a best-of-breed web CMS. E-Spirit has from the start pursued the best-of-breed approach as opposed to creating an enterprise suite. But why best-of-breed?

We asked Oliver Jaeger, vice president for global marketing and communications at e-Spirit why his company has consistently taken this approach and where this strategy will take the company in the future.

Why Digital Marketers Need Couples Therapy

2014-17-June-Ari-Brandt-MediaBrix.jpgDigital marketers sound like they've been going to couples counseling lately. 

They want emotional connections, a new survey finds. Emotional connections to digital media. And emotional connections between their marketing and their users. 

Cue the sappy Richard Marx tune, please. 

Millward Brown Digital, which polled 300 digital marketing decision makers at Fortune 5000 companies and US advertising agencies, found that 88 percent of digital marketers would increase ad spend for digital branding if they could make emotional connections with users.

It also found that 81 percent indicated that targeting users based on their emotions, or emotional targeting, would help address the issue of "banner blindness," when users surf past banner ads without acknowledgment.

Millward Brown Digital surveyed digital marketers 25 years and older in April.

Marketers: Embrace the Extended Customer Lifecycle

2014-17-June-Capilano-Suspension-Bridge.jpgIn the past, marketers had the job of using a handful of channels to create brand awareness and offers to engage customers on a broad level until a sales team could come in and take control of individual accounts, or until a customer visited a local store. Sales teams or store employees were then responsible for delivering a personalized experience and for building the relationship.

Not any more.

Jahia Extends Web CMS Platform with Portal Factory

Open source content management system (CMS) vendor Jahia has released four new products off the Jahia 7 platform that debuted in April.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based provider released today Portal Factory, its new enterprise portal solution. 

SDL's Paige O'Neill: Customer Experience Getting Cheaper

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If you've been paying attention to the customer experience management arena over the past two years -- and what marketer hasn't -- you've probably noticed the tools have grown far more sophisticated and far less expensive.

That helps to explain why 750 marketing practitioners signed up for SDL's Innovate conference in San Francisco, where CMO Paige O'Neill hosted three days of activities around CXM from training sessions and keynotes to consultations and, of course, parties.

O'Neill has been at SDL for only about eight months, joining the UK-based company after a 3.5-year stint as vice president for marketing at Aprimo before its acquisition by Teradata. Before that, she was vice president for marketing at Aravo.

NextPrinciples: Bringing Context to Marketing Automation

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Marketing automation has its advantages, not the first of which is automating marketing channels and making things easier on marketers.

Satya Krishnaswamy gets it. But the CEO of NextPrinciples and former SAP vice president hears from marketers who say you miss context in automated marketing workflows.

Enter his company, which boosts marketing automation with its technology that generates better-qualified new leads and deeper insights into existing leads and customers. Its newest solution, an automated platform for social media marketing released this month, marries social media, marketing automation, demand gen and CRM.

Shaping the Future of Customer Responsive Marketing Automation

2014-16-June-Cast-Net.jpgMarketing automation (MA) has shown that it can be a smart tool -- when done right -- for shepherding and converting leads and automating marketing processes. As MA technologies have become more sophisticated, its near future role has evolved to deliver customer-responsive interactions on any channel. If this evolution continues, the name "marketing automation" will become inadequate to describe what can be accomplished when these technologies are combined with customer-focused processes, practices and strategies.

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