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A Lot to Like in the Midwest
October 01, 2014
There was a lot to like at Salesforce ExactTarget's Connections 2014 user conference in Indianapolis last week. Now all that's needed is a shorter name. The words "marketing cloud" need to be fitted in there too, but I forget how. Perhaps it's ExactTarget's Midwest roots, but I can see a genuine concern for the customer emanating from the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud and it plays well.
AmazonFresh, USPS Could Be Marriage Made in Heaven
September 25, 2014
Commission for approval of a two-year test that would expand its collaboration with AmazonFresh, a service that offers same-day delivery of perishable groceries and other items. The postal service said the expanded test could bring in revenue of more than $10 million a year. The USPS has been collaborating with Amazon for years. It has delivered books, movies and consumer electronics.
The Growing Allure of E-Commerce Systems Integration
September 24, 2014
The power of e-commerce lies in the simplicity and ease of use delivered to customers. Giving customers the ability to quickly find a product, buy it and have it delivered -- without visiting a store or even speak with a salesperson -- lets companies sell on a massive scale with little overhead. However, behind the simple purchasing process that the customer sees is a very complex set of systems.
Giving Your B2B Customers an Experience That Fits
September 23, 2014
Just as businesses used to fool themselves into believing they controlled the customer conversation, many businesses today think they define the customer experience. They think that by assembling the right combination of processes, environment and people, they can develop an experience that will delight the customer. The B2B customer, however, typically has a well-defined experience in mind.
Jive Software Tightens Its Connections
September 22, 2014
Jive Software recently unveiled upgrades to its Summer Cloud release of its two flagship products -- the Jive and JiveX communication and collaboration suites. There has been a slew of improvements to both suites, ranging from better UIs, mobile optimization and third-party integration to new community management tools. In particular, there has been a great deal of energy around JiveX.
The Fine Art of Managing Inventory in an Omnichannel World
September 16, 2014
Change in the retail industry is occurring at such a breakneck pace that few retailers have the opportunity to take a moment to consider how emerging and disruptive trends are fundamentally transforming the business -- potentially making historical best practices outdated and irrelevant. In fact, a business concept that increasingly is becoming a focal point for many retailers is omnichannel.
The 5 Worst Blunders of CRM-Destroying Execs
September 09, 2014
One of the CRM secrets to success is executive buy-in. That typically means the support of a high-level executive for the deployment and use of CRM technology. That executive often is an SVP of sales, or maybe a chief revenue officer or a CMO. The support of multiple executive roles is critical to implementing and supporting a CRM strategy. Having the buy-in of one executive is not enough.
Yelping Back: Using Yelp to Turn Customers Into Fans
August 12, 2014
After writing a positive review of Roy's Hawaiian Grill on Yelp, Matt Siltala received a "thank you" from the company. It's that kind of active involvement with Yelp that Avalaunch Media President Siltala recommends to his clients. "I love Roy's Hawaiian Grill because it's done that for me," Siltala said. "It makes you love the brand even more and go back more and spend more."
Hotel Bites Internet - Internet Bites Back
August 04, 2014
Online reviews are a modern-day fact of life for any company operating in the hospitality industry, but an Internet maelstrom erupted when one hotel's surprising response to that reality was brought to light. Namely, the Union Street Guest House in upstate New York threatened to charge those who booked wedding parties at the venue $500 for every bad review posted online by any of their guests.
The Social Side of Big Data
July 31, 2014
The power of Big Data technology is being successfully applied to understanding such complex unknowns as consumer sentiment and even intent. That understanding then vastly improves how businesses manage their customers' experiences -- increasingly in real time. Fortunately, today's consumers are quite willing to share their intents and sentiments via social media.
The Retail Channel Is Dead - Long Live the Omnichannel
July 29, 2014
As Amazon's Fire Phone finds its way into consumers' hands, brick-and-mortar retailers are on guard. Amazon's new device is equipped with technology that seems to have been designed to take showrooming to new heights -- or depths, depending on one's perspective. The Fire Phone, in brief, has functionality that lets users scan an item they see in front of them or in a magazine.
Bringing Retail Into the 21st Century
July 29, 2014
Let's get one thing straight: E-commerce will not kill the physical retail store. Hold on, I hear you object, the digital world has utterly disrupted our shopping habits. We rarely enter a store without having researched the big-ticket items we want to buy. Much of our holiday shopping is done with a mouse click. When we do venture into a store, we rarely do so without clutching a smartphone.
