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Apple vs. Microsoft Marketing: Spark vs. Spork
June 09, 2014
During Apple's WWDC keynote event last week, it became exceedingly clear that we won't be seeing a converged iPad/MacBook device anytime soon. Unlike Microsoft, with its Surface Pro 3 effort, Apple doesn't seem at all interested in forcing iOS and OS X into a single unified operating system. In fact, Apple doesn't seem to be interested in making OS X touch-based or touch-enabled.
Cloud Providers Profit by Serving Nonprofits
June 06, 2014
One of the sure signs of a maturing company, or even an entire industry, is the ability to offer free services to nonprofit organizations in order to demonstrate benevolence. However, such charitable acts aren't just about being altruistic. As a growing number of cloud providers are discovering, there are plenty of new revenue and profit opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
Subscription Economy Gold: Retention
June 05, 2014
The idea of the subscription economy is not new -- at least not to anyone who's familiar with the idea of software as a service -- but it's an idea that can sneak up on businesses. Many in the SaaS space started as more traditional vendors that saw subscriptions as simply a different delivery mechanism and a way to reach customers who couldn't afford massive upfront cash layouts.
SAP Seeds the Cloud With Industry-Specific CRM Applications
June 02, 2014
SAP has updated its cloud-based CRM portfolio with the rollout of three industry-specific applications. These applications, designed for the insurance, utilities and retail sectors, are the first cloud-based verticals for CRM, aside from a broader-based application with functionality tailored for consumer goods. In addition, SAP has introduced a cloud-based marketing performance dashboard.
Pinterest Tacks On New Marketing Tool
May 22, 2014
Pinterest on Tuesday revealed that it was rolling out an analytics tool for marketers designed to offer them more information on which content does well. The new Business Insights API lets businesses track which of their boards, pins and products are attracting the most engaged users, as well as which ones aren't garnering clicks. Devs also will be able to use the API to track user activity.
The Apple-ization of Microsoft's New Surface
May 22, 2014
Microsoft is positioning its new Surface Pro 3 tablet as a laptop replacement device -- instead of competing head-to-head with the Apple iPad. However, the Surface Pro 3 naturally invites comparisons to both the MacBook Air and the iPad Air. Plus, Microsoft has had plenty of time to smooth the rough edges from Windows 8 and build a more competitive mobile device.
Can Ivy Ross Make Google Glass Haute Couture?
May 16, 2014
Google Glass, whose appeal so far seems limited to uber-geeks, may be taking on a new image, thanks to Google's hiring of Ivy Ross, known for her work at Calvin Klein, Coach, Gap and, most recently, Art.com, where she was CMO. Ross will assume her new post as head of Google Glass May 19. "I look forward to answering the seemingly simple, but truly audacious questions Glass poses," she wrote.
Nintendo's Plan B
May 12, 2014
Aiming in part to counteract losses sustained on its Wii U gaming device, Nintendo reportedly is setting its sights on emerging markets and planning a brand-new console and games with those markets in mind. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata last week cited higher entertainment budgets among many emerging nations' middle-class consumers as part of his company's rationale for looking farther afield.
Facebook Seeks Better Fit With Small Biz
May 07, 2014
Small businesses have been an elusive market for sellers of online advertising. That's because the value proposition of those ads is a tough sell. Facebook hopes to reduce some of the resistance in the small business community to advertising online with a series of summer boot camps, dubbed "Facebook Fit," that combine business advice with a soft sell for Net marketing.
Mobile Apps, Beacons and the Coming Retail Revival
May 07, 2014
Internet companies are showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to innovation, specifically in the area of physical retail. Smartphones and tablets are the new darlings of e-commerce companies, and they now are being used to provide immersive and entertaining shopping experiences. Many of the characteristics of online retail shopping are being replicated in the physical shopping aisle.
Mobile CRM May Widen the Big Data/Privacy Divide
May 06, 2014
The White House last week added to the ongoing national discussion about online privacy and tracking with the release of a review counselor John Podesta conducted on Big Data and privacy issues. Among other things, privacy advocates hope the findings will spotlight the role of mobile in the gathering of consumer data by companies. Mobile technologies have a particularly voracious appetite.
