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The 3 Ages of CRM
February 05, 2014
I have written often about the connection between CRM and economics, almost as if one explains the other. While I still believe it in part, my thinking has evolved and become more nuanced over the last 15 years to the point that today I want to discuss my evolution. Social science is for me the obvious metaphor for CRM, but which social science? The first era of CRM can be explained by economics.
Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 04, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.
Oracle Calls Out Amazon, Salesforce
February 03, 2014
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said last week that IBM and SAP were no longer in his gun sights. Instead, Oracle is focusing on cloud infrastructure companies such as Amazon and SaaS providers such as Salesforce.com. However, Oracle is "kidding itself" if it thinks it can crack the IaaS/PaaS market any time soon, said Synergy Research Group's John Dinsdale.
Give Customers a Buying Experience They Can't Resist
January 31, 2014
When people talk about the customer experience, the thinking gets lofty quickly. The word "delight" is dropped a lot, people cite things like the American Girl Store or Nordstrom -- and soon over-the-top seems like what the norm should be. The experiences provided by the very best at creating experiences are great because they fit their product, their customers, and the objectives of both groups.
Mobile CRM's Great Big Internet of Things Challenge
January 30, 2014
Shortly after Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest was announced, Nest CEO Tony Fadell felt obliged to clarify something for its users: Any changes to the company's privacy policy would be opt-in. Also, Nest would be transparent about those changes, he said. It's questionable whether Fadell can keep such a promise, though, unless it's written into the deal.
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.
Worried Retail Shoppers Bury Heads in Sand
January 28, 2014
Consumers are getting increasingly nervous over retailers' ability to protect their personal data -- yet they are not changing their shopping habits, according to findings from an AP-GfK poll. In the wake of the Target breach, nearly half of those surveyed expressed extreme concern about their personal data while shopping in stores, and 58 percent had deep worries about online spending.
T-Mobile Gives Customers No-fee Checking
January 23, 2014
T-Mobile USA on Wednesday launched Mobile Money, a money management application for smartphones that is meant to be used in conjunction with a reloadable T-Mobile Visa Prepaid Card. There is no charge for activation, monthly maintenance, in-network ATM withdrawals, or for replacing lost or stolen cards. There are also no minimum balance requirements.
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.
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?
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.
The Year of...
January 15, 2014
There are some good reasons to consider platform's primacy in our thinking. Platform makes sense from both vendor and customer perspectives. For vendors, platform rebuilds the walled gardens that were prevalent back when compilers and databases drove things. For customers, platforms and their ecosystem partners offer a reasonably robust environment for doing most of their business processing.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2013, Part 2: Rounding Out the List
January 14, 2014
It's no easy feat keeping a good CRM blog going, but I've been keeping track since 2007 of those that succeed. In Monday's column I presented the first 10 of this year's top 20 winners. Now, here are the other blogs you should be keeping tabs on. First up: Forrester, which has an array of bloggers -- I mean, analysts -- who cover aspects of CRM.
Salesforce1 Paves Way for Internet of Customers
January 10, 2014
Salesforce on Wednesday kicked off its Salesforce1 world tour in New York, touting the allure of the social, mobile and cloud customer platform to clients. Launched in November at Dreamforce 2013, Salesforce1 drove a 96 percent increase in mobile app active users and a 46 percent increase in active users of custom mobile apps, Salesforce maintained.
Omni-Channel Retailing Keeps Amazon in the Lead
January 09, 2014
A short while ago, few people had heard of omni-channel commerce, also known as omni-channel retailing. Today, however, if you were to ask most retail executives, you'd no doubt find that they are well-informed about the subject. In fact, our most ubiquitous brick-and-mortar retailer, Walmart, is currently quite immersed in this relatively new phenomenon.
9 CRM Companies to Watch in 2014
January 08, 2014
I'd like to say it's going to be a good year in CRM, and I firmly believe it, though I can't offer a single, all-encompassing reason for my optimism. There are plenty of small things that begin to add up, however -- in an earlier time, the metaphor might have been "straws in the wind." So what are they? First, the economy is looking better -- but that's faint praise.
Microsoft Buys Cloud Customer-Service Firm
January 07, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it will acquire Parature, which provides customer engagement solutions as a service. Parature's technology will add self-service, support ticketing and other capabilities to Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft reportedly will pay $100 million for the company. "Once the deal closes, Parature will become part of Microsoft," said Parature cofounder and CMO Duke Chung.
Will 2014 Be the Year Mobile CRM Goes Omni-Channel?
January 06, 2014
There was no end to the enterprise interest in mobile CRM in 2013. From apps to innovative text marketing campaigns to self-service tablet applications for B2B industries, companies were gleefully trying out new pilots and experimenting with new technologies. Why? Simply this: Computing has reached an inflection point. Desktops are just one vehicle offering access to the Internet.
Teach Your Channel Partners Well
December 20, 2013
Companies that sell direct have it easy. They have control over hiring their salespeople, control over marketing messages, and control over service and support. There's only one entity to blame if the buyer's unhappy, and that's the seller. When you mix in an indirect channel, however, things get a little more difficult. Now a third party has an impact on the buyer's satisfaction as well.
CFPB Suit Targets Predatory Online Lending Practices
December 19, 2013
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau this week put online finance companies on notice that it will not overlook them merely because they operate in cyberspace. Specifically, the bureau sued CashCall for collecting money consumers allegedly did not owe. In its suit, the bureau charged that CashCall and its affiliates engaged in unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices.
Community Will Steal the CRM Show in 2014
December 18, 2013
Once a year I write a post that tries to predict some of the big happenings of the year ahead. The success of these efforts relies on clear thinking and objectivity -- trying to figure out what will come to pass rather than what I want to see happen. It's hard, but thankfully no one ever checks up on me a year later. First, let's take a look at the general economic outlook.
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.

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