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Epicor Aims to Ratchet Up Loyalty
January 27, 2014
Epicor Software has announced the general availability of Epicor Retail CRM 7.0. The updated platform reflects a complete shift to .Net and SQL reporting services and includes a number of new features in analytics, reporting and security As a whole, 7.0 "gives a more granular view to the retailer about a customer's behavior," said Sarah Barron, Epicor Retail product manager for CRM.
Subscriptions in the Enterprise
January 22, 2014
Curiously, subscriptions and platforms have grown up together, even though neither is yet a necessary or sufficient requisite of the other. ZipCar and its ilk don't have formal platforms and the idea is not relevant to their models. Wireless vendors all have homegrown platforms -- primarily to run their Byzantine pricing and billing models -- and that's still off center.
Let's Hear It for Metadata
December 16, 2013
It is a quirk of the data-information-knowledge continuum that data perceived by one person might be seen as information by another. The same goes for information and knowledge -- the frame of reference is important. You might even say it's all relative, and I don't think you'd be wrong. This conundrum is all brought into sharper relief by yet another slice of the range, and I don't mean Big Data.
Top of the Funnel
December 04, 2013
The new customer era accepts that the direct contact between a vendor and customer or potential customer is being augmented by non-human intermediaries like websites, software robots that triage customer issues, e-commerce systems, social media, and who knows what else. The good news is that customers leave data trails like ants leave trails of pheromones to a candy bar on a sidewalk.
The Class of '14
November 20, 2013
The story of this year's Dreamforce might best be told through the partner community and AppExchange, and that makes it a story about the platform. Appropriately enough, Salesforce teed up the platform topic in Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff's Tuesday keynote and the press conference immediately following it, where he announced Salesforce1.
3 Ways Corporate Culture can Crush CRM
November 08, 2013
CRM technology often gets blamed for the failure of customer initiatives -- and sometimes it's deserved. In many cases, though, the technology works exactly as advertised -- as far as technology can work. Still, CRM is a discipline, not a technology -- the technology merely helps business scale up the discipline. For that reason, the people and the processes around CRM are vital to its success.
Harvest Customer Intelligence Through Smart Surveying
November 07, 2013
Satisfaction surveys can be much more than a yardstick to measure customer opinion or an extra channel for customer support. The optimal survey presents an opportunity to uncover important insights about your business process and drive real improvements in the organization. Before you can start reaping the customer intelligence benefits that result, however, you have to lay the right groundwork.
Mobile CRM Design, Part 1: Different Devices, Different Rules
October 29, 2013
Most mobile app developers today have the basics of e-commerce design down pat. Increasingly, they are now thinking about the psychology of the user and how that should be factored into a mobile site or app's design. That's where testing becomes essential. "The features and functionalities of smartphones are inherently different from those on tablet devices," said Maxymiser's Daniel Toubian.
Hidden in Plain Sight: 3 CRM Analytics Pearls
October 25, 2013
CRM technology is all about collecting data -- which means it should go hand-in-hand with the trend toward analytics. Often, though, what is analyzed is not what's important. In CRM, many of the most compelling data are hiding in plain sight, but businesses are looking elsewhere. These hidden metrics can be accessed without expensive analytics tools in most cases, but they're overlooked.
Constant Contact Kicks It Up a Notch
October 14, 2013
Constant Contact has rolled out enhancements to its platform, beefing up functionality in its reporting tools, customer tracking and reporting, and mobility options, as well as in a library tool designed to make storing and using content easier for users. The upgrades are a culmination of a lot of effort to develop features that Constant Contact sees the market adopting.
Data and Its Derivatives
October 09, 2013
I took a trip in the Wayback machine last week when I attended DataWeek at the invitation of Dun & Bradstreet. As you might recall, D&B is a data company that collects copious amounts of information about individuals and firms and then sells it for use in filling out profiles for business purposes -- an oversimplification, but it will suffice. That data helps companies evaluate business risks.
The Dawning of the Predictive Business Era
October 07, 2013
A momentous shift in business strategy is taking place. Big Data, cloud computing and mobility, in tandem, are having an enormous impact on how businesses must act -- and react -- across their markets. The agility goal of real-time responses is no longer good enough. What's apparent across more business ecosystems is that businesses must extend their ability to react well into the future.
Big Data and the Customer Analytics Challenge
October 03, 2013
Big Data is changing the game around customer analytics, giving organizations the means to develop far better analytics about their customers than ever before. Numerous examples, in fact, illustrate how high-performing and cost-effective Big Data processing can shed a world of new insight on customers' wants and preferences.
Qualtrics Aims to Make Surveys Mobile-Friendlier
September 09, 2013
It's a fact of life in market research that the success of any survey will depend at least in part on its accessibility to the intended respondents. Toward that end, Qualtrics has released Qualtrics Mobile, a new app designed to help reach respondents on the go. Qualtrics Mobile works alongside the company's existing marketing survey Software as a Service application.
Which Tools Do You Use?
July 29, 2013
Let me share some information with you from a new marketing study I did this summer. First, the data: We asked marketers if they used CRM, marketing automation and business intelligence to process marketing data. The big dog was CRM, with a 54 percent share. Next came marketing automation with a full third, and last was BI with 22 percent. So far, so good.
Adobe Puts Marketers Into More Social Situations
July 19, 2013
Adobe has pushed further into marketing automation with the launch of Adobe Social, an application that expands the company's integrations with social networking sites and pretty much gives users a 360-degree view of their customers. Integrated with Flickr, Foursquare, Instagram and LinkedIn, Social will, in essence, enable real-time monitoring across thousands of social networks.
Ask Customers (Online) and Ye Could Receive
July 11, 2013
If ever there was a case for conducting online customer surveys, Adam Lasky, global social media coordinator at Spreadshirt, has lived it. "A week after a customer makes a purchase on the Spreadshirt platform, we follow up with a customer review survey," Lasky said. That's how the company learned that its customers usually had clear expectations about shipping times.
Data, Information and Knowledge
July 10, 2013
I still see far too many examples of content confusing the ideas of data and information. Sometimes it seems a writer is simply trying to avoid redundancy when using data and information in the same sentence to mean the same thing. Of course, they are different, and the result is unnecessary confusion. I just wrote a paper on the topic, and I learned more about it than is healthy for one person.
Federal Trade Commissioner Tilts at Big Data Windmill
June 27, 2013
A U.S. Federal Trade Commissioner is urging consumers to take more control over their data. The call to action comes as revelations that the NSA is spying on Americans to an unprecedented degree continue to shake the country. Unease has been mounting over the amount of data companies are handing over to the agency. Commissioner Julie Brill has proposed a new program, dubbed "Reclaim Your Name."
Old Possum's Book of Practical Big Data
June 19, 2013
OK, the title's a cheap riff on the T.S. Elliot book of poems that inspired Cats -- but stay with me, this goes places. A big group of cats is called a "clowder." What if we could access a clowder of big data? Big Data has been taking up a big part of my conscious life lately, what with all the analytics vendors out there and so many companies trying to figure it all out.

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