Staying focused on the customer is something that’s easy to say, but more challenging to put into practice. While there are a plethora of new technologies, there are also a lot of challenges and distractions out there. The goal is to be customer-centric. After all, if you don’t find ways to woo your customers then your bottom line will suffer.

A Sample of Popular Posts

That means marketing, but how should it look? There’s a thin line between effective marketing and overwhelming clients or customers - a theme of many articles about this topic in 2015.

1) Dean Kamen is best known for inventing the Segway, which hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations but nonetheless made him wealthy. He sat down with Bill Sobel to share his insights for, Segway Inventor Dean Kamen: Science Isn't a Spectator Sport. Tweet to Bill Sobel.

Said Kamen: “I’m somebody who’s absorbed by my work. And, again, I think some people misunderstand that and think that’s a problem, or I that I don’t get a chance to have fun. To me, life is a blur of my activities. As my father taught me, it’s only a job if you’d rather be doing something else.”

2) The digital marketing space is crowded. Noreen Seebacher uncovered a Gartner study that took a deeper look at a wide range of leaders in Discussion Point: Who Has the Best Digital Marketing Hub? Tweet to Noreen Seebacher.

But this is an evolving technology, and Gartner expects the eventual convergence of ad tech, marketing tech and customer relationship management. So if you look past the three leaders as well as the two challengers — IBM and Marketo — things start to get a little more interesting.

3) DAM systems are trying to get better by reminangining the User Interface. Jeff Lawrence dug into this in A Sneak Peek at DAM's Roadmap for 2015 and Beyond. Tweet to Jeff Lawrence.

Vendors are working hard to improve the usability of their DAM systems by reimagining the User Interface (UI). This will make it quicker and easier for users to find and repurpose assets. They are looking for innovative ways to provide easier access to assets with better control and tracking. Both these concepts are intended to help their client improve the user experience and provide a higher return on investment (ROI).

4) Customer service feels far more authentic when it isn’t forced. Kelly Koelliker offers The 3C’s of Personalized Customer service. Tweet to Kelly Koelliker.

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.

5) It’s easy to avoid metadata, but you do so at your own peril. That’s the take of John Horodyski in Managing Content? Start with Metadata. Tweet to John Horodyski.

Building a DAM or CMS without a metadata plan is akin to throwing papers in an unmarked box. The systematic organization that metadata provides increases the return on investment of a content system by unlocking the potential to ingest, discover, share and distribute assets.

6) Gartner granted Salesforce with a crown of visionary leadership in one of its regular pieces of research. Dom Nicastro explored this in Who Leads in Multichannel Campaign Management? Tweet to Dom Nicastro.

To get into the door for this Gartner MQ, vendors must have at least three of the following six capabilities: predictive analytics, campaign optimization, multidimensional segmentation, event triggering, real time recommendations or multichannel lead management.

7) SEO is on the way out, so says Ryan Lunka. He explored this topic in The Future of SEO is Note SEO. Tweet to Ryan Lunka.

While that strategy [search engine optimization] was relevant for its time (and still mostly is), it’s not what Google ever intended. And it’s not what the future of the Internet holds.

8) Office 2016 has received a lot of praise for its software prowess. But the customer experience is another story, as Scott M. Fulton found in Microsoft Gets CX Wrong in Office 2016 Setup. Tweet to Scott M. Fulton.

Based on my own experience, the long awaited update to the company's productivity suite gets customer experience wrong. Although CEO Satya Nadella called the new release innovative and described it as “a big step forward in transforming Office,” the principal differences between the installed-on-disk versions of Office 2013 and 2016 are cosmetic.

9) Google brought out a new product during Advertising Week that made Erika Morphy say, Woo Hoo: Google Makes Email Cool Again. Tweet to Erika Morphy.

Email is the driver behind one of the new tools Google unveiled for Advertising Week, which runs through Friday in New York City. The new product is called Customer Match. Using it, a company can target customers on a trifecta of important channels — Google Search, YouTube and Gmail.

10) Customer Relationship Management is following you home. Frank Palermo found that out with A New Frontier for CRM: The Internet of Things. Tweet to Frank Palermo.

Gartner predicts “CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years as enterprises look to create more targeted interactions in a multichannel environment.” The research firm has now added IoT as the fifth dimension of its Nexus of Forces.