Comcast Rep Tears Into Fleeing Customer 'Like a Pit Bull on a Pork Chop'
July 15, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday was scrambling to repair the damage after a phone representative's rude treatment of a couple trying to disconnect their service went viral, thanks to a recording posted on the Web. The couple -- former Engadget editor Ryan Block, now at AOL, and his wife, TV host and writer Veronica Belmont -- called Comcast over the weekend and asked to cancel their service over the phone.
There May Be More to Salesforce's RelateIQ Buy Than Meets the Eye
July 14, 2014
Salesforce.com will shell out $350 million in common stock for RelateIQ in a deal expected to close by October. It will provide another $40 million dollars in stock for its cash balance. RelateIQ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Salesforce, according to an SEC filing. "This gives Salesforce more of a footprint in process orientation," said Denis Pombriant, principal of Beagle Research.
Why CEX Thinking Stimulates Indirect Sales
July 10, 2014
As much as we may wax on about engaging, enchanting and delighting our customers, most of them are not expecting such an experience. In most cases, their purchase is prelude to something else pleasurable, if the purchase is B2C -- or profitable, if it's B2B. If there's some service they're purchasing in addition to a product, then experience becomes very important.
CRM's Transition
July 03, 2014
It always happens this way. A market erupts or transitions to something new or it goes the way of the dodo and you miss the key turning point. Looking back, you can spot the telltale signs of disruption. People like me, who try to forecast these great events, have the reliability of a dartboard. Nonetheless, I'm doing it again. I am declaring that CRM is in the early phases of a major transition.
Google Glass Service Could Make All Customers Feel Special
June 30, 2014
Virgin Atlantic recently announced the expansion of a pilot project in which flight attendants use Google Glass to meet and greet customers. For the initial project, the airline equipped the concierge staff in its Upper Class Wing at London's Heathrow airport with Google Glass so they would have easy access to such information as connecting flights or loyalty points.
3 Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Doing it Right Online
June 30, 2014
Christmas came late, or not at all, for many retailers in 2013, with holiday foot traffic down by nearly 50 percent compared to just three years earlier. Many brick-and-mortar stores are on a knife's edge. The closing of Best Buy and Sears stores around the U.S. suggests that the retail giants of the past decades are vulnerable to shifting trends, including the move to digital commerce.
Verizon to Chromebook Pixel Owners: We're On It
June 27, 2014
After a hornet's nest was stirred up over the premature termination of some Chromebook Pixel users' free data plans, Verizon apparently has begun trying to make amends. "A very small number of Chromebook Pixel customers may have had a promo end prematurely," said Verizon spokesperson Debra Lewis. "We apologize for this and will work with these customers to address the situation shortly."
Toward a More Perfect CRM
June 26, 2014
"Perfection is the enemy of completion" is a bastardization of a translation of the first line of a poem by Voltaire. That makes the saying itself sort of an example of what Voltaire was talking about -- but it doesn't make it any less true. In the processes we use to run our businesses and deal with customers, there's a lot of "good enough" thinking.
Show Season Observations
June 25, 2014
Not that the shows ever end, but as I regain my spot on the ground, I have a few observations from the many shows that I have been to or read about over the last eight weeks. First, if you think that cloud platforms are simply a nice alternative to software licenses, you should think again. It's human nature to apply new technologies to old problems, and that's what such an approach really does.
How Amazon's Fire Phone Will Beat the iPhone in 3 Years
June 23, 2014
Amazon launched its rather impressive Fire Phone last week, and it has a number of things that make it interesting -- but just as the iPhone improved massively by the third version, I expect this phone will as well, as a result of users providing feedback on what they want. Ironically, if the iPhone fails against the Fire Phone, it will be because Jeff Bezos is executing Steve Jobs' old strategy.
Break the Language Barrier by Learning Your Customers' Native Tongues
June 19, 2014
If you live in the English-speaking world, you've been exposed to the stereotype of the snotty Parisian who refuses to speak English. The idea is that Parisians know how -- but they won't -- and they turn up their noses at anyone who won't speak French. In my experience, that stereotype is largely wrong -- if you make an effort to communicate in any way, most Parisians are perfectly friendly.
Cutting Through the Data Clouds to Build Strong Customer Relationships
June 17, 2014
Successful companies today run largely on data and analytics. The more precisely you can measure the various aspects of your business, the better you can fine-tune its performance. With e-commerce companies especially, everything can be measured, which has provided some amazing opportunities to improve performance -- but sometimes it can lead to issues.

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