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Sorry, the CRM Niche Is Full at the Moment
May 15, 2013
There are two questions that emerging companies in the CRM space hear when they face the analysts: When are you going public? Why don't you build out a full CRM capability? The first question is easily and deftly handled by most executives, and it must be. An IPO has its own cadence, and the Securities and Exchange Commission is very keen to protect its turf.
Salesforce Communities Pick Up Where Portals Left Off
May 03, 2013
Salesforce has announced that a product it first unveiled last summer, Salesforce Communities, will go live this summer. Since its original debut, Communities has been tweaked to take into account user views and feedback. Salesforce's user community got a taste of similar functionality last month with the company's rollout of Chatter Topics and Expertise.
New Tools Play Up Twitter Games, Polls for CRM
May 02, 2013
Fan Appz provided more tools for digital marketers Wednesday when it added a suite of Twitter features to its real-time customer feedback platform. The new features help brands interact with followers by running polls, hashtag games and loyalty-based reward activities on the social network. Those interactions can help build a brand's database.
The Hidden Risks of Mobile CRM, Part 2
April 19, 2013
Mobile marketing may just be in its infancy, but it already has ushered in a world of new risks -- or rather, existing risks that have been repackaged. They range from running afoul of still-developing regulations to security concerns, to consumers misinterpreting content. As people connect with the Internet through multiple access points, keeping a marketing message consistent is becoming more essential.
Doubling Down on Data
April 17, 2013
About ten years ago, I wrote a paper that predicted that analytics and social media would converge in CRM. I believed that for two reasons. First, I believed social media was inevitable, though I had no idea what form it would take. Facebook was not on my radar and had not officially launched, MySpace was something for kids, and Twitter had definitely not been invented yet.
Kana Adds Context, Subtracts Search
April 16, 2013
Kana Software on Tuesday debuted its next generation of Kana Enterprise, a multichannel customer service application with functionality for both the agent-based desktop and self-service. Its features include case management; Web self-service; mobile chat; co-browsing; social listening, analytics and community engagement; email, campaign and white mail management; and advanced knowledge management.
Blackbaud Gives Fundraisers New Tools, Then Gets Out of the Way
April 15, 2013
Blackbaud, a CRM vendor that specializes in the nonprofit sector, has rolled out a new release offering additional social and mobile functionality. The end goal of the various upgrades -- which range from social scoring to the ability to run on a number of different tablets -- is to allow users to be able to spend more time with donors, said Eric de Jaeger, VP of product management, enterprise CRM solutions.
The Hidden Risks of Mobile CRM, Part 1
April 12, 2013
As mobile marketing evolves, so do its risks. The Federal Trade Commission last month released its updated "Dot Com" guidelines. An update long in coming -- the first since the report was released in 2000 -- the guidelines take special note of mobile. In short, they state that the same rules that apply to ads in newspapers, radio and television apply to mobile devices -- and social media too, for that matter.
Boom Goes the Social Media Marketing Dynamite
April 09, 2013
Two-way social-media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, have changed forever the methods businesses use to communicate with their customers. Fading into the distance are the days of the one-sided official dispatch. Social media marketing has been welcomed with open arms into the fold, with corporations determined to make it an effective tool.
Salesforce Cranks Up Chatter for Social Intelligence
April 05, 2013
Salesforce.com has upgraded Salesforce Chatter with a new feature that collects and aggregates unstructured data -- or perhaps better put, social intelligence -- onto one page for easy reference. The feature is called Chatter Topics and Expertise, and it lets users find information and related resources and identify experts, based on topics of interest.
5 Things That Kill CRM ROI Dead
April 05, 2013
Back in the old days -- like around 2003 -- the rate of what was termed "CRM failure" was unacceptably high. You often heard it bandied about that 70 percent of implementations were failures. That was an estimate -- companies were not coming forward to confess their CRM disasters, so building a scientific sample was impossible. Still, the number reflected the general dissatisfaction.
Race Against the Machine
April 03, 2013
Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee of the MIT Center for Digital Business and the Sloan School of Management have written an interesting book for our times -- our economic times -- with an appealing metaphor that any technologist will appreciate. Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy, is short and to the point.
Convergence Tales
March 27, 2013
For years Microsoft has been telling us that they have great new products in the pipeline that were competitive, and an approach that was social and customer-centric. For the last couple years, however, we had to watch the slow maturation of that vision. The last step has been getting new enterprise products into the hands of users.
Salesforce.com's New Mobile Chatter Expands the Conversation
March 22, 2013
Salesforce.com has rolled out the latest iteration of its Chatter app designed specifically for the mobile environment. "With this version, we are taking [it] to a new level, allowing users to really drill down into accounts and take many different types of actions while in the field," said Michael Peachy, senior director of solutions marketing at Salesforce.
The Perils of Making Up Your Social Media Policy as You Go
March 21, 2013
Social media and its close relative, social CRM, allow you to connect with customers in new and meaningful ways, on a greater scale and at a greater velocity than ever before. When it's done right, that is. When it's done wrong, like anything in this era of increasingly automated communication, your mistakes are amplified and intensified by customers.
2 Steps Back: The Social Revolution
March 20, 2013
We have this idea of modern computing that is closely tied to social media, and rightly so. Social media is a kind of glue that ties us together in new and bigger configurations than our own human capabilities. However, it is also the unspoken issue in the Yahoo brouhaha about working from home -- the idea whose name shall not be spoken. How else to explain the ultra retro edict -- anachronism, really -- that all Yahoos must report to the brick-and-mortar in person rather than "telecommute."
Microsoft Dynamics Gets Major Overhaul
March 19, 2013
Microsoft opened Convergence 2013 Tuesday morning with a keynote address from Microsoft Business Solutions President Kirill Tatarinov -- and the debut of an upgraded CRM application. With 11,000 attendees, this is the largest Convergence Microsoft has held to date, said Seth Patton, senior director of marketing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. "The key theme for the event is uniting business and IT," he said.
New IBM Lab Explores the Science of Personalization
March 15, 2013
IBM pushed deeper into the customer experience space with the launch on Thursday of its Customer Experience Lab. The lab brings together various elements of IBM's expertise, technology and staff to integrate mobile, social, cloud, Big Data and advanced analytics for its users.
The Time of a Mobile Ad's Life, Part 2
March 14, 2013
Does it matter what time of day a mobile ad is displayed? If a generation's worth of lessons learned from email marketing mean anything, the answer is... maybe. Truth is, there are coherent arguments to be made on both sides. However, as marketers intensify their aim at mobile devices, the balance is shifting to the side that believes timing matters.
Subscriptions, Social and CRM
March 13, 2013
"Who is the customer?" It's a great question, one that my managers liked to ask when I was a young sales representative. Like all great questions, it got to the meat of the matter with an economy of words that were impressive as much for their brevity as for thir meaning. The customer's identity is often far from obvious, and it's why professional sales and marketing people obsess over it.

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