11) Nothing’s worse than someone who hits “reply all.” But it took a crazy turn in a message sent to editor Noreen Seebacher, as she relayed the tale in So a PR Guy Cc'd 468 People on a Product Pitch. Tweet to Noreen Seebacher.

Few things are worse than forced conversation. But real conversation is a whole other thing — and yesterday I stumbled on the secret to generating it. Just make that most basic of all email blunders and hit "copy" instead of "blind copy" when you paste in the names of everyone on your mailing list. That'll bring people together faster than a pitcher of beer — or word that it's sample day at Costco. It helps if your list contains the names of reporters, editors, publishers, bloggers and other assorted curmudgeons and misfits. But any list will do.

12) It seems like everyday there’s another story about how to win over millennials. Enough. Noreen Seebacher shared why this is mostly nonsense in OMG Marketers: Enough Already with Millennials.Tweet to Noreen Seebacher.

Learning Opportunities

Could everyone please shut up about millennials? They're not exotic creatures from the lost continent of Atlantis, for the love of money mobile wallets. They're just young adults. In spite of ongoing efforts to lionize them, they're not much different from you and me when we were the same age. They want cool jobs, big paychecks, time to party, opportunities to play as hard as they work. Big deal. Who didn’t?

13) Do you feel like your digital strategy isn’t cutting it? Then check out what Lori Alcala uncovered with This is Why Your Digital Strategy Isn’t Working. Tweet to Lori Alcala.

If organizations expect their digital strategy to make a positive impact on the customer experience, their IT and business people had better begin talking. This is the overall finding from Forrester’s new study around how effective digital strategy really is on customer experience initiatives.

14) Human interaction still matters. Sid Banerjee described this as The Year Emotional Intelligence Meets Customer Experience.

Despite the fact that we are in an age where everything seems to be computerized and automated, this is the year that businesses will start to feel more human. Customers will feel more and more like businesses are listening to their individual wants and needs.

15) We like to think that technology makes everything better, including marketing. Not so fast, says Mayur Gupta in The Marketing Technology Explosion: A Blessing or a Curse? Tweet to Mayur Gupta.

However, my approach and these landscape views are missing a fundamental element — an essential component of the entire ecosystem and an entity that is supposedly at the center of today’s marketing universe. I am talking about the human, the person, the consumer.

16) Getting the maximum utility out of your email marketing strategy is an ongoing shell game.  Dom Nicastro spoke with three different providers to try and determine What Works, What Doesn't in Email Marketing. Tweet to Dom Nicastro.

One claims traditional email service providers (ESPs) aren't cutting it for marketers. Another claims it knows who the 20 most popular ESPs are. And the other believes it's cracked the code where email marketing best works.

17) There’s a lot of debate about how much of a buyer’s journey is uncovered before the first sales contact. Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer tackled this topic in Build Audiences, Not Visitors. Tweet to Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer.

So why do most brands wait until after buyers raise their hands to optimize content for their needs and wants? Whether they use a marketing automation solution or other solution to personalize the experience -- most brands still treat visitors as just that -- unengaged “browsers” who will hopefully find content that resonate with them.

18) How does digital marketing stay fluid and avoid getting stale? Robert Mattson dove into this topic with 5 Requirements of Agile Digital Marketing. Tweet to Robert Mattson.

Everyone wants to be agile these days. Whether it's a bunch of senior execs in a boardroom, or a group of super software gurus in an “idea space” full of Nerf balls, or anyone in between. Things just move too fast and we need to adjust on the fly. So how does marketing get agile? While everyone’s situation is different, there are some common, nearly universal tenets.

19) We’re swimming in data about potential customers. Kay Kianast found some strategies for making sense of it all with Revenue Marketing: Creating Sales and Marketing Alignment. Tweet to Kay Kianast.

The art of contacting and connecting with customers and prospects has become infinitely more sophisticated and effective through the buyer’s journey. We can thank advances in marketing automation, big data, predictive and behavioral analytics for this new level of sophistication. Now both marketing and sales departments are responsible for driving revenue, margins and retaining customers.

20) Marketing teams need to have their tech game ready. Paul Sebastien discussed Five Technology Skills Every Marketer Needs Today. Tweet to Paul Sebastien.

The 21st century marketing landscape requires a whole new way of thinking about interacting with customers, adapting to technologies and translating insights into a return on investment for the entire organization. How can marketing professionals supplement their existing skill sets and get up to speed quickly and dynamically?

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