Partner Selling
April 30, 2014
If there's one thing that vendors and channel partners agree on, it's selling. Everyone agrees that more selling is better, but the discussion can diverge greatly from there. Vendors and their partners are not immune to the virus that affects direct sales people. We often hear direct sales people say their leads are no good and we hear marketing say that sales doesn't follow up. Sound familiar?
Marketing Automation's Next Gig
April 24, 2014
If you aren't sold on marketing automation yet, there's another reason to consider it before you end up down two touchdowns with three minutes to play. We usually think of marketing in its traditional role of new customer outreach, which is good but no longer enough. Keep in mind that in today's zero-sum markets, your competition has not stopped marketing to your customers, so why should you?
Marketo's Show
April 16, 2014
Marketo put on an interesting show last week at Moscone West in San Francisco. Still basking in last year's IPO, the company attracted a large and diverse audience of marketers who wanted to learn about modern marketing automation, and it was a good opportunity to take stock of where marketing has been and where it is going. The impression I got was that modern marketing is in its early phase.
Google Clarifies Gmail Snooping in Updated ToS
April 16, 2014
Google this week updated its terms of service with new language that more clearly spells out how it scans and analyzes user content, such as emails, to match it with targeted ads. "Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection," it says.
Don't Overlook the Mobile Searcher
April 15, 2014
The mobile browser is not dead, exactly, but if it were an animal it might be on the endangered species list. Mobile users are spending more time using mobile apps and less and less time surfing the Web from their mobile devices, based on recent statistics from Flurry. Apps took up 86 percent of the average U.S. mobile consumer's time online, or 2 hours and 19 minutes per day, the firm reported.
SugarCRM Refines Customer Analytics for Sales
April 14, 2014
When SugarCRM debuts version 7.2 in the coming weeks, users already will have had a taste of one of its main themes: tighter integration around productivity tools aimed at better understanding a customer base. That is because SugarCRM has previewed two such integrations over the past month -- one with Marketo and one with Dun & Bradstreet -- both designed to improve the user experience.
T-Mobile Ditches 'Greedy, Predatory' Overage Fees
April 14, 2014
T-Mobile has decided to end overage fees for its mobile customers. The company is abolishing overage charges for customers on every consumer plan, and its chief executive, John Legere, has laid down the gauntlet to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to kill off such charges as well. Twenty million Americans saw punitive overage charges on their bills in 2013.
Smartphone Tracking: How Close Is Too Close?
April 04, 2014
There you are, strolling down the coffee and tea aisle at the supermarket when you get an alert on your smartphone that you can get extra points in the store's reward program if you purchase a certain brand of coffee. Are you annoyed that you have been tracked with such precision that the merchant knows not only that you are in the store -- but also which food aisle you are in?
3 Ways to Source Ideas From Your Customers
April 03, 2014
The era of inbound marketing is upon us, but a great many businesses are fearful of it. Having worked as a magazine editor and a content marketer, I find the conversations very familiar: People who haven't written or who hate to write often fall back on the excuse, "I don't know what to write." A variation on that theme is people saying they don't know what their content should be about.
BlackBerry's Coca-Cola Moment
April 03, 2014
BlackBerry CEO John Chen is trying to turn the company's fortunes around, and something it has in common with Coca-Cola could help. This is something very important, if BlackBerry realizes it. It's something that if done correctly could help the company succeed once again. I have followed BlackBerry for many years, watching its ups and predicting its downs. I believe it can recover.
The Minimalist Guide to Inbound Marketing
March 31, 2014
Inbound marketing is an essential part of an online brand promotion strategy. It lets you target your audience directly and draw them in. Inbound marketing is the process of getting customers to come to your store before you try to sell them anything. Inbound marketing for e-commerce is no different. Give customers a reason to come to your site, and they're likely to return when ready to buy.

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