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Marketers: Going Global Means Going Mobile
February 27, 2014
U.S. companies can be forgiven, perhaps, for their near-sighted view of global markets. North America and the more exotic European markets are enough for most companies, short of those with multinational aspirations, seeking foreign-based revenues. For those that do want to access markets in, say, Kenya or India, there are numerous barriers in their way.
The Travel Battle Rages On: May the Most Relevant Brand Win
February 25, 2014
The travel industry will increase 41 percent by 2016, making it worth $143 billion. With that much revenue on the line, booking sites are taking significant steps to ensure that they get their piece of the traveler pie. Brands no longer can offer experiences that are irrelevant to the end-user. Travel has become a user-centric industry, and the brand that serves up the most relevant content wins.
Clarus Offers Etailers a Prime-ish Loyalty Platform
February 24, 2014
If you were to administer truth serum and ask a retailer how it really felt about Amazon Prime, chances are the response would be that it's pure genius -- or pure evil genius, perhaps. Why? Because Amazon Prime encourages shoppers to come back and back again to browse and buy, and it's all based on an incentive that online consumers hold very dear: free shipping.
Transition State
February 20, 2014
The CRM market appears to be experiencing a transition state -- something betwixt and between, a time of high energy and great possibility, above all a time of change. A ball bouncing around a spinning roulette wheel is in a transition state; chemical reactions go through transition states as reactants become products. The key concept is indeterminacy.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
iBeacon: It's Time for Mobile Marketers to See the Light
February 13, 2014
Never mind the Seattle Seahawks completely smoking the Broncos -- Super Bowl XLVIII may go down in history as the turning point for iBeacon. Apple's iBeacon is an indoor positioning system based on Bluetooth Low Energy technology. Its proximity-detection capabilities enable it to send relevant information -- including, most enticingly, targeted ads -- to a mobile device.
Completeness Is the New Black
February 12, 2014
Are we collecting enough data? It seems like a weird question given the glut of it at most companies, and perhaps it is. Perhaps a better question is, are we collecting the right data? We could get into a long philosophical discussion of just what the right data is, but that would only happen if we made the mistake of thinking all data was the same.
Marketing Automation Report Card
January 29, 2014
After two years of fairly hectic activity in the marketing automation space, it might be useful to ask where all the commotion has gotten us. Once a captive of finance, which was concerned with reeling in marketing's costs and rationalizing expenses with known -- or at least knowable -- benefits, marketing automation emerged in the last couple of years as a powerful tool.
Smart Marketing in a BYOD World
January 21, 2014
Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is an established trend at many U.S. enterprises, and it's likely to continue to grow. Mobile marketing is an established channel through which many U.S. companies reach customers and prospective customers -- and it also is expected to grow. Is 2014 the year the twain will meet? Will marketers begin targeting consumers at work?
Nextbee Gives B2Bs CRM Integration Links
January 20, 2014
NextBee has spent the last several months developing integration links to connect its referral and customer service products to the major CRM applications, including Salesforce, NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics. The general idea of the integration is to combine NextBee's ability to track activities and provide incentives with the CRM system's customer service touchpoints.
Winning the CRM Race
January 17, 2014
"Customers do not want a relationship with your business, they want the benefits a relationship can offer to them." Mitch Lieberman, managing partner at DRI and an all-around bright thinker, first said this around 2009. He wasn't trying to smash anyone's illusions about the value of CRM. He was trying to reset business' thinking back to reality about the nature of buyer-seller relationships.
Huge Growth in Store for In-App Mobile Messaging
January 16, 2014
In-app mobile advertising is expected to jump significantly between now and 2018, according to new figures from Juniper Research. Ad spend in this category will reach $16.9 billion by 2018, up from $3.5 billion last year, the consulting group found. Smartphones currently account for approximately 70 percent of in-app ad spend, Juniper said, but that ratio is expected to change.
CRM's Collaboration Conundrum
January 07, 2014
CRM has gained significant attention and adoption among businesses eager to enhance their processes for building and maintaining customer relationships, thanks to industry visionaries such as Salesforce, Oracle and Microsoft. However, there's a major element of effective sales strategy that CRM systems neglect to address: collaboration. True collaboration requires more than data.
It Was a Very Good Marketing, Partners and Platform Year
December 11, 2013
We are nearing year-end, and that means it's time for my annual year in review -- my assessment of things that will matter in the long run. From my spot, it looks like marketing took a big step toward greater relevance in 2013, the importance of being a partner in an ecosystem increased -- as did the significance of software platforms -- and reports of CRM's demise were greatly exaggerated.
Email Marketing for the Holidays, Part 2: Crafting a Compelling Call to Action
December 10, 2013
There's no doubt email marketing has become nonnegotiable for retailers during the holiday season, and that's particularly true on the mobile side. Mobile emailed offers are also playing bit roles in other strategies, such as showrooming. Retailers have learned not to push against this trend but to fight back by targeting shoppers while they are actually in the store.
CRM's Frayed Ends
December 06, 2013
The buyer-seller relationship we most often think of is one in which all the responsibility is loaded on the seller. The seller convinces the customer to buy, then provides support and further marketing to keep the customer loyal. Not every selling relationship works this way, however. When both ends of the sale have a responsibility, things get a little cloudier and more complex.
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.
Email Marketing for the Holidays, Part 1: Making the Right Mobile Impression
December 03, 2013
Email marketing will be a key strategy in retailers' advertising playbooks this holiday season, but not just any email. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that more consumers are reading emails via their mobile devices -- in many cases, only that way. They are also using their mobile devices in stores for last-minute product research, and that includes the emailed offers from local merchants.
TreeHouse Brings Content Marketing Into Its CRM Fold
December 02, 2013
TreeHouse Interactive recently updated the core functionality in its Marketing View marketing automation platform by adding a new tool called "Content Marketing Manager." Marketing automation -- along with TreeHouse's other play in the CRM space, partner relationship management -- is one of the company's raisons d'Ítre. "We shipped our first marketing automation platform in 1997," said CEO Erich Flynn.
Zoho Sets Its Sights on Large Businesses
November 25, 2013
Zoho recently deepened the functionality in its CRM suite and upgraded Zoho Support with high-end and high-capacity telephony and mobile-app features for large businesses. The moves are part of the company's strategy of migrating upstream to service a larger customer base. "Zoho started off marketing our CRM application to small businesses," said Zoho evangelist Raju Vegesna.
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.
Tablets and CRM, Part 2: Revolution in the Making
November 19, 2013
GE Capital has an iPad app, based on Salesforce.com, that integrates geospatial data to let mobile sales reps know which customers need attention and where they are. It is a simple, yet impressive example of a company using tablets and CRM functionality to improve its internal productivity. While appreciating its capabilities, many companies would not put the necessary energy into developing it.